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How to Kick the Soda Habit

Getting rid of a soda habit is one of the best things you can do for your health. Sugary beverages are a major contributor to the obesity epidemic, particularly because they pack a large number of calories in liquid form.

The first step to kicking the soda habit is to take stock of when you drink soda — you may even find it useful to keep a journal of your soda consumption. Figuring out your pattern will help you understand why you drink soda. Is it with meals? Do you drink soda socially, or as an afternoon pick-me-up? Do you sip while watching television? Once you’re aware of your soda patterns, you’ll know when to apply your new, healthier habits.

The next step in breaking the soda habit is to find a substitute. Ideas for substitutes include sparkling water, plain water or fruit. To keep things exciting, you can try flavoring water with fresh cucumber and mint, or lemon and ginger. The key is to select a healthy substitute you enjoy. Whenever you have a craving for soda, plan to drink or eat this item instead. At first, making the switch will be challenging, but over time your tastebuds will adapt to the new flavors.

The final step is to pick a two-week period and start. For this two-week period, you commit to drinking your substitute beverage instead of soda. Mentally committing to two weeks at first is easier than going cold turkey on soda forever. If you are successful for two weeks, you can extend your effort for another two weeks and so on. If you are not successful, try to identify why, and consider adjusting your goal. Perhaps it’s more realistic to get rid of one can of soda per day, instead of all soda. Each person is different, so the key is to make small changes that work for you. In the end, what’s most important is that you are taking steps to improve your health.

Show Comments
  • Tom Kuhn

    I find that I crave soda while dining out. Something about the fountain dispenser that makes it tastier. I used to think it was only a few times a week, but when I travel that means it’s at every meal. Time to kick this habit!

  • Ken Long

    Sodas were free at work, and I drank them with a passion. By the time I started getting migraines and having memory loss issues, I was up to around 15-20 diet sodas per day. It was a habit I could not give up. I don’t know if it was the aspartame or the caffeine, but something bad was happening to my brain.

    I had read an article on a peer-reviewed study to stop smoking. For this study, they got a group of people to put money in a pot. If you smoked, you were out.

    I tried this with four other people putting in $25 each. All of us had nightmares about drinking soda the first week. For the first two weeks, I could drink two gallons of water in a day, and would still be thirsty. Some people got angry as the days went on. There are lots of emotional issues associated with habits, what we consume, winning and losing. They made a perfect storm of guilt and pride that got me off the soda habit.

    It’s been about 15 years since I’ve had a soda. Yes, I won the pot. More importantly, the migraines and memory loss issues eventually went away.

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