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When I was a single woman in the workforce, I consumed 6-12 cans of Dr. Pepper a day. No, I'm not exaggerating. I drank it like water (unfortunately, I actually drank it instead of water). When I got pregnant with my first child, I cut back on caffeine because I read that it wasn't good for the baby. “Cutting back” wasn't really enough, though, and I soon realized that I couldn't get through the day without a can of soda.
Adding five kids, homeschooling, and working from home to the mix, I found myself inventing excuses to run out so I could hit up a fast food drive-thru and get my soda fix. I purposely wouldn't buy it, or keep it in the house at all, but I still wanted one every day.
It wasn't until I started eating the Trim Healthy Mama way that I realized I needed to give it up for good. Since then, I've found that if I have just one soda as a treat for my birthday, it turns into ten. A “special occasion” soda leads to an “I finished my project for work” soda, or “I got through the school day without losing my mind” soda, and so on. I imagine that some people can have the occasional soda and not slip right back into their bad habit, but I am not one of them. So I invite you to join me as I retrace my steps of quitting soda for THM, and commit to no sugary or diet soda at all.
Tip 1: Admit you have a problem. Just kidding, that's not really tip one. But I seriously do have a problem. I'm definitely addicted. The REAL tip one is to read this article from Wellness Mama: Ten Reasons to Avoid Drinking Soda. Disturbing, right? Those are pretty good reasons to quit.
Tip 2: Set goals. Weight loss goals, general health goals, whatever floats your boat. I quit soda to lose weight (and I did! 30 pounds gone with Trim Healthy Mama!) and I'm sure that giving up soda was very beneficial in my weight loss journey. But I also noticed that when I have soda, I develop twitches and other oddities. I generally feel much, much healthier without soda, and I have a feeling you will, too.
Tip 3: Have an accountability partner. When I tell my kids I'm quitting, it's a great motivation to stick with it. I don't want to set a bad example for them, and when they say, “Hey, mom, I thought you were giving up Dr. Pepper?” it's a shameful kick in the pants. Friends, co-workers, and family members can all help with accountability.
Tip 4: Stock up on the good stuff! Replacing just one soda a day with one of these will be a huge step in the right direction. These are my favorite THM-friendly thirst quenchers to keep me away from the hard stuff (Dr. Pepper, not alcohol). I am not a THM purist, by any means, but these beverages can ease the craving for sure. They are low-carb, low-sugar, and mainly sweetened with stevia or erythritol.
Of course, plain water is the best option, and you need to make sure you're getting plenty of it every day. I aim for half of my body weight in ounces of water every day (for example, weighing 124 I try to drink 62 ounces of water per day). My “rule” about these special drinks is that I can definitely have one if I'm feeling like I'll cave and have a soda, but I generally make myself drink my daily allotment of water before I have one of these drinks. That makes them more of a special treat and more like a reward…but a much healthier reward than a can of soda!
These are not in order of favorites:
1. Perrier sparkling water (lime flavored) which is now available at Costco. I could drink five a day. I don't drink five a day, because I would go broke, but they are really satisfying and give me the soda feeling of drinking a carbonated beverage out of a cold can.
2. Zevia soda sweetened with stevia (check the ingredients, because I've read rumors of Zevia switching to Monk Fruit sweetener).
3. Bai fruit drinks. Sweetened with stevia and erythritol, these are low-glycemic life savers! They have sparkling flavors, too. They are perfect for the Trim Healthy Mama diet because they are naturally sweetened and won't spike your blood sugar. I get these at Costco, too, for a cheaper price-per-drink than my local grocery store, and I REALLY love them. They have a yummy fruity flavor. My favorites are Costa Rica Clementine and Brasilia Blueberry. Unfortunately the Costco boxes only include four flavors, so I can't get my other favorites (Panama Peach and Congo Pear) and Costco, but maybe someday! Update: Now they have watermelon, and it is my favorite! I always buy mine on Amazon, because it's the best price I've found, but if you find cheaper I'd love to hear about it!
6. True Lemon Raspberry Lemonade drink packets
7. Honest Fizz soda (not pictured, my local Target just started carrying these for $6.99 per six pack, which is pretty pricey, but it's helped me to stop drinking the bad stuff so I'm willing to splurge occasionally)
If you were only going to buy one or two of these suggestions to start, I would definitely grab Bai drinks and Perrier water first.
Tip 5: Exercise. A lot of it is mental for me, but when I exercise every day I have a really hard time drinking the standard ten teaspoons or so of sugar in a can of soda and negating my hard work. It's a great motivation to step away from the sugary drinks.
Tip 6: Measure your progress. If you are measuring lost inches, charting an increase in good health, or marking days off of a calendar, those visible results will spur you on and motivate you to keep going. Don't give up! Shoot for thirty days of no soda to start with, or ask friends to participate in a soda-free summer.
Even if you take some of these steps you will be on a great path to better health! The key to quitting soda successfully is to get out of the habit of drinking it. Start making a new, healthier habit of always drinking water when you're out (or whenever you're most likely to indulge).
Have you quit soda – or anything else that's bad for you? Do you have any ideas on quitting for good? Please share!
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I quit soda for good, and I want to help you do it, too! It's definitely possible, and it's made such a huge difference in my life! Sign up here to get access to the free challenge!