Soda. It causes weight gain, tooth decay, heart disease, and other nasty ailments. But even though we know that soda is unhealthy, that doesn’t stop people all around the world from drinking tons of the stuff every day. It’s too bad that, if drinking soda is a daily habit for you, it can be a tough habit to break. Here are some steps that will help lead you to a healthier, soda-free life.
Figure Out Your Habit Cues
To successfully break a habit, you need to do a little philosophizing. Think to yourself, why do you need soda? Try to imagine the situations where you just need to crack one open. Do you take breaks at work to get up and go to the vending machine? Or do you tend to drink one on the way home? Why do you need soda in these situations? Figuring out your motivations for drinking soda will help you anticipate your cravings and find something else to fill whatever hole quitting leaves.
Make the Break
At some point, you’re going to have to do the dirty work of cutting soda out of your life. This is where you’ll have a little bit of leeway — while some people choose to gradually wean themselves off their bad habits, others choose to go cold turkey. What works best is going to depend entirely on you. Cutting soda out gradually might be an easier transition, but it keeps the temptation around longer while going cold turkey threatens greater frustration and failure. It’s important to remember that any slip-ups don’t negate the progress you’ve made so far.
Get Your Caffeine Elsewhere
If you’re a regular soda drinker, your attempts at quitting might be complicated by caffeine withdrawals, which are very real and not fun at all. Drinking a cup of coffee or tea each day will help manage the headaches and fatigue you’ll probably feel when dropping pop. But while these substances might be healthier than soda, there’s still some danger in overdoing it on the caffeine, so watch how much you have each day. After all, you don’t want to end your soda addiction only to pick up a new bad habit.
Making the break will be a lot easier if you have something to substitute soda with. Switching out soda for water is often your best bet, as there’s nothing wrong with drinking a little more water during the day. Sure, it may not be as exciting as soda, but although water’s not as nearly as fizzy or tasty, you’ll learn to love it. Staying properly hydrated has tons of benefits, including lowered fatigue and better skin. If water still isn’t doing anything for you, you can always use flavor packets to make it tastier or chew sugar-free gum to keep your taste buds occupied.
Breaking your soda habit isn’t going to be easy, fun, or pretty. Yet, the benefits of quitting will make the struggles worth the hardship. Someday, you’ll no longer see the appeal in soda, and you might even find its sugary, sweet taste to be kind of disgusting. Wouldn’t that be nice?
[Image via Getty]