Before we go any further – I must say this. I still drink soda and various other soft drinks – but the amount is about a reasonable, ie. 1-4x a year. As you’ll soon find out, this is a huge improvement for me.
I didn’t want to write this and leave the impression that I haven’t drank any soft drinks in ten years, or that I am perfect and never fall off the health train. I am a human being who has a past filled with troubled and disordered eating. There was a time that soda was all I drank (this actually is not an exaggeration!) There was even a time that I lived off energy drinks and juice. YIKES.
Whether you’re where I used to be (only soda), an everyday soda drinker, or even a casual soda drinker – you will benefit from reading this information.
“Soft drinks” are the focus today, which I am using to define anything processed. We’re talking carbonated soda, fruit juice, energy drinks, vitamin water, sweet tea/iced tea, etc.
I used to refuse to drink water.
“Its boring!” “It’s gross.” “It makes me pee too much.” “I want bubbles.” “I want some taste.” These are all things I said at least once, and thought at least triple the amount I said it. It’s clear that I was a child when these thoughts came to fruition, though unfortunately not until much later in life did I realize how ridiculous these statements actually are.
There are so many benefits to drinking water that I honestly don’t understand how I even functioned without it. These days, if I don’t drink enough water, I feel it right away.
It’s definitely safe to say that I was miseducated when it came to the importance of water. Not to say that I am blaming anyone or that I genuinely never went through a year of Phys-Ed. where we didn’t discuss the importance of water on the body at least once a year during health. Was I listening? I’m not sure – though if I was, my addition to sugar and soft drinks probably took that information and buried it deep so I forgot it just as fast as I heard it so that it could continue to thrive (which it did for many years).
Despite what I thought then, I’ll say this now.
DRINKING WATER IS NOT OPTIONAL. Your health is based on your consumption of water. Have a headache? You’re probably dehydrated. Can’t poop? You’re probably dehydrated. Do your joints hurt? You’re probably dehydrated.
The list goes on. Not only is not drinking enough water cause for dehydration – consuming soft drinks actually further dehydrates the body.
Plus there is the social aspect of soft drinks, pushed on us by the media. We’ve all seen the commercials, advertisements, etc. – friends meet for coca cola, cool kids drink x brand juice, Beyonce drinks Pepsi (she did for the dollars, but I highly doubt she’s chugging it back on a regular basis), mountain dew starts your party night off right, Red bull gives you wings, etc.
These companies are selling the “feeling” of soft drinks rather than selling the truth. They capitalize on the ignorance of the consumer and flood our daily view with their logos. They even go as far as sponsoring major events to get their point even further across. I am not saying that the responsibility of living a healthy life falls onto the shoulders of soft drink companies. We all need to take responsibility for our actions, but we also need to be aware and educated of what we’re consuming and doing to ourselves, free from the cloak of social pressure and lack of available resources.
Let’s also be honest – soft drinks seem to go hand and hand with other unhealthy choices. We’re talking burgers and fries, movie popcorn and snacks, etc. Most “combo”s don’t come with a bottled water (which if I had my way, we’d all have reusable water containers and filters rather than plastic water bottles, but that is a different topic.)
So why is it that soft drinks should be avoiding? What makes these beverages so toxic and dangerous? This information is pretty sourceable via google – so I won’t chat your ear off about it. Sugar, questionable ingredients (that are powerful enough to clean your toilet!) and more. Here is a neato infographic to better help illustrate the troubled relationship between soft drinks and health. And ps. This doesn’t even start with diet soda – which is actually worse for you than regular soda.
If you want to know more – just let google be your guide. I could spend hours on the dangers, ingredients, etc.
Make a vow to yourself right now. Even if you cut out one soft drink a day, or one a week – be realistic and be honest.If someone would have told me even 5 years ago that I would only be drinking soft drinks 1-4x a year, I wouldn’t have believed it. Cutting the stuff completely out may be difficult to do right off the jump – start slowly and work your way through it. Soft drinks are an addiction, and it is important to treat it that way.
The key is that even when I fall off, I realize that there is no staying off.
Tips for success
- Stop buying soft drinks in bulk. If you insist on buying soft drinks, but it only 2-3 cans at a time (NOT the 2L bottles). Also put these 2-3 cans in the very back of your fridge, away from your line of sight.
- If you were buying soft drinks at work every day, make a physical bank and store the money you’re saving for something else. If you were paying by debit, create authorized transactions that go into your savings every day so illustrate the money you are saving.
- Invest in a reusable water container. It will make it easier to resist temptation when you’re “feeling thirsty” or are at events (ie. it’s a lot easier to decline a soft drink when you’ve got a full bottle of water in your hand already!)
- Don’t beat yourself up if you have a soft drink now and again. We’re human, and we can’t be the picture of health every second of every day.
- When you wake up, brush your teeth and then drink two cups of water immediately. This will help with digestion and flushing the body out from its dormancy the night before.
- Track your water consumption. This is a fun way to motivate yourself and get a feel for your habits (I do this via the apple health app).
- Miss that fizzy feeling? Try some kombucha!
I hope you have enjoyed this edition of why Wednesdays! 🙂
Stay healthy friends.