A chilled can of soda. Isn’t the very thought of it oh-so-refreshing? That’s the problem. Our dependency on soda has amplified over the last decade or two, so much so that it has replaced water for hydration. There has been enough talk doing its rounds about the vices of a can of fizz, but despite earnest attempts, some of us just can’t keep our hands off them.
Don’t lose hope just yet. A little contemplation and determination can help you overcome a soda addiction.
Steps To Overcome A Soda Addiction
To overcome any addiction, of course, you need to have the right mindset, but you must also have a plan of action. Slip-ups and withdrawal are bound to happen and you should be prepared for it. Here’s what you can do to eliminate your dependency on soda:
1. Address Whatever Is Driving Your Craving
Attack the problem at its root. Just as different foods mean different things to different people, so is also the case with soda. You need to first understand why and when you feel the urge to drink it.
A good way to do this is by consciously recording when you drink it during the day. Is it on your way back home? Or while watching television? Do you carry it in your water bottle in place of water? Does a trip to the vending machine serve as your break during long office hours?
Once you introspect, a pattern will become evident. That’s your strongest starting point. Now based on what ingredient of soda gives you a kick, you can find substitutes accordingly. You may have one of the two following types of cravings:
Some people drink sodas as energy drinks whenever they are low on energy. Sodas rise to the occasion as well because of their caffeine content. Caffeine works like a drug, occupying and stimulating the same receptors in the brain as morphine. This helps you feel refreshed.
If it is the caffeine that is driving your addiction, start by looking for caffeine substitutes. Tea, coffee, and some energy drinks can serve the purpose. But you need to be very careful. You do not want one addiction to be replaced by another. Restrict yourself to no more than 2–3 cups of tea or coffee a day.
Sodas contain high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) as well, which is nothing but glucose and fructose – same as regular table sugar. HFCS has been implicated in unhealthy weight gain, tooth decay, and diabetes. It’s something you do not want too much of. As we know, sugar addiction is the most common addiction in the world, so sugar may be what you’re after in a soda as well.
You need to understand if you have any of the following health problems driving your sugar cravings and rectify it:
- Low blood sugar: If your blood sugar is low, for whatever reason, you will gravitate toward anything that is sweet, including sodas. Avoiding stress and maintaining a balanced diet can help stabilize your blood sugar levels.
- Intestinal yeast infections: Sometimes, sugar cravings may be the result of an intestinal yeast infection. This is even more so if you have sinusitis, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), or a chronic nasal congestion. By consuming probiotic-rich foods like yogurt or sauerkraut you can fight off such infections. It is also important to steer clear of other forms of sugar as you do so.
- Hormonal waverings: Fluctuations in hormonal levels may sometimes manifest as an urge to have something sweet. PMS (premenstrual syndrome), insomnia, depression, and the transition into menopause can also cause hormonal mayhem. Eating and drinking soy products may help stabilize your hormones.
While you fight off your sugar cravings, eat eggs, fish, and beans to further help keep your sugar urges in control.
2. Find Your Motivation
Mentally prepare yourself for what’s coming. Realize that you may fail to refrain from sodas at times but that does not mean you’ve failed overall. It’s just a bump in the road.
For moments like those, think of anything that can motivate you to stick to your goal. You may keep in mind how fit you will feel without the soda-triggered weight gain, or you may focus on how important your teeth are for when you get older. Choose something that can motivate you.
Even accountability will help. Tell as many people as you can about your intentions of going soda-sober so that even the thought of failing publicly can help you stick to your goal.
3. Make A Plan You Think You’ll Follow
Whether you think you need a gradual transition from regular soda to diet soda to caffeine-free diet soda to no soda (phew!) or you want to go cold turkey on soda is completely your call. You know your shortcomings the best and only you can figure out what is going to work for you.
If it’s the first plan you want to follow, make one change every week till you’re soda free. For the ditch-it-at-one-go plan, clean out your fridge of sodas and stay away from social gatherings as much as possible (they’re the biggest temptations).
4. Graduate To Healthy Refreshments
To keep yourself hydrated, drink chilled water. It refreshes you just as much as a soda would, if not more. You may also squeeze some fresh lemon into it for a little flavor and spunk. Trust us, it is just as effective as a soda and way healthier.
We hope your decision to keep off soda materializes soon!