Friday, May 13, 2011

Soda is EVIL!

I have been a long time drinker of soda, started drinking it at age 2.
I don’t know why on earth my parents let me have soda so young, but thanks to my parents mistake with me, it is a big no no for my children. I let them drink water, juice that has been watered down so much that it might as well be water, and occasional glasses of soy milk.
For many years, I would drink as much as 4-6 cans A DAY. I knew this was a problem but my laziness took over and I just let it. It was easier than struggling through giving up something I loved so much.
Before I started working out, whenever I tried to limit myself to one or two cans I was absolutely miserable.  When I started going to the gym in November of 2009, I decided that picking up a 20 oz bottle of Wild Cherry Pepsi was seriously hindering the impact of my workout, so I gradually stopped drinking it. I noticed that the more I worked out, the less I wanted soda. Water became very appealing to me.
It took a long time, and even to this day I will occasionally grab a bottle of soda, but I consume less than 2 liters of soda in a 2 month period, and I feel so much better! The chronic headaches I was suffering from before have actually disappeared.  I was drinking so much caffeine that my body was going through withdrawals which resulted in me consuming more, more, more. It was horrible! I was also drinking so much soda that I had trouble falling asleep and staying asleep at night, which caused me to be very cranky and snippy the next day and made me drink even more soda.
Since putting a stop to regular soda consumption I can honestly say depression and stress levels have gone down considerably. I am sleeping better, feeling more energized, not getting those pesky headaches, and -this is possibly my favorite perk of living a soda-less existence- I am seeing the difference in my clothes!
Benefits ofgiving soda up:
  1. Preserve your bones. The phosphorous in soda can suck up calcium from your bones. Did you know that children who drink soda are far more likely to break bones than children who avoid it? People who drink soda are far more likely to wind up with osteoporosis.  Calcium is VITALLY IMPORTANT to your body, you should be doing everything to keep calcium in, not draw it out.  DON’T DRINK SODA!
  2. Avoid tooth decay. I know from experience that soda ruins teeth. Soda is known to break down your tooth enamel and make way for cavities.
  3. Are you a woman suffering from PMS? Women who drink even just ONE soda a day (or anything caffeinated such as coffee or tea for that matter) are far more likely to experience PMS symptoms.  The more caffeine your body takes in, the worse your symptoms.
  4. Weight loss. If you drink 4 8 oz cans of Coke a day,  that is 420 calories right there. Sadly, I know many people who can kill 6 or more sodas a day like it’s nothing.  You don’t realize as you are drinking soda that it is truly nothing but sugar water and empty calories. Drink a glass of water instead.  Remember: The link between soda consumption and your weight is so strong that it’s been calculated that for each soda consumed, your risk of obesity increases 1.6 times!

What to drink instead?
  1. Water! I cannot stress enough how important drinking water is to your diet. If you’re curious as to how much you should be drinking a day, I suggest heading here:
  2. Try drinking tea. Tea has some amazing health benefits and also tastes great. Drink it within reason though, too much of something – even if it’s good for you – can be bad.
  3. Sparkling water or seltzer water.
  4. Add flavor packets like Crystal Light or products of that nature to a bottle of water.
  5. Flavor your water yourself with mint or lemon! Tastes great and both lemon and mint are known to reduce your appetite.

You may not believe it but quitting soda is a lot like quitting cigarettes. You shouldn’t attempt to quit without a plan.
  1. Give yourself a timeline to go by. Allow yourself x amount of days to get used to the idea. Once day X has arrived, you’re done. I gave myself two months to quit.
  2. Buy lots of water or the alternatives mentioned above.
  3. If a really bad soda craving hits, ignore it. Drink water until you’re full and the feeling will most likely disappear. If it doesn’t disappear and you NEED that soda, you should make yourself earn it. Walk a mile, walk two, whatever – just do something - get acitve in some way. When you’re done I want you to think about all the calories burned and decide if it’s worth drinking the soda. Odds are, you’ll pass.

I really hope this helps some of you. The thing that gave me my motivation was learning all the health risks. The health risks themselves are enough to make anyone want to quit soda cold turkey! If the evidence I have presented to you today is not enough to sway you, please check out this link to see what happens to your body when you drink Coke!

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