As you now know, soda will do absolutely nothing but harm to your body.
How to Pop the Soda Habit:
Wean yourself off slowly
That news may be enough to convince you that you should stop drinking soda, but it could still be easier said than done.
If you typically drink multiple servings of soda a day, try first cutting back to one a day. Give that two weeks, then switch to three sodas a week. It gives you a chance to adjust gradually, which should lead to real, sustainable change.
Start tracking your calories
If you’re blindly throwing back colas without stopping to think of their impact on your waistline, you could be in for a rude awakening: Each 12-ounce can of Coke, for example, contains 140 calories, while a 20-ounce bottle has 240. Downloading a calorie-tracking app may help you realize just how much those beverages can affect your daily calorie consumption—as long as you actually log in and record each serving. Instead of pouring yourself refill after refill, start paying attention to how much you’re actually drinking; once you do, you may be more willing to cut back.
Do the exercise math
Another way to quantify the calories you’re drinking is by thinking about how much exercise it would take to burn them off. In a 2014 Johns Hopkins University study, researchers placed signs in corner stores stating that a 20-ounce bottle of soda would take 5 miles of walking or 50 minutes of jogging to burn off.
Switch to unsweetened tea
Need that jolt of caffeine to wake up in the morning? If you’re not a coffee drinker, sip on unsweetened iced tea instead. It can be just as refreshing, and there are real health benefits to drinking the phytochemicals in tea. If you don’t like the taste of plain tea, mix in some lemon, mint, or a small amount of sugar or artificial sweetener—at least during your transition-from-soda phase. The important thing is that you’re aware of, and in charge of, exactly what’s going into your drink and how much is added.
Drink a glass of water first
Whenever the urge to drink a soda hits, fill up a big glass of ice water and finish that first. A lot of times, people drink soda just because they’re bored, or they’re thirsty, and that’s what’s available or that’s what they’re used to.
If you’re still craving a soda after you’ve downed your H2O, then you can reconsider whether it’s really worth it—but chances are your thirst will be quenched and you’ll feel satisfied from just the water. (You can make this work while you’re out and about, too, by always carrying a bottle of water with you.)
Clean up your water
Even still water (or non-bubbly) can be made more palatable with the addition of some fruit or natural flavors. You might think you don’t like water, but you might just need to experiment with it.
Try adding lemon, orange, or cucumber slices to a pitcher of water in your refrigerator, which can serve as a detour when you go hunting for a cold soda.Frozen berries and fresh mint can also be tasty additions to a cold glass of H2O.
Steer clear of soda triggers
You may notice that you only drink soda in certain places or situations: In the afternoon at the office, for example, or when you eat at a certain restaurant. You may not be able to completely avoid these scenarios—you’ve still got to go to work and should still enjoy eating out—but you may be able to change those bad habits.
If it’s the office vending machine that tempts you to buy a soda every day, try to stay away from it in the afternoon—and pack your own healthy beverage or a refillable water bottle so you have an alternative. Or if you tend to crave soda with a certain type of food, try restaurants that offer other options instead.
Try it for two weeks
Weaning yourself off something gradually works best for most people, but some may want to try the cold turkey approach. If you plan to go that route, think of it as a temporary change: Giving soda up for two weeks or a month may be easier and more manageable than ditching it forever.
The best part about this trick? Once your time is up, you may not even want to go back to soda—at least not at the frequency you drank it before.