If you’re anything like me, you have a little bit of a sweet tooth. This can be difficult to control when you’re trying to watch your fitness and health, so drinking a pop, especially a diet pop, helps to satisfy that craving without the guilt of a chocolate bar or slice of cake.
But, you probably also know that pop isn’t good for you. It’s filled with chemicals and sugar and other ingredients that you probably can’t even pronounce, yet you’re chugging them down 2, 3, 4 times a day! You’ve made the decision to stop drinking it…but how can you set yourself up for success in quitting this habit?
- Recognize the importance of slowly cutting it out of your life.
Set yourself up for success by making a small, attainable goal. If you’re used to drinking 3 or more pops a day, you can’t quit cold turkey. You’ll miss pop so much that you’ll break down and guzzle a couple, resulting in guilt and self-loathing. It’s a messy cycle. Maybe you can start by saying you will only have 2/day for the first week. Or maybe you’ll commit to replacing 1 pop/day with water or sparkling water. Whatever works for you, make the first change small and more easily attainable.
- Create a pop schedule.
With your first goal in mind, create a schedule for yourself. Depending on your addiction to pop, this could be a day-to-day schedule or a week-to-week schedule. Set yourself up for success by scheduling your plan into a reasonable time frame. Once you meet these initial goals, you can continue scheduling until you’ve eliminated pop from your diet (with the exception of the odd treat!).
- Replace pop with yummy substitutes!
Now, remember that you’re trying to cut out artificial sweeteners and empty calories, so I’m not talking powdered additives for water or juice boxes. Consider drinking sparkling water if you’re missing the carbonation of pop. Or add some lemon, lime or cucumber slices to your water. a few sprigs of mint add a touch of flavour that can trick your mind into thinking you’re drinking something other than water!
- Keep different choices around!
Once you discover the substitute that works for you, be sure that you plan ahead to ensure that you have lots on hand to help you avoid turning to pop. Keeping a pitcher of cucumber water in the fridge will make it easier to choose the water over hopping in the car to grab a can of pop. Fill up water bottles to grab when leaving the house for the afternoon and keep it in your purse. Anticipate what you’re going to experience and plan for it.
- Enact a no pop philosophy.
Again, this works best with a one step at a time mentality. First, tell yourself no pop at home. If it’s not in your fridge, you can’t drink it! Then, slowly, add other no pop places/events to your life. Some examples include no pop at:
-in the car
- Create new habits in place of old ones
Maybe going to the lunchroom fridge or going through the drive through during dollar drink days is a part of your daily routine. Find a way to replace that routine with a new one. Maybe you can enlist a co-worker to go for a walk during break instead. Or take 5 minutes to go outside and text your best friend. Whatever it is, find a way to replace that old habit with a new, positive one.
- Tell others what you’re doing.
By identifying your new goals to co-workers, friends and family, you’ll feel more accountable to your new goals. If your co-workers know that you’re trying to cut back on pop and they see you maintaining your old habits, they may question you. If you pound back a couple of pop at family dinner, your mom can call you out. By telling people what you’re doing you have another voice to support your changing ways.
- Redefine what “giving up pop” means to you.
It’s rare for anyone to meet success when they try to remove something from their life 100%. By recognizing that there may be opportunities where you can (and will) drink pop, you’ll have more success in your day-to-day dealings with it. Knowing that it’s a treat you indulge in every now and again will afford you the resolve you need to say no.