I strongly believe that information is power. I can obviously only speak for myself, but information was the main trigger – and main long-term motivation – for most changes I have been introducing in my life.
Like I said on my Bye Bye Soft Drinks post I was severely addicted to Iced Tea. Hearing people say I shouldn’t drink it “because it’s bad for you” was too abstract for me, and consequently too easy to dismiss. When I began to understand HOW soft drinks completely mess you up, I couldn’t play it cool any more. I knew it would be emotionally brutal, but I had to remove soft drinks from my life. It took me over 6 months to completely wean myself off it, and I had to take many steps back before I finally succeeded, but I believe it was worth it.
There is a TON of information online on each of the many ways soft drinks are harmful for you. You can, for example, start with the What Happens One Hour After Drinking a Can of Coke article. Since it has links to other follow-up articles, you can take the opportunity and read on.
For a quick and simplified overlook check out the following Infographic (you can click on it to enlarge):
Since I was an itsy bitsy child I had ALWAYS drank soft drinks during meals and during leisure times. This was the hardest change for me: giving up my beloved iced tea, and it took me months to do it. Over many months I slowly reduced the amount of iced tea I drank with my meals, and believe me… I drank seas’ worth of it.
Switching straight to water just didn’t work, for the food didn’t taste the same, and I felt strong sugar cravings shortly after meals – sugar is a b*itch of a drug, but I’ll get to it later – so it took me time, plenty of time, to remove it from my life, and I often thought I would never be able to completely give it up. But I strived to keep in mind that it’s a process, and life-time habits aren’t changed overnight: it takes time. So if today I drank 3 glasses of iced tea, next week I would only drink 2 glasses and 3/4, and so on at a painstakingly slow pace.
At this point I am glad to share that after months without a single sip of soft drinks, when I decided to have some Coca-Cola for “old times sake” it tasted horrible to me! Like cheap caramel gone bad, truthfully. I am fully aware that it was not the Coke that changed, it was me, and since then I have never ever wished for it again. As for the Iced Tea, my taste buds now perceive it as cloying liquid, so the outcome is the same: never again.
Since health is my destination, I never went for the “zero calories” soft drinks. My mind associates that with “chemical sh*t-storm”.
For a follow-up on this theme, please check out my Soft drinks = ☠ post
Still on Step 1: Knowledge is Power, here’s some other key information: weight loss is not the same as fat loss. And at the time this was news to me.
I had learned, as most people do, through mainstream media that we must lose weight, period. That the kg on the scale is all that matters. But as it turns out, total weight is not really the most important thing. Body fat and muscle mass percentage matter a whole lot more.
Here’s an infographic for you!
You can find the complete infographic here but keep in mind not to take things literally (for example the “track your body fat every 2 weeks”)
And another thing, as it turns out you can lose fat / volume, but actually gain weight if you are developing muscle mass, becaaaauuuuseeeee: