Step Away from the Soda
Our work on the Habits of Health has taught us that changes driven by fear are not the most effective way to help someone make new, healthier choices. We don’t want you to think about what you lose by making healthier choices. Instead, think about what you gain—energy, vibrancy, time with your loved ones.
Unfortunately, the rest of the health world has not yet adopted this thinking, so much of what you read about new studies and findings centers around dangers and consequences, or fear, in other words. Whether you are leading someone else to optimal wellbeing or are guiding your own journey, framing what you learn about health in terms of what you gain rather than what you lose is powerful, even if it’s only in your own mind.
So when a new study comes out finding that diet soda might have a link to dementia and stroke, ground your decision in what you gain from longevity rather than in a fear that you might one day suffer from a disease. For example, we know that sugar and artificial sweeteners have been linked to a slew of potential health problems—sugar especially is a major offender when it comes to diabetes and heart disease—but is that knowledge really going to push you to make a change? Probably not. This sort of information is not new or surprising. Nobody reaches for a can of soda thinking that it’s healthy, but it tastes good and satisfies a craving.
What if you thought more about what you gain by choosing water instead of soda? For me, each time I make a healthy decision I am thinking of my family. Every choice, big and small, is an opportunity to gain more time with them.
Drinking more water, your 8 glasses a day as recommended in Dr. A’s Habits of Health, is a gateway to a new life of vibrant health. That might sound like a grand promise for something that everyone has coming out of their tap (don’t forget to filter it!), but it’s true. By simply switching from soda to water you not only avoid all of the scary and very real health problems that come with a lifetime of soda consumption but you gain a slew of benefits.
Water helps you to curb your appetite. It helps your body to function more efficiently (we need a lot of water!). It helps your body to flush out the toxins that can occur as your body breaks down fat. And by virtue of it replacing sugary drinks, it can dramatically lower your calorie intake. Drinking more water is a key Habit of Health, and the benefits of getting your 8 glasses a day start paying off almost immediately.
So go fill up a glass of water. You have so much to gain from it.