I have a lot of bad habits that have contributed to my being overweight. Drinking is not one of them. Any kind of drinking. I have always preferred to eat my calories.
Soda, pop, cola, tonic – whatever you call that carbonated stuff… holds no appeal for me. Back in college I drank more than my share of diet soda, but somewhere along the way it got replaced with water. Maybe when I cut out caffeine? Anyone else remember drinking Tab? It was the precursor to Diet Coke, came in a pink can clearly marketed towards women, and got taken off the market when the FDA deemed its sugar substitute to be potentially dangerous. Even at the height of my soda habit I only drank diet, having never developed a taste for the sugary stuff since my parents never bought it; they feared it would rot our teeth.
Moving on to booze, with its empty calories and potential lowered inhibitions that result in overeating. Fortunately I just don’t like the taste enough to outweigh my desire for food. Some would have both – but interestingly this is one area of personal willpower for me – I just like food so much better. Of course, if we revisit my college years, I did drink plenty of beer and cheap wine. Only partially coincidentally, that is about the time I experienced my first major weight gain. For now, a rare glass of wine or fancy cocktail on a night out with friends is about as much alcohol as I imbibe.
Juice and milk are staples for many people. Unfortunately, from a calcium perspective, I just don’t like the taste of milk. What I do like the taste of is an occasional flavored latte, but always sugar-free and with skim. This is actually a good mid-morning snack when I am on a low-carb plan and can’t get home before my hunger overtakes me; but I balk at the expense so don’t do it often. (Gotta love having a coffee shop on every corner.) Juice doesn’t tempt me. I am happy with my non-caloric alternative every morning: Crystal Lite Sunshine Orange. No calories and it counts toward water consumption.
I do have one very bad drinking habit – I don’t drink nearly enough water. I know that we can count water-containing beverages and high-water-content foods, but I still don’t come close to the recommended 8 glasses a day. At meals and during workouts I will have water, but I have to make a conscious effort to pour a drink at other times. I’ve started drinking Powerade Zero during some of my workouts because the (sugar-free) sweetness helps me sip more than I otherwise would. This week I discovered some flavored teas for the cold afternoons and that’s helped with both my water intake and snack avoidance. And Crystal Lite makes a tasty decaf iced tea if it ever warms up here again. I’m working on it – but 8 glasses a day is just not happening. Yet.