We all have a certain number of calories that our bodies expend every day, and it is the unfortunate truth that if we consume more calories than we burn, we will gain weight—which few people want. In order to combat this daily struggle, we shy away from fried foods and saturated fats, pride ourselves on turning down dessert, and work in produce as much as possible.
While all of these measures taken are effective, we tend to forget what else we consume on a daily basis…liquid. It is pivotal that we remain aware of our liquid caloric intake because it is easy to sip away progress! Without even realizing the impact that calorie filled drinks have on our bodies, we squander away our hard calorie deficit by replacing those same (or more) calories with drinks.
Most prepared drinks are packed with sugar and very few offer substantial nutritional value. At GoFor20, we always recommend eating fruits over drinking them. Fruity concoctions do not include fiber of the plant, and it is the fiber that makes us feel full and aids digestion. Oranges, for example, have about double the calories in an 8 oz glass as compared to a piece of the fruit. So in theory, you could have 2 oranges for the same calories as 1 C of juice, and be more satisfied because the oranges stay in your stomach longer.
And sticking to diet drinks won’t necessarily help matters either. Not only are they horrible on your teeth, but studies show that drinking highly sweetened drinks, creates cravings for highly sweetened foods. So yes, diet drinks have zero calories, but if those drinks are creating urges to eat sugary foods (which you act on), then the zero calorie beverages could be causing more weight gain than loss.
I firmly believe we should all make room in our daily calorie banks for splurges. Just choose wisely.
If there’s no way to make it through your morning without your iced double pump caramel macchiato, then get it, but own the decision. Make room for it in your daily caloric plan, and account for it. Think of calories like money, you only have a certain number to spend each day, be thrifty.
Decide what you must have, and make it “skinny” wherever possible (sugar-free syrup, nonfat milk, and no whipped cream). If calorie free swaps leave you unsatiated, then try new things like iced black tea—who knows, you might find it to be a wonderful alternative.
If you’re going out with friends on a weekend, order lower calorie options like vodka soda with lime instead of getting your favorite cider or craft beer. Like the oranges, you could have two vodka sodas for the calorie price of one pint of a craft brewed beverage.
For those who want to go the extra mile and rid their liquid intake of everything but water, then woo hoo! (clap, clap, clap!). In fact, hydration has a major effect on energy levels and brain function (so you CAN get through your morning without that macchiato). While caffeine is known to help cure a headache, so is hydration! Water also helps with physical performance, constipation, skin clarity, weight loss, and more.
Bottom line: If you don’t want to give up a favorite drink, then don’t—just make room for it. But remember, we are mostly made of water, and it is essential to our wellbeing.