Most people drastically underestimate the number of calories they consume in a single day. This is especially true of calories consumed from beverages, which are particularly predictive of weight gain.

 

Beverages do very little to promote the feeling of fullness that leaves you satisfied rather than reaching for another snack or sip soon after ingestion. Even drinks containing whole foods can ultimately prevent weight loss or even promote weight gain.


Reducing the number of calories you consume through all sources is the single most important predictor of weight loss, and liquid calories provide an easy area for reduction.

 

The Goal: Don’t just eliminate, replace

For many people the issue with caloric beverages is twofold: caloric beverages are enjoyable, and their consumption is a habit. Whether you’re sipping on a latte, smoothie, juice, wine, soda, sports drink, or energy drink, the taste and sensation of consumption is enjoyable, which makes it hard for your brain to “let go” of that experience.

 

Being able to resist and avoid a bad habit ultimately comes down to replacing the bad habit with a healthier one. This week, aim to replace all calorie-containing beverages with a zero-calorie flavored water substitute, unsweetened iced tea, diet soda, or other zero calorie beverage.

 

It’s important that your replacement beverage is somewhat similar to the original beverage. If you’re used to sipping on Coca Cola, replace it with Coca-Cola Zero. Remember, your brain is craving the taste, sensation, and ritual of your previous consumption. It’s also important that you carry this beverage with you, so that you have it when the mood strikes and you don’t backslide.

 

But what about my coffee?!

Black coffee and espresso have zero calories by their very nature. It’s when cream, milk, sugar, syrups, and other added ingredients enter the mix that calories begin to creep up. Stick to 2 cups of black coffee with 1 tbsp of half and half each per day.

 

If you’re used to additional coffee consumption, have an iced Americano, or black tea in place of a latte or other calorie-containing beverage!