I’m pleased to share Trainer Bob’s Rule #2 (Don’t Drink Your Calories!) with you:
Caloric beverages steal your health and they steal great food from you. That’s right. They steal it because they are so heavily caloric themselves and will fill you up with all the wrong stuff. Think of the kinds of caloric beverages all around you.
Soft drinks: As you heft one of those cans or buckets of sugar water to your mouth, consider that you are actually eating the equivalent of what should be your entire lunch.
I came to this rule while working on TBL. When I reviewed their pre-TBL meal plans I saw that most contestants were drinking Big Gulps or other massive jugs of soda that had 500 calories. Some people would nurse several of them during the day (that’s upwards of 1,500 calories of soda a day!). Think of it this way: all that corn syrup? It’s a bushel of corn! And remember, when factory farms want to fatten their cattle, what do they do? They feed them corn. So if you are drinking things with corn syrup, think about that. Are you a cow? No you are not.
Moreover, when you drink soda, you are ingesting what just about every legitimate medical authority in the world has named as suspect number one in today’s sprawling diabetes epidemic. A friend of mine tells me that his teenage kids really got the message a few years ago when their father was diagnosed. Now, when a family member asks for a soda, they cheerily reply: “Sure. What kind of diabetes do you want?”
Out of the mouths of babes.
If, like most Americans, you are used to drinking lots of liquid calories, cutting out soda might be a tough adjustment. But it’s essential that you kick your soda habit ASAP. If you’re a full-calorie soda drinker, you’re guzzling empty and unsatisfying calories. If you’re a diet/zero-calorie soda drinker, you haven’t dodged the problem. Hello?! You’re guzzling artificial sweeteners and, as you’ll hear again and again in this book, I don’t think highly of these at all. They only serve to whet your appetite for more sweet! Stop the madness. Kick the habit.
To help wean yourself from your soda habit, start experimenting with other flavored, noncaloric drinks that you can make yourself. Try seltzer water with lime or lemon juice. Stock up on unsweetened, naturally flavored herb teas. Make a quart or so at a time and keep it in the refrigerator to go with your afternoon snack. And there is my tried-and-true alternative—the “soda eliminator” described in Rule 15. Check it out.
Juices and juice drinks: Most juices have exactly the same number of calories—and the same amount of simple sugars—as a cola. Oh, you’ll protest, but doesn’t the fiber in a “natural” juice obviate that problem? No. That’s just what you’ve been told. It is the same as drinking a soft drink. You want fruit? Eat fruit. The whole piece of fruit. Not the extracted and manipulated juice.
Yeah, well, juice smoothies are healthy, right? Maybe “healthy” if you order one with no preservatives or added sugar, but regardless, fruit smoothies that you haven’t made yourself (i.e., you have controlled the portions and know exactly what’s gone in it) will make you as fat as a Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade float—just like a 32-ounce soda.
Energy replacement drinks: Well, yeah—if you’re training for a marathon. Otherwise, look at the label! A 20-ounce sports drink—let’s face it, that’s how much you’ll “need” to quench that big thirst—weighs in at 130 calories. Like a 12-ounce cola, but without the nifty zing of bubbles and caffeine. I’ve always seen drinks like these as particularly insidious, because they are, in our heads at least, deeply associated with sports, which are deeply associated with health and fitness. You have to break that connection.
So what about you? Have you cut liquid calories from your diet?