Because of my work as a faith-based health and wellness coach, people often ask me about soulful ways to cultivate or make changes to their lifestyle. Most people start with “What is the quickest way to lose a few pounds?” or “Why am I chronically tired?” To lose weight and improve your health can often start with something as simple as reducing the size of your beverage.
The retreat speaker and her Big Gulp™
Not long ago, at the last minute, I decided to attend a one-day women’s retreat. During lunch, the speaker sat next to me. After exchanging a few facts about family life and writing, we realized how much we had in common.
We had an immediate connection.
As they served lunch, she shared her struggle with body image and making wise food choices. My new friend confided in me about feeling paralyzed and helpless in which direction to go with the next step in improving her health.
A few seconds of silence passed. As a health and wellness coach, I’ve learned the value of sitting in silence.
After a few minutes, she nodded to the Big Gulp™ next to her plate. I remember her taking a sip of the drink as she approached the stage that morning.
Sometimes, the necessary changes are right in front of us. They are often obstacles that prevent us from making progress in our health.
There is nothing wrong with ordering a large, even an extra-large drink—on occasion, but not every time you place your order.
Whenever you order a mega-beverage, it’s essential to consider why you are ordering that drink.
Are you bored? Sad? Lonely? Discontent? Angry?
If you don’t order that drink, do you feel like you are missing out on something?
If you find yourself unable to resist the temptation of always ordering the massive drink, I’ve got a few reasons to say “no” plus a few ideas to help you along the way.
#1 Outsmart the marketing
Understanding the genius marketing behind a Venti or X-Treme Gulp makes it easier to resist ordering them.
Back in the 1960s, an unknown businessman named David Wallerstein worked for a movie theater chain. He struggled to generate profit by selling customers a single-serving bag of popcorn and a soda. Customers rarely bought seconds.
He discovered that when he sold soda and popcorn in a gigantic serving size, he sold more. The success of his idea to increase the serving size paved the way for “the Big Gulp, the Big Mac, and the jumbo fries.
Today, Wallerstein works as an executive for McDonald’s—not a HUGE surprise.
Once we realize that certain products weren’t created with our best interest in mind, it is easier to say no thanks.
#2 cut the calories
Many of the megalodon drinks exceed the capacity of a human stomach. Thirty years ago, the average soft drink was 6-ounces. Now, you can get a gallon-sized jug of soda while filling up your gas tank.
The Double Gulp 50-ounce soft drink from 7-Eleven “is still around 156 percent bigger than the average human stomach.”
Starbucks’ Grande Caramel Frappuccino contains 370 calories and 55 grams of refined sugar. If you ordered a tall unsweetened iced herbal tea drink, you could save yourself a lot of calories.
# 3 reduce your sugar intake
Family traditions, the food industry, and food choices galvanize our desire for sugar. Proverbs 25:16 offers a benchmark for craving too much of a sweet thing:
If you have found honey, eat only enough for you, lest you have your fill of it and vomit it.
A modern-day translation would be, when you order an extra-large pumpkin spice latte, don’t drink it all, or you will feel crappy.
Food chains make ordering monster-size drinks irresistible by appealing to your senses.
Avoid visiting the drink counter or self-serve drink station if you are hungry, upset, distracted, or rushed. When we are in any one of those states, we are more likely to impulse order based on our emotions.
Another idea, ask the barista to cut the number of pumps of syrup in half.
#4 Save Money
I am not in any way suggesting that you skip your morning coffee stop but start ordering a small instead of the large. If you cultivate this habit, the money you save will begin to mount.
Okay, so how do you start to lose weight and improve your health?
Find an action or option that precludes ordering that big drink
It’s important to replace your habit of buying a large soft drink or coffee with something else. In health and wellness coaching, we call this “active diversion.” You might refer to it as “refocusing your choices” or “new choices.”
Instead of ordering the supersize frozen mocha, choose a small unsweetened iced-tea with a splash of lemon.
If you enjoy the carbonation of soft drinks, a healthful alternative is flavored sparkling water.
Your new diversion should be enjoyable, healthy, and incompatible with your obstacle or problem.
Now that I mentioned finding a new action or option order a smoothie. A smoothie made with wholesome ingredients will nourish your body and quench your thirst.
Foster a new healthy habit
By employing a few simple strategies, you can break the habit of ordering the largest drink on the menu.
First, extraordinary results often begin with small changes. James Clear, the author of Atomic Habits, says that it is easy to “underestimate the value of making small improvements daily.”
If you need help making progress toward new goals, I invite you to check out my Wellness Binder, which is always $4.99. My Wellness Binder provides several goal setting templates.
Keep a health journal
After switching up your order, start tracking how you feel. Write down any change that you notice: increased/decreased energy, better sleep, improved health, or weight loss.
And try this bold move to lose weight and improve your health
What if, right before you approach the counter to order, ask yourself, “will this drink help or hinder the stewardship of my body?” I’m not talking about restrictions or abstaining, just making mindful choices.
God cares about what you eat. He created food, and he designed your physical survival to depend on eating. He leaves it up to us to make wise choices.
Here is something to ask yourself as you consider where you will go from here with your health:
Do you have an area in your health and wellness that you want to change? Do you need help getting there?
Let me know in the comments or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org