Diet / Healthy Eating Tips / Sugar / Weight Loss

Week 4 – GetReal! Get Healthy Challenge

Hello GetReal Challengers! Here is your Get Healthy Challenge for this week….you ready??

Banish Liquid Calories!

Think what you drink couldn’t really effect your weight loss efforts? Think again. If you’re committed to losing weight, you need to take a hard look at your beverages. They could be standing in the way of you reaching your goals.

The calories in regular pop, juice (yes, even 100% natural, no sugar added), 2% or homo milk, cream and sugar in coffee, iced tea, frozen coffees, smoothies and alcohol add up quickly, can slow down weight loss, and easily cause weight gain.

Did You Know?

  • 1 cup of juice = two whole fruits in terms of calories but whole fruits have fibre, making them way more filling than juice. So don’t drink your fruit. Eat it.

  • A medium double double coffee from Tim Hortons has over 200 calories! 200 extra calories everyday for a year can cause 20lb of weight gain. Yuck.

  • A large Starbucks Mocha Coconut Frappuccino with whipped cream adds a whopping 710 calories and 26 grams of fat. Yikes!

  • A large strawberry banana smoothie from McDonalds will set you back 330 calories.

  • A standard margarita packs in 250+ calories and even a 6 ounce glass of red wine has 135 calories.

What to Do?

Satisfy thirst and avoid bad beverage blunders by choosing:

  • Water and soda water – bubbly with lime makes it fun!

  • Milk (1% or skim) or low fat chocolate milk for a treat

  • Tea or coffee with milk

  • Skim milk lattes or cappuccinos

  • Diet pop

  • Crystal light

  • Low sodium V8 vegetable drink

  • Any other beverages with very little calories (and yes, the odd glass of wine won’t put you off track)

Aim for:

8 cups of fluid each day, with most being from water.

If you’re dehydrated, you might have trouble concentrating, and you might feel hungry even when you really aren’t. In fact, thirst is often confused with hunger!

Now, here’s your Do this! Post this! task for Week 4:

Do this! Identify any “diet wrecking” high calories drinks and substitute for low calorie alternatives or water.

Post this! What’s your fave low calorie drink? How much water do you drink in a day?

– A & M

26 thoughts on “Week 4 – GetReal! Get Healthy Challenge

  1. My fave no-cal drink is the new Grapefruit Perrier- yumm. My biggest vice would be the glass (or two) of wine at dinner so I need to be more mindful about how much I have and how much I pour into my glass in the first place!

    • Yumm, I love that too! Yes, that’s a good point. The size of the glass (or wine glass!) can make a big difference even – so trying choosing a smaller glass. Also try avoiding that drink WHILE making dinner and savor it with your meal to avoid over doing it 🙂 Thanks for taking the challenge!

  2. I am pretty good on what I drink (water, tea, not much pop unless mixed with alcohol and I don’t drink that much alcohol!); however, I hail from a British family and we all drink milky sweet tea – I use skim milk usually because I prefer the taste, but I know I put in wayyy too much sugar. A friend suggested for this challenge I try David’s Tea, because there’s lots of flavours that don’t require any added sugar or milk and still taste really good – going to try that.

    I also am bad on the quantity – especially with water. I just don’t drink that much liquid in a day and the boyfriend is always trying to put water in front of me. Working out has actually helped my water intake because I get thirstier at the gym (obviously!). I probably, at most, drink the equivalent of 4 cups a day!

    A question for you ladies though – I thought most diet pops and diet drinks like Crystal Light were packed with aspartame and sugar substitutes that are either not good for you or studies haven’t shown whether they are good or not… I’ve always stayed away from anything labelled “diet” because of that fear. Plus, diet pop tastes HORRIBLE! 😛 What is your take?

    • Hi Jen – great ideas with the loose leaf teas, they are so flavourful and you probably won’t notice the missing sugar 🙂 I would say keep the skim milk though (if you’re not already getting too much dairy in) – it’s got calcium, vitamin D and protein so it’s a good choice and will fill you up. Tell us how it you liked the tea.

      Water can be a hard one, but don’t forget that ALL your liquids count towards water, even coffee and tea! So as long as you are getting a lot of other fluids (or even soup) you may be on track. Maybe track your total servings of fluid to see how you’re doing.

      In terms of diet pop and drinks – that’s a personal choice. So far the research has shown that sweeteners like aspartame are safe to use. Some people find it helps their weight loss goals to switch to diet (especially if they are replacing high calorie beverage for ZERO calorie diet ones). But if you can live without it then there is no need to include it in your day either – totally up to you.

      Keep up the great work!

  3. my fav no calorie drink is perrier water with lemon or lime taste 🙂 i am not a pop drinker never rreally have been, i’m not a juice drinker as i always find juice way too sweet but i sometimes get sick and tired of my everyday flat water so i have a glass of perrier with lemon a few times a week to kick things up a notch.

    on the list I noticed there was “Diet Pop” – i have heard mixed reviews that diet pop can actually be worse for you. Is this true? maybe less sugar but don’t they add more aspartame to it? i am just curious.

    • Love the bubbly water too, so fun and tasty!
      Good question about the diet pop – it’s a common one! Our take on it is that it’s a personal choice. It’s definitely not something you have to drink and it doesn’t provide any nutrition. But for some, making the switch to diet can really save them a lot of calories and offers them an alternative to water to mix things up. The research so far shows that aspartame is safe, especially in the small amount you would get from a diet bevvie here or there. Hope that helps and thanks for sharing!

  4. Thank you for your article. It is very true that in drinks we take in is hidden a lot of calories and mostly sugar in fact. Soft carbonated drinks, smoothies or colourful alcoholic drinks contain a lot of sugar or sweeteners in fact. However, some smoothies are sugar free and these could very well replace a main dish in a well thought healthy diet plan as they are nutritious and low-calorie compared to a standard day meal.

    • Hi Julie – good points! Yes, smoothies made from healthy ingredients like milk or soy milk, fruit, veggies, sugar free protein powder, etc. can be super healthy and can be used as a meal replacement. Some studies have shown that replacing one meal a day with a healthy meal replacement drink can help get weight loss going. I love smoothies for breakfast, especially on the run! Do you have any smoothie recipes?

      • 1 Cup Frozen Strawberries
        1 Cup Frozen Peaches
        1 Cup Frozen Mango
        1/4 Cup Yogourt
        1 Banana
        1-2 Tablespoon Peanut Butter (I use the kraft natural)
        Top with Half Cranberry Juice (Ocean Spray normally) and Half Skim Milk.

        Blend until smooth. You don’t need to add ice as the frozen fruit leaves enough ice crystals to give that smooth/thick texture. I also use chocolate milk on occasion when I feel like having something more sweet and less tart.

        Sometimes I’ll also throw in a handful of spinach too during blending.

        I mix up the fruit depending on what I have available, but I find myself going to those 3 most often. Blackberries, Blueberries, and Raspberries end up in the mix on a regular basis as well. (Especially when they are in season)

      • Rob, this sounds amazing! I can’t wait to try it. Love the idea of throwing spinach in for a veg boost and peanut butter for some protein and healthy fat. (When I make it, I’ll post the nutritional info for peeps interested in that).
        Thanks 🙂

      • Also as a note to the recipe. Ocean Spray has low cal varieties of their drinks, something like 2g of sugar per serving. and If you are very keen on keeping milk fats down, use low fat yogourt, and stick to the skim milk and leave out the chocolate milk.

  5. I used to be a big Coke drinker, but since starting to lose weight I have stuck with Water, drinking 6-8 cups a day – or most days. I do still have some Coke, but half a can once in a while. I rarely drink alcohol, so no big change there.

      • Well, I haven’t completely given it up – I still drink it just 1/2 a can a couple times a week. Coke is my only real vice, so I still allow myself to enjoy it. In the past I gave it up for 3 months at a time and eventually went back to my bad habits. So by allowing it in small quantities I have been able to fulfill my need.

  6. I used to drink a lot of pop and ice tea, but recently have decided to opt for water and tea instead. I do, however, like juice, but try to limit myself to a small glass a day, if I am having any. For smoothies, I like to use greek yogurt and fruit. Sometimes I will replace the yogurt with some peanut butter and make a pb and banana soy shake. Wine and beer is my downfall… Although I try to drink light beer when I choose to consume.

    • Hi Kayleigh, thanks for sharing. Sounds like you have made some great changes! Have you noticed a change yet after switching from pop/iced tea to water and herbal tea? The PB, banana, soy shake sounds delish! When do you drink those? The alcohol is a tough one, especially social drinking. Maybe try having a spritzer or water in between so you’ll drink less? Keep up the great work! 🙂

      • I try to have a shake either before or after a workout, depending on what my schedule is like that day and if i have time to eat. I have noticed I am less bloated when drinking sugar-free beverages, which also makes me feel like I am losing a few lbs.

  7. One thing the food diary made me realize was the amount of caffeine I consume in a day between coffee and diet cola. I don’t take sugar in the coffee and do use milk in it so really my beverages are low calorie already. I am going to try the soda water with lime to see how that goes. Now I am in a debate because my daughter tells me aspartame is not good for you. I was drinking Chrystal light until others agreed with them. I would like to find any low calorie beverages because I am not a water drinker and low calorie beverages can be very pricey.

    • Hi Jan! Great job on the food diary, thanks for reporting back. The upper limit for aspartame would be the equivalent of 20 L of diet pop, so a small amount every day isn’t going to harm you. If you’re uncomfortable with aspartame how about splenda? There are a lot of zero calorie drinks sweetened with splenda which would be a good option as well. Or what about herbal teas? Or a low sodium vegetable juice? You can even add a celery stalk! 🙂
      The recommendation for caffeine is not to go over 400 mg per day for adults. Thats the equivalent of about 3-4 cups of coffee. Keep at the water, I’m sure with time it will become a new norm just like other habits. Good luck and keep us posted.

  8. I thought this challenge was going to be an easy one. I didn’t think my drinks were high in calories as I don’t drink coffee or regular pop. I was wrong. First of all I’ve realized I don’t take in enough fluids in a day. 6 to 8 cups? I would be averaging 3 to 4. I drink tea (sometimes with sweetner) and diet pop, oh and the odd hot chocolate and I love smoothies but know they are a treat. Oh and a glass of wine or some cocktails Friday evening is always nice. This is when I realized this challenge wasn’t as easy as I had hoped. I’m making a real effort to drink more water as I realized 80% of my beverages probably are diet pepsi. I have one tea or hot chocolate in the morning. Since this challenge I am opting for the green tea with the fruit flavours so I don’t need sweetner. I am also trying to swap the water and diet pepsi. Instead of 2 or 3 diet pops and one water flip them. I have read studies and doctor’s reports on sweetners and have decided in moderation I don’t think they are too bad. But I’ve past moderation. So maybe 1 diet pop a day and much more water. I have a glass of water beside my computer at work and a water bottle in my car. I can do this!

    • YES YOU CAN! 🙂 Great insight Jolene, thanks for being so open and sharing with everyone. Sounds like you are on the right track, keep it up! Just like any new habit, drinking water regularly will come with time too. It’s a good idea to keep water everywhere to remind you to get in that H20. And work is a great place to get in LOTS of water – try for 4 cups at work (two 500 mL bottles). Keep up posted.

  9. I’m generally pretty good with my drinks–I only drink water, milk and unsweetened tea+coffee w/milk. When I drink alcohol, I stick with red wine (rarely) or gin and soda (mostly). This week, I switched from 2% milk to skim milk. I admit that I like the taste a little less, but I only use milk when I eat cereal or drink coffee, so the switch hasn’t been too hard. Sometimes I like to treat myself to an Americano Misto from Starbucks, so I will be sure to ask that they make it with skim milk next time.

    My one weakness: I drink OJ quite heavily in the winter months, when I am trying to load up on vitamin C. I hate peeling oranges, so I never eat them for that reason. I would like a natural source of Vitamin C, but it would be nice if I wasn’t putting all that sugar into my body.

    • Great changes Rusalana! Making those little changes like 2% to skim milk can add up – 50 calories saved a day is 5 lbs weight loss in a year! Not too shabby I’d say!
      Do you take a multivitamin? They generally have enough vitamin C and it’s one of the vitamins that we are rearely deficient in (lots of foods have vitamin C – peppers, berries, even plain old potatoes!). Otherwise you can try a lower calorie OJ option – they now sell ones with less sugar and half the calories.
      Let us know how it goes 🙂

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