I have a confession to make…I’m a big fan of goal setting, but I’m not that good at following through on them. Sound familiar? I’m challenging myself and you to set at least one goal for 2013 that you plan to follow through on. I don’t believe that New Years resolutions have to be a bad thing.
- Specific – your goal needs to have a narrowly defined scope
- Measurable – how will you measure success, progress or failure for your goal
- Attainable – is this something that you can realistically achieve?
- Relevant – is this the right goal for this time in your life?
- Time-bound – set a date to make it happen. Can you set checkpoints along the way?
Have a goal in mind for yourself? Can you formulate your goal so it is specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound?
And now onto my goal for 2013. Mary Poppins said, “a spoon full of sugar helps the medicine go down.” But what if you’re drinking several spoon fulls of sugar to help your lunch go down? As you probably guessed, I’ll be tackling my soda problem in 2013.
I believe a successful part of achieving a challenging goal is visualizing it. Perhaps my most unhealthy habit is drinking soda, specifically Dr. Pepper. I have always thought about measuring out the sugar content of soda, but had never actually done it. On Sunday afternoon while everyone was napping I played with some sugar and a digital scale…Alton Brown style.
I started off with 3 tall glasses that were all the same, so the visual comparison would be easy. One can of Dr. Pepper has 40g of sugar in it. Of course in most Dr. Pepper this sugar comes in the form of high fructose corn syrup, a substance that won’t be debated in this post. The sugar content of one can really didn’t look that bad when I measured it out, but the problem is that I often drink more than 12oz of soda in a day.
It is practically impossible to estimate how much soda I really drink since I live in the land of endless refills – Texas. I had to assign a measurement for the sake of my experiment so I went with 3 cans or 36oz of soda a day. When I measured out the 120g of sugar it made a bit of an impact. Each day I was making my body process a lot of sugar.
The real shocker came when I added up the sugar content for the week. If I drank 36oz (120 grams of sugar) a day, 7 days a week that would add up to about 840g of sugar being pumped into my body each week. The amount of sugar was so large that I had to steal the ‘1 Can’ glass and use it as an additional glass to measure out 1 week of sugar content! I filled 2 glasses heaping full with sugar to get the 840g of sugar that I estimated I was taking in. That is 420g of sugar per glass. Seeing that much sugar and realizing I was consuming that much per week really hit home…liked I had secretly hoped it would.
I weigh 210lbs and stand 5’11. I carry my weight pretty well and don’t look too overweight. But like most people, the real damage is probably being done inside. I sat with my table of sugar and thought for a while about what a specific, measurable goal could be. I decided that I need to stop drinking soda in unmeasurable quantities – so the soda at restaurants will have to go. It is far too easy to let consumption get out of control. Plus I’ll be saving a ton of money.
I’m not the type of person that can quit something cold turkey, so I set a goal of 1 can of soda per day for the next 3 months. Over that time period I would reduce sugar intake from 14,400g to 4,800g. (Of course this doesn’t account for other sugar intake from foods.) The amount of 4,800g of sugar over 3 months is still quite a bit – that is still 10.5lbs of sugar…yikes! But it is far better than 32lbs of sugar for the same time period. I cannot believe that I have been consuming approximately 128 POUNDS of sugar a year for the last several years from soda!
Many would suggest switching to diet sodas, but I don’t really care for the taste and when I do drink a diet soda I feel kind of ‘icky.’ Plus there is the big debate about artificial sweeteners, which I won’t address here. If I stayed with 1 can of soda a day throughout all of 2013, it would result in a reduction of – 300 calories per day – 2,100 calories per week – approximately 9,000 calories per month and 109,500 calories over the course of the year.
For this goal here are my measurable items:
- Specific – Cut back on daily amount of soda.
- Measurable – One can of soda instead of an estimated 3 cans per day.
- Attainable – Probably – the sugar visualization sure helps.
- Relevant – Best time to improve your health was yesterday.
- Time-bound – Daily goals plus 3 month goal.
What about you? Do you have a New Years goal that you’re aiming at? Have any suggestions for me as I try to achieve my goal?
2014 Update: I continue to live out the lessons I learned by measuring out the sugar content of my beloved Dr. Pepper. I still enjoy the occassional soda but try my best to stay away from the big drink cup and the refillable restaurant cup. I lost about 10lbs by cutting back on my soda in 2013. In combination with my treadmill desk I am feeling great!
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