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I'm 37, badly overweight, and have been for a long time. One of my weaknesses has been pop - normally Pepsi or 7Up - and I'm trying to seriously cut back. So how much is too much?

For most of my life I've drunk at least a can a day, often two cans (I know, not all that much compared to some, but still too much). If I try to go cold turkey, I end up with depression and massive cravings, so I'm trying to reduce to around two cans or bottles per week. Is that low enough to make a difference?

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To lose weight you need to consume less calories than you spend, but you know this. Cutting pops is a nice trick -- you can make it much easier if you cut it completely and cut other sugars too. As an alternative beverage, I recommend some mineral water that has a little bit sodium in it, which makes it more tasty than plain tap or bottled water.

There are tricks how to get rid of sugar/food craving:

1. If you crave for sugar, you remove all/most sugar and artificial sweeteners from your diet at once: pops, fruit juices, fruits, sweets, ice cream, chocolate...This can work easier if you also remove/limit other quickly absorbable carbohydrates, such as potatoes, white rice, pasta and white bread. So, you try to get used to whole-grain cereal products and vegetables (in short: foods high in dietary fiber). After this, in a short time (after few days of struggling) sugar craving can become much less intense. This is from my experience, but others may tell you similar things (WebMD).

2. Fast food can also cause food craving, probably because of quick and large surge of energy it provides. So, avoiding fast food can really make losing weight easier.

To avoid depression from such diet, concentrate on your work goals and relationships that make you fulfilled. This requires some effort and can come with some emotional suffering, which, if associated with right goals, can be surprisingly healing for depression and anxiety.

If not already, become more physically active. Something you can realistically adopt in your life style long-term. Walking, for example. This is not meant (only) to lose calories but to keep you mentally and physically fresh and less depressed.

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  • This is a great recipe for a completely unworkable diet of the kind I've tried over and over in my life, and failed, over and over. If it worked for you, good for you; bad for me. I'm trying to make a reasonable, workable change that I can actually stick to. Telling me I'm not going far enough is a great way to tell me not to bother, there's no point if you don't go cold turkey - and since, as mentioned above, I've tried cold turkey a dozen times and failed, that's not much help. – Werrf Sep 29 '16 at 16:27
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If giving up sweetened drinks is too difficult for you, then quit trying. Quit fighting a battle you're already convinced you're going to lose, because you will. One or two soft drinks per day isn't going to do you any great harm if you account for those calories. And after all, your prime objective here is to lose weight, right? Aside from the sugar and calories, there's nothing really terrible about soft drinks.

A 12-ounce 7Up contains 140 calories. Adding 140-calories worth of exercise per day isn't difficult, even for someone who is "badly overweight." For example, for a 300-pound person a 30-minute brisk walk burns 273 calories, which is two 7Ups. If you do that walk and just have one 7Up per day instead of two, you'll begin to lose weight.

If you've been sedentary a long time, then a 30-minute brisk walk might be too much. Fine, start out where you can. The first week make it 5 or 10 minutes -- whatever you can do. The next week add 5 minutes, and keep doing that until you're up to 30 minutes per day. From there you can either continue to add time, or pick up the pace, add some hills or stairs, etc.

You'll lose weight, you'll improve your cardiovascular fitness, you'll feel better, you'll sleep better, and... you'll still get your daily 7Up fix.

Also consider getting a wearable fitness monitor. They're a good way to keep track of your progress and they help keep you motivated.

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1.5 cans of 7up per day is around 22 pounds of fat in a year. Depending on how overweight you are, this might be the source of ALL your excess weight. Think about that.

Still drinking 2 cans a week will just slow down your weightloss, and maybe save you a few weeks of discomfort (that's mostly psychological anyway).

Calculation: 140 kcal per can * 1.5 = 210 kcal per day 365 days per year * 210 kcal = 76650 kcal / year 76650 kcal / 3500 kcal per pound of bodyweight = 21.9 pounds per year

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  • Can you explain how you converted from 495ml 7up a day equals 17lbs body-fat per year? – John Sep 29 '16 at 12:32
  • I was slightly off (I first used 9 kcal / g of bodyfat and 1 kg = 2 pounds, that underestimates things quite a bit). Now added the calculation. – VonBeche Sep 29 '16 at 15:26
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Answer:

Depends on your diet overall. Losing weight is mostly caused by more calories out than calories in. Everyones calorie needs are different.

You could drink diet (0 calorie) soda in moderation and remember to brush your teeth.

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  • Unfortunately diet doesn't work for me (allergy to aspartame). What I'm trying to figure out is what does "in moderation" actually mean in this case? I know that everyone's calorie needs are different, etc...I know all this. I'm trying to get a guideline idea of what I should be aiming for. – Werrf Sep 29 '16 at 12:11
  • Look at moderation this way: If I know i'm correctly hitting my macro-nutrients for the day (protein/fats/carbs) and have a few calories to spare then I can have a fizzy drink or two. I started religiously counting calories because I was only weightlifting but now I do cardio as well and understand the calorie content as well as my calorie needs I can adapt my diet depending. Its not a case of "going on a diet" its a lifestyle and mentality change. Moderation for me is once or twice a week for fizzy drinks, I use them for a energy boost. – John Sep 29 '16 at 12:18
  • You need to look at your need for fizzy drinks from a purely mental standpoint and if they are a problem then deal with the behaviours that lead to drinking them. Stop buying multipacks, always have a bottle of water with you, never reward yourself for something good with one, etc. – John Sep 29 '16 at 12:20

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