By Noely Resendiz
I sat in the observation room at the doctor’s office and contemplated what my pediatrician had just told me. She was referring me to a nutritionist to help me develop healthy eating habits. Because I was overweight, she explained I would be on the path to developing health problems like high blood pressure, breathing problems and heart disease if I didn’t develop better eating habits. I was concerned that being overweight at 15 would trigger my asthma, causing more frequent attacks. I wanted to lead a healthy life. To achieve this, I was clearly going to have to make some changes.
On the verge of obesity, I started to question what I was doing that was having such a negative effect on my health. My family hadn’t necessarily been eating unhealthy meals; my mom made sure we always ate enough vegetables and fruits. We had even traded in white bread for healthier whole grain bread. But there was one consistent element of our diet that placed us at risk: we were heavy soda drinkers.
My family had soda during every single meal. I began to realize that drinking so many sugary drinks was causing me to be weak all the time, gain weight and constantly snack on junk food. I knew that I would have to immediately stop drinking soda and instead drink more water. At first, my cravings for sugary drinks were at an ultimate high, but after just a few days without soda I saw results. I had more energy and fewer cravings for junk food.
The consumption of soda and other sugary drinks wasn’t only affecting me. While at a doctor’s appointment, my dad was diagnosed with type-2 diabetes. My dad’s diagnosis was a wake-up call for my entire family. It urged us to make changes in our diet and lifestyle as a family. We started exercising as a family, taking daily walks in the afternoon. Our Sunday family picnics began to include healthier meals with water instead of soda. The switch from sugary drinks like soda wasn’t the easiest, but it definitely was worthwhile. It’s a satisfying feeling to know that you’re doing what’s best for you.
Drinking water instead of sugary soft drinks and juices has completely transformed my lifestyle. By giving up soda and drinking more water and following the nutritionist’s diet of eating the right portions and more fruits and vegetables, I had lost over 20 pounds. While at my annual physical at the age of 17, my pediatrician gave me the best news I could possibly receive: he congratulated me on my health.
Cutting out soda may not be the easiest thing to do, but the results are well worth the sacrifice. In my case, I gained the strength and motivation needed to be the healthiest I’ve ever been. And I hope to continue on this path.