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7 Ways to Stop Drinking Your Calories [& What to Drink Instead]

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One of the best ways to lose weight without feeling deprived is by not drinking your calories! When you focus on zero calorie liquids, you’ll have more room to enjoy actual food that can leave you feeling more satisfied than a juice or soda.

dont drink your calories - 7 ways to stop

We’re usually not very strict on our diet rules, but one of them is definitely: DON’T DRINK YOUR CALORIES!

This may sound harsh, and of course – there is always room for the occasional glass of wine or cocktail, – but liquid calories add up quickly!

This is why we suggest limiting the calories in your drinks and also tracking your food – either by calories in a tracker like MyFitnessPal or macros using Breanne’s Strong Girls Guide.

glass bottle of coca cola

High Calorie Drinks to Avoid

1. Fruit Juice

Marketers love promoting juices with tons of health benefits, but we usually can get the same benefits with less calories and more fiber by eating the actual fruit or vegetable. A good example of this is a 70 calorie orange versus a 140 calorie glass of orange juice.

2. Soda

Soda can be a tough habit to break – especially if you love your caffeine fix in the afternoons. Regular soda is really just a lot of sugar which means empty calories into your diet. Several of the larger bottles (12oz or more) contain more than one serving, and just a single serving can be around 150-200 calories.

Diet soda has also been linked to an increase in cravings and weight issues because of the artificial sweeteners in them. While diet soda is 0 calories, it still isn’t the best thing you could be drinking. We have a guide to help you stop drinking soda as well that you might like!

3. Protein Shakes

Protein shakes definitely have their place in our diet if I’m being honest. I love how quick and easy they are to have when I’m on the go, and they keep me from grabbing fast food. With that said, they can be higher in calories than you’d imagine, and since you’re drinking it you might not feel as satisfied as say eating 2 eggs and a cheese stick which would the equivalent protein and calories as some protein shakes.

4. Alcohol 

Again, alcohol is something you’ll find in our diet occasionally. We just want to be aware that alcohol not only has calories, but it also lessens our mindfulness about our goals as we drink it. We like to do a white rum and vanilla Coke Zero or a glass of wine followed up by a glass of water when we drink. Another option would be one spiked seltzer for about 100 calories.

Another idea would be to swap champagne for kombucha! It also has calories, but it has been linked to better gut health benefits and could help you not get as dehydrated as an alcoholic drink. 

lemon ginger cayenne water in a mason jar with a straw surrounded by ingredients

What to Drink Instead

We wouldn’t take away your drink options without giving you a few new ones to pick from!

1. Water

Of course, water has to be on our list! Water helps us stay hydrated which can also help with our hunger triggers! Plus, it’s 0 calories and has other benefits as well!  If you’re not a big water drinker, try our Lemon Ginger Cayenne Water for a little flavor!

2. Green or Black Tea

Both types of tea offer health benefits when drank on their own (no adding sugar). We personally love a great green tea for some flavor and a little pick me up! (We aren’t a fan of Flat Tummy Tea or Fit Tea though because of the potential side effects).

3. Coffee

If you’re reaching for a soda for energy, why not have an extra cup of black coffee? Healthline has linked coffee drinking to all kinds of benefits ranging from more energy to a decreased chance of dementia or type 2 diabetes!

4. Sparkling Water

Sparkling Water can be a great way to get a little bubble back into your routine if you normally drink soda. If you’re not worried about the artificial sweeteners, we really like the taste of Sparkling ICE and Crystal Light. If you are looking for something without any type of sugar, La Croix or bubly are both great choices!

Why You Should Stop Drinking Your Calories

If you’re not convinced yet, here are a couple reasons why we don’t drink our calories (often).

1. Weight Gain

Whether you’re tracking calories or macros, these high calorie, sugary beverages can be hard to fit into your diet. It’s also easy to forget to track them since you can guzzle down a Gatorade or sweet tea quickly! Why not take those 100+ calories and actually have a snack or meal you will enjoy?

2. Empty Calories

To go along with the weight gain, when you drink your calories – you’re not getting as many nutrients as you would from food. For example, broccoli is lower in calories than your favorite Frappuccino and it’s also packed with vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, and fiber! All of these things, and the time it takes for you to eat, help you stay feeling full and satisfied.

3.  Increase in insulin resistance & a higher risk of developing pre-diabetes 

The Journal of Nutrition did a study that found sugar-sweetened beverage drinks are associated with a greater increase in insulin resistance and a higher risk of developing pre-diabetes in a group of middle-aged adults.

infused water in a small glass

7 Ways to Stop Drinking Your Calories

Okay, so now you’re on board with Rule #1: Don’t Drink Your Calories! How do we make it easy to ditch the liquids?

1. Freshen up your water! Add in lemon or use a fruit-infused water bottle for some flavor!

2. Make your coffee at home versus the cafe. This way you control how much cream, sugar, and syrups go into it! If you go to the coffee shop, plan ahead and find a lower sugar, lower carb coffee drink

3. Find lower calorie or non-alcoholic options. Skip the fruity or frozen drinks and reach for a seltzer and liquor, wine or beer instead.

4. Follow your alcoholic drink up with water or seltzer. This will help you from consuming more calories and help with hydration!

5. Track your calories in drinks. Once you know how many calories are in that Frappuccino or piña colada, you may not be as tempted to have it!

6. Drink more water! Sure, you may not love it now, but if you commit to drinking 50-100 ounces of water a day for a week, we know you’ll start to crave it! We like to keep a bottle in the car, by our desk, on our nightstand, and basically anywhere we can take a sip easily!

7. Experiment with new teas! There is a flavorful tea for every time of the day! We love green tea in the afternoon and chamomile tea at the end of the day! We also really like Bevvy tea before a meal. It has a few calories, but the benefits have been worth it!

We also always want to include reader questions to our articles! If you have a question, please drop it in the comments so we can help!

Below are reader questions we’re excited to help with!

red wine in a glass at sunset

Will I lose weight if I quit drinking alcohol?

It really depends on how much alcohol we’re talking about. Weight loss really comes down to how much you are eating and how active you are. This is why we really suggest committing to a meal plan and home workout. This will help you see results each week. Most of our clients lose 1-2lbs per week on average!  

If you’re interested in weight loss, we’d love to have you join our 21 Day Challenge!

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    1. Hi Aileen! You will want to calculate your calories for step 1, 2, & 3 then you will subtract your deficit or add your surplus to that number. If you still need help, I am happy to figure your calories for you. What workout are you doing? Are you trying to lose, maintain, or gain weight?

  1. I’m confused too… when I did the calculation for sedentary then more active, I got less calories for more active . I am trying to lose 2lbs a week. I weigh 154 – goal weight is 135. I try to workout 5-6 days a week, weights and cardio. Exercise is not the problem, calorie intake is – I eat mostly decent foods but too much. I’ve gained 10 lbs in the past 6 months.

    1. Hi Maggs,

      How are you doing? Thanks for commenting on the blog! I really appreciate it, and I would love to help you figure out your calories! Here is an outline of what I did based on your comment on SoreyFitness.

      Step 1:

      Calculate your Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR) –this is the number of calories you need to eat to survive

      154 x 10 = 15400

      Step 2:

      Choose one of the bolded numbers below based on how active you are outside of your workout and ADD it to 15400 :)

      Sedentary +154

      Moderately Active +308

      Very Active +462

      Step 3:

      Add your calories burned from your daily workout (DW). What kind of workout do you do? How long? Do you know approximately how many calories you burn? If so, ADD that number to 1540 plus the active level.

      Step 4:

      Subtract 500-100 calories to lose weight. Don’t go over a 1000 calorie deficit, or it will slow your results.

      Step 5:

      So if you were moderately active, working out and burning 500 calories a day, and wanted to lose 2 lbs a week I would say: 1348

      Does that help? If you need anything just let me know.

      Why do you think you’ve gained 10 lbs? Have you had a major life change? Have you changed your diet, workout, or any medicines? All kind effect your weight. What kind of workout do you do?

  2. Please dont be upset. I’m sorry, but I couldn’t help but notice on your step 1 when you multiplied 154 x 10 that the answer is incorrect. Do you mean multiply 154×100? Because 154 x 10 is 1540 not 15400. 154×100 however = 15400.

    1. Oh I’m sorry!! I’m not upset at all, but I’m so sorry I did that. It’d would be 154 * 10 = 1540 then you’ll take your activity level in step 2 and add that number to it. Does that make more sense?

  3. K, so I’m a little confused…HELP!! I’m 245, doing a mix of Insanity and Combat. Matter of Fact, I’m following the Hybrid you have here on Sorey Fitness!!

    1. Hey Christine,

      I’d love to help — man, oh man, that hybrid is no joke!! Do you know roughly how many calories you are burning on average during your workout? If not, it’s okay but I always like to ask. We can guestimate if we need to. Also, how active are you outside of your workouts? (very, not so much, or very little like a desk job). With that information, we’ll be able to figure out a good calorie level for you :)


  4. Hi there I’m 150Lbs and I do Rocking body. That’s the only exercise I do. I burn 444 cals when doing this exercise based on my Fitbit. Can you help me to work out my calories.because I’m confused. I have a momma pouch and wants to lose about 20lbs overall. I do not want to lose any muscles plus I would like to gain muscle mass also. Can you help me?

    1. Hey Jovi!!
      I’d love to help! So your calorie burn comes from 2 things: how high your heart rate is and how long you keep it elevated. You want to stay in a good heart-rate range, which your FitBit will help you track that. You can also Google: “what is a good heart rate range to workout as [YOUR AGE HERE]”

      The other thing is staying active longer. This could be a longer workout or just making it a point to be more active through the day. For your workouts specifically, I’d say we could bump up to something like the 21 Day Fix so that its about the same amount of time but more challenging. Another option would be Core de Force (kickboxing) because the workouts are a little more challenging and a little longer than Rockin’ Body – it also has moves specifically for the the “momma pouch” :) So I think you’d really like it! Both the 21 Day Fix and Core De Force also have strength training to help you gain lean muscle. Have you heard of either? Does either sound like a good fit?

      Do you have a coach you’re working with? If not, we’d love to get you set up in our private client group!