Young man taking a break after morning runAccording to a Gallup poll, 48 percent of Americans drink soda every single day. And among those who do drink soda, the average daily intake is 2.6 glasses of their favorite fizzy beverage. That translates into 364 calories per day, if you’re drinking the average 140-calorie soda.

For those drinking diet soda, that means quite a lot of artificial sweeteners going into their systems, and while artificial sweeteners don’t contain calories, they are suspected to carry various negative health consequences. The short version of the story is that many of us are drinking too much soda. And it’s hurting us, one way or another.

If you want to lose weight or just lower your risk of developing certain diseases, you might be thinking about ditching your soda habit. But because it’s difficult to break old habits and form new, healthy ones, you might be wondering how you can replace soda with water.

Figure out how much you’re really drinking. Keep a log for a few weeks. Do you drink soda with every meal? Do certain foods or events trigger your need for a soft drink? Most people don’t even think about how much liquid they consume, and you need to understand your habits before you can change them.

Develop new habits. If you tend to drink soda when you need energy or stress relief, find new healthy alternatives for that behavior. This step might require some experimentation, but building healthier habits is well worth the time investment.

Explore your options. If you’re ditching soda because of the sugar or artificial sweetener content, you don’t want to simply replace it with a similar drink. Water is your ultimate goal. But many brands of carbonated waters come in flavors, or you can experiment with adding a splash of fruit juice to your H20. Knowing all of your options can help you to choose alternatives that will work for you.

Remove temptations. Dieters know that it’s hard to stay on a healthy eating plan when there are donuts and chips in the kitchen pantry. The same goes for ditching soda. Don’t keep it in the house, and stock up on your healthy alternatives instead. If you find yourself tempted by the soda machine at work, make sure to bring your substitutes, or go for a walk outside the building (and away from vending machines) on your breaks.

Start slowly. You might find it difficult to “go cold turkey”. But you can probably replace one soda per day with water. Gradually build new habits so that you have time to adjust to a new lifestyle.

Avoid thirst. Once you feel thirsty, you might begin craving sodas, and find it difficult to resist temptation. Keep your water bottle on hand at all times, and sip on it throughout the day. Staying hydrated is good for your body overall, but it’s especially good for preventing thirst and soda cravings.