Decreasing Soda Consumption




Part I


Target Behavior and Behavioral Modification

I chose to stop consuming soda and figured out a variety of ways to help me achieve this goal in my behavioral modification plan. I chose three variables to study throughout the week in which I observed my behavior. The variables included where I consumed the soda, what time of day, and what I drank the soda with. I took the data that I got throughout the week and applied it to my modification plan. My self-monitoring log was very helpful in the development of the behavioral modification plan. I applied my plan to two different behavior change theories/concepts. Overall I was able to target the behavior of drinking soda and develop a behavioral modification plan based on strategies from the two concepts and the data I obtained from my behavioral observations.
My target behavior is to stop drinking soda. This behavior is important to change because I am consuming a large amount of empty calories by drinking soda and when I drink diet soda, I am consuming chemicals I would otherwise not be ingesting. I wanted to stop drinking soda and drink more water, milk or other healthy beverages. I chose to target soda consumption because I don’t want to develop a long lasting habit of drinking soda. I would rather stop the habit now than continue it for years to come and the behavior intervention gave me the incentive to do so.
I thought the variables that would be correlated with my target behavior would be where I consumed the soda, the time of day and what I drank the soda with (did I drink the soda by itself, with a snack or with a meal). I thought where I drank the soda would be an important variable because seeing where I drank the most soda would help me to figure out how to not drink soda in those locations for the intervention and after the intervention. By not drinking soda in those two locations anymore, I can effectively cut down and almost eliminate my soda consumption. The time of day is important because I am now aware of when I am most likely to drink soda so I can be more aware during that time of what I am drinking. Since I know that I drink soda with meals, I can be more cognizant of what I am drinking at the dining hall at meal times. Since I know that I drink soda by itself in my room at night, I can be more aware and have water or something else to drink instead at night. The variable of what I drank the soda with was not very effective in helping to form the intervention. I drink soda both with food and in the absence of food, so I developed things in the intervention to help with both. Since the results for this variable were so mixed though, I think the bigger impact was where I drank the soda and the time of day.
I found that I drank soda every day during the self monitoring exercise. I tried to consume soda the way that I normally do. I found that I most often drink soda in my room and that five of the six sodas consumed in my room were consumed alone. I also found that I drank a good deal of soda at night, after 8 pm or that I drank it around meal times.
The content of my intervention will consist of no longer purchasing soda to have in my room. This habit started this year at school and I have never consumed as much soda as I have this academic year. My roommate and I take turns buying cans of soda for our room, so I will no longer purchase soda for the room. Instead, I will purchase milk or green tea and make sure my Brita water pitcher is always full so I can drink from that as well. I will also write a post it note reminder and tape it to our fridge to remind me that the soda is my roommate’s and not my own. In order to not consume soda while at the dining hall or out to eat, I will ask my close friends who I dine with frequently to remind me not to have soda during our meals. I am going to try to replace drinking soda with milk or water at the dining hall as well since those are two healthy alternatives that I used to drink much more frequently. Since I drink soda by itself at night a lot, I am going to have a piece of gum if I feel like I need a little boost and having water or another healthy beverage does not do the trick. I am going to increase my self-efficacy and my motivation. I will do so by putting up negative facts about soda, such as the chemicals it contains and the calories regular soda contains on the fridge so whenever I go into the fridge I will see the negative effects of drinking soda. I will also post the benefits of drinking milk and green tea so I am more motivated to drink those healthier beverages.
Through my intervention, I am using the Transtheoretical Model, which is a longitudinal view of behavior. At the beginning of the year, I was in the precontemplation stage and had no intention to change my newly formed habit. I liked having an alternative to drinking water in my room and started to replace water or milk at the dining hall with soda. I started thinking about changing this behavior and entered the contemplation phase when I realized how expensive it was getting to buy cans of soda and how many calories and chemicals I was ingesting. I entered the preparation phase when I decided to develop the behavioral intervention plan and follow the plan that I made. I will enter the action phase when I implement the behavioral intervention. I plan on entering the maintenance phase once I stop drinking soda after the intervention week is over. I plan on maintaining this behavior for the most part. I will allow myself to have a soda once in a while but at a location that is not my residence or in the university dining halls so the behavior does not continue regularly.
Another method that will be addressed is the Theory of Planned Behavior. There are three judgments that are involved in this theory. The first is the attitude that I hold towards soda consumption. I have deemed drinking soda to be a behavior that is not good for me to be doing. Having this attitude will influence the outcome of my behavior as well as if the outcome will be rewarding. I think that I will be healthier and be consuming less calories and chemicals. I also believe that I will feel healthier if I stop drinking soda. The second judgment involves the subjective norm which is the perception of social pressure. One of the reasons that I decided to stop drinking soda is that my mom thinks it is an unhealthy habit and thinks I should stop drinking it as often as I do. My mom’s opinion is important to me and to have her tell me it’s unhealthy does have an influence on me. The third judgment is perceived behavioral control which is how successful I think I can be. I think that I can stop drinking soda and continue to after the behavioral intervention ends so I should be successful. I do not want to continue to do this behavior and would like to end it.
My self-monitoring log helped me to form my behavioral intervention in many ways. I first learned where I drank soda, which was primarily in my room and then the dining hall. The second thing I learned was that I drank soda mostly alone or with meals and very rarely with snacks. I learned that I drink soda either at lunch time or later at night with a few random times in the afternoon. Knowing where I drank soda helped me the most when developing my intervention. By learning where soda was consumed I was able to determine that I need to cease drinking soda in my room and be more aware of what I am drinking in the dining hall. Since I now know that when I did drink soda in my room it was mostly did not accompany food and was consumed by itself. This knowledge helped me to come to the realization that I need to replace soda with a healthier alternative like water, green tea or milk. I think that replacing one type of drink with another will be healthier and just as satisfying. Since if I drank soda by itself or with a snack or meal seemed to vary depending on my location, I think that was the least helpful variable I studied. I now know that I drink soda by itself more than I thought originally though and will be able to modify my behavior now that that has come out.
Overall, the intervention was formed based on my self-monitoring log data as well as addressed two concepts about health behaviors. My self-monitoring log was very beneficial in developing my intervention. I believe if I increase my self-efficacy and follow the other steps outline in the behavioral intervention I will be successful in stopping drinking soda. I think that the intervention will definitely succeed as long as I follow my behavioral modification.

Part II

Results of the Behavioral Intervention
The results of my behavioral intervention for drinking soda were measured with both continuous and dichotomous measurement tools. I was able to use the data from both these measurement tools to evaluate the success of my intervention. I was also able to determine what the most helpful aspects of my intervention were and what change was the critical part of the intervention.
The results of my intervention showed that I was successful in the implementation of the behavioral intervention. For continuous data, the number of sodas consumed went from nine in the first week to two in the week of the behavioral intervention. For continuous data during week 1, the mean for soda consumption was 1.29 and the standard deviation was 0.49. For continuous data during week 2, the mean soda consumption was 0.29 and the standard deviation was 0.49. The mean for soda consumption went down by one soda. This number showed an improvement because I had at least one soda every day during the observational week. The paired t test significance value was 0.017679. Since the paired t test value was 0.017679, which is well below 0.05, I showed statistically significant improvement. For dichotomous data, the number of days soda was consumed went from seven to two, so the intervention did decrease the number of days in a week in which I drank soda. The two tailed P value calculated with McNemar’s test with the continuity correction was 0.0736. Using conventional criteria, this number is not statistically significant according to the McNemar’s website. However, using the data provided on the excel sheet, this number is marginally significant. I think decreasing soda consumption by seven sodas over a seven day period is a significant decrease.
I would conclude that my intervention was successful. I went from consuming an average of over one soda per day in a week to consuming only two sodas in a span of seven days. I drank nine sodas in the first week of observation, but only two in the week in which the behavioral intervention was implemented. I did not drink any soda while in my room which is where I had consumed over half of the soda the first week. The two sodas I drank were in the dining hall. I was able to change my behavior over the course of the week which is an indication that the intervention was a good one. The continuous data results strongly supports the fact that my intervention was successful and the dichotomous data results somewhat support that my intervention was successful. Having data support the success of the intervention helps to prove that the behavioral intervention worked. My behavior modification is still in effect and I have not bought any more soda for my room and have been drinking considerably less soda at the dining hall and when I go out to eat.
The most critical component of my intervention was not purchasing soda for my room and writing myself a reminder post it note to not drink my roommate’s soda. I also made an effort to not drink soda at meal times and told friends to remind me not to drink soda at meal times, but those two parts definitely had less of an impact. Not having soda in my room was certainly the main reason that my intervention worked. I think it was the most helpful because soda was not easily accessible and not always available for me to drink. I did not miss having soda around. Not having it in my room to drink, especially to drink by itself when I was thirsty, helped me to break my habit. If I was thirsty I had water or if I wanted something to perk me up, I had a piece of gum or something of that sort. When I had soda at the dining hall, it was more of a treat and became less of something I was used to having. I learned that having soda around was the main reason I was drinking so much of it. By eliminating soda from my every day environment, I was able to cut down significantly in my consumption. I got used to not drinking soda everyday in my room so I was able to easily decide to drink something else at the dining hall, since I wasn’t in the habit of drinking soda daily.
Having a successful intervention showed me that interventions can work if the proper changes are put into place. Both the continuous data and the dichotomous data show that the intervention was successful. I am happy that the intervention worked out. I still am drinking less soda and have not purchased any more soda to have in my room.