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How I kicked my diet soda habit

May 18, 2011

Back in my teens and early 20s, I consumed massive amounts of diet soda.  I’d go through can after can without a care in the world.

Diet Dr. Pepper Cherry, even though it made me burp like a maniac, was my very favorite soft drink.   To my delight, I had free access to it ALL day long at work.  I’d constantly pass the water cooler and head straight to that soda machine.

Cracking open a nice cold soda was the best part of my day.

(Source)

After drinking approximately a million and one cans of diet soda, I started to wonder what was really in those cans, aside from burp-inducing bubbles.  After wondering, I was actually brave enough to look.

What I found was a long list of artificial this and artificial that and words I sure as heck couldn’t pronounce. Where do grocery stores keep the Red 40 anyway?  Is it next to the broccoli?

Didn’t think so.

After reading the labels, I confirmed what I already assumed to be true:  I’d been washing back my healthy greens with cans of carbonated artificial junk.

This fact was very disturbing to me, and I vowed to break my habit.  It wasn’t easy, but eventually, I kicked my soda dependency.

  • Rather than quitting cold turkey, I cut myself down to one can a day, which I’d drink at 3 pm.  It gave me something to look forward to during the work day.  Soon after implementing the 3 pm soda fix, I discovered Hansen’s soda.  Behold a non-terrifying ingredient list!  Before long, my 3 pm soda break consisted of Hansen’s rather than the other stuff.

  • All of the other sodas I used to drink throughout the day were replaced with ice water. Just to make it special, I bought myself a pretty water bottle and carried it with me everywhere (kind of like Paris Hilton and her chihuahua).
  • Since plain old water can be…well…plain, I sliced cucumbers, lemons, strawberries, limes, and oranges and added them to my glasses from time to time (not all at once though).  Sometimes I’d even throw in some fresh mint.  Doing this actually started to feel luxurious.  The only thing missing was a spa.
  • Coconut water and aloe vera juice came into my life.  They are both so hydrating, and even though the taste may take some getting used to for some, I really enjoy the flavors.
  • I stopped adding sugar free flavored powders to my water.  As far as I’m concerned, they are every bit as scary as soda.
  • I told myself that I could have diet soda occasionally.  There are rare times when I’ll order a glass of Diet Coke at a restaurant, but I actually prefer water now.  I never dreamed I’d see that day!

Even if soda isn’t your vice, these tips can be applied to most any habit that you need to break. All you have to do is cut down slowly, find a replacement, and allow yourself a free pass every now and then. (Unless your habit is eating crayons, in which case, you should just stop.)

Cutting down on my soda consumption has actually given me more energy.  It has even helped to keep me more regular.  Hey, I’ve already mentioned burping.  Might as well toss regularity in there too.

What are your thoughts on soda?  Have you stopped drinking it, or do you drink it regularly?  I’d love to do a follow-up post with your tips (I’ll cite your blog, if you have one), so feel free to email them to me at easturner@gmail.com.

(Remember to enter my GIVEAWAY.  Two winners will be announced on Friday!)

Have a great day!

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13 Comments
  1. May 18, 2011 9:37 AM

    My roommate and I did a 30-day challenge where we gave up soda (me) and lattes (her) cold turkey. We did just fine. Now I allow myself to have one occasionally. 🙂

    • May 19, 2011 10:41 AM

      The 30 Day Challenge is an awesome idea! I’ll include that in my follow-up post. 🙂

  2. May 18, 2011 11:24 AM

    Congrats on kicking the diet soda habit! I’m not a fan of diet soda but I do enjoy an occasional coke, root beer or ginger ale. Everything in moderation, right?

  3. May 18, 2011 11:34 AM

    I used to be addicted to diet coke, about 5 years ago. One day, the machine at work was out and I lost it. I was so irritated, frustrated and down right moody. It freaked me out. I quit cold turkey and haven’t looked back. If I wanted one now, I’d certainly sip on one, but I can’t remember the last time it sounded good. Diet soda is scary stuff!

  4. May 18, 2011 1:33 PM

    Hey Erin,

    I feel you pain! I’ve been totally addicted to diet coke for most of my life…I LOVED it, and it got me through my days. The thing was I always knew thatit wasn’t hat good for me but I drank it anyway. After beginning to eat healthier and wanting to feel better and have more energy I decided I needed to give up my toxic habit.

    I stopped drinking diet coke and, like you, started having 1 Zevia per day (Sweetened with stevia) it seemed like a much better alternative. I’ve never tried Hansen’s though so I uess I’ll have to check out that brand too!

    Now I don’t even drink Zevia every day anymore! Just once in a while when I buy it at the store. I’ve only had 1 diet coke since I quit drinking it…and you know what? It made me feel like crap! I actually got a headache and everything! I was so happy to find that I didn’t fall back in love with my diet coke and I haven’t had one since 🙂

    • May 19, 2011 10:44 AM

      Congrats on quitting!!! That’s awesome! I haven’t tried Zevia yet, but I’ve seen it everywhere. I’ll have to try it one of these days…but like you said, I don’t even need a soda substitute anymore. I’m now a water lover! 🙂

  5. May 18, 2011 1:34 PM

    So glad you were able to kick your diet soda habit! I drank a lot of soda growing up because my parents drank SO much of the stuff (and still do!), so I grew up thinking it was normal. However, once I started living alone, I noticed myself feeling so much healthier by drinking water/sparkling water instead of diet soda. At a law firm I used to work at, I used to drink Fresca drinks, thinking they were healthier–but I got terrible headaches all the time! I feel so much healthier now that I don’t drink soda regularly, but I’ll occasionally have one if I really want it. Like when I visit my parents. 😉

    • May 19, 2011 10:44 AM

      It is amazing how many people seem to notice their headaches disappearing when they quit drinking soda. Congrats on quitting! 🙂

  6. May 18, 2011 7:01 PM

    I actually think diet soda tastes terrible and regular soda tastes too sweet. I used to drink it when I was younger but not I stick to water or half and half tea! My one treat is to share a cherry limeade with my boyfriend from Sonic when we’re on car trips!

  7. May 19, 2011 11:21 AM

    I used to drink tons of diet soda, and quit cold turkey a little over a month ago. I finally decided that it didn’t make much sense to put so much effort into eating a healthy diet and then have a can of poison with my meals.

    I still crave a soda now and then, but it’s getting MUCH easier to say no to. I have started to look forward to drinking iced tea and sparkling water instead, and I feel really good about breaking a nasty habit.

    Congrats on quitting!

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