My name is Courtney, and I’m a soda-holic. I’m embarrassed to admit that until recently I drank a lot a lot a lot of soda. And I’m ok with admitting this now because I’m happy to say that today I’m one month and 3 days soda FREE!
Anyone who knows me well knows that I’m a major soda fiend. I’ve had a love affair with Pepsi since I was a young kid, and my love of soda only intensified into adulthood. Not being a coffee drinker, soda was always my caffeine of choice. Once I started working in the real world, I’d use it as my A.M. kick starter, and my afternoon pick me up. And it would also be my lunch and dinner drink, so you do the math… that’s four sodas a day. And let’s not forget the refills at restaurants because I’d slurp that stuff up like it was no one’s business.
In my last job there were free cans of soda in the conference rooms and I’d look forward to having a meeting in there just so I could grab a soda. Just hearing the sound of a can popping open from a coworker’s cubicle would ignite a yearning for an icy cold Diet Pepsi to run through my veins and wake my ass up. I had to have one!
Since having my second child and becoming a stay at home mom I don’t get as much sleep as I’d like. I get so little ‘me’ time during the day that once the kids are in bed by 9, I try to stretch that me time as long as I can so I go to bed really late. I had begun to use diet soda as my crutch all day long. Many times I’d have it with my breakfast, eggs, toast, and Diet Pepsi – yum!?
As my soda intake increased I had begun to feel embarrassed by it. The ladies at Subway in my gym pour me a big Diet Coke when they see me coming their direction. And then I refill my drink before I leave. And I had begun a habit of hitting up my local McDonald’s almost daily to get a large Diet Coke. Do you know how good MD’s DC is? It’s #everything. But I worried the ladies in the drive through were beginning to recognize me… especially if I was really bad and went twice in one day and the empty cup was still in my car’s drink holder!!
It’s a matter of willpower
A little over a month ago I was talking to a new friend about my diet and exercise and it came up that I drink a lot of soda. She seemed surprised to hear that and told me that she just watched some documentary that pretty much said soda has been linked to causing cancer. She asked me to rank what I thought my willpower was to quit, from 1-10. I couldn’t answer her and I was frustrated that she was putting me on the spot to face my vice head on and give it up. I realized I was upset because I KNEW I needed to cut back on how much soda I drank and I didn’t like someone challenging me on it.
A couple days later I saw a friend on Facebook started a Diet Soda Elimination Challenge Group and I was intrigued. She wasn’t asking us to quit drinking our beloved soda cold turkey, she was asking us to reduce how much we consume. I could do that… I WANTED to do that. And it wasn’t as scary as quitting all together. The first day I only had two Diet Pepsis and I had the worst caffeine withdrawal headache, so I caved and had a soda at 10pm. The next day I had one and didn’t cave from the headache. After 3 or 4 days of having 1 or 2 a day I decided to start the following week off with zero soda.
One day became two, and two become four, and so on and so forth, and here I am 4 weeks and 3 days later – soda free! What really helped me cut back initially was not having it in the house. That eliminates 2-3 sodas I usually consumed in a day. But I’ve certainly had obstacles, mainly, going to Subway like I do regularly, and getting bottled water instead of Diet Coke with my meal. And I discovered it wasn’t that bad. But the real test was going to McDonald’s and ordering a cheeseburger and fries and getting bottled water instead of their amazing Diet Coke. I’ve gotta say that bottled water does not complement McD’s, but oh well. It’s not like I go there to eat that much.
These days I mainly drink ice water and I’ve begun adding a lemon wedge to give it a little flavor. A few days a week I’ll allow myself a hot Green tea, but I have to sweeten it a lot because I can’t drink bitter unsweetened tea! And occasionally I’ll have a lemonade but I don’t want to trade calorie free diet soda for sugary juices, so I keep it to a minimum.
One big positive outcome from giving up soda is that I don’t have to use the restroom as much! Caffeine just goes right through me and I’d spend half my day going pee. Annoying! I’m definitely using the restroom a lot less now, thank you God! I’ve heard people say I will lose weight when I give up diet soda and I was so hoping that’s true, but that hasn’t been the case for me. Of course not. But I feel better mentally about my change, which is huge.
Good bye, old friend
This might sound weird, but not drinking diet soda anymore makes me sad. It’s like an old friend that brought me comfort and I looked forward to seeing every day. I never intended to go soda-free, just cut back, but it just sort of happened and I’m on a roll so I hate to break my streak now. I would like to be able to have a soda every once in a while, like at the movies with a buttery tub of popcorn, or hell, when I go to McDonald’s!! But I don’t want to fall off the wagon.
It’s been over a month and the craving for an ice cold soda has diminished, but not gone away completely. I think it’s just going to be a day by day thing until I finally kick the craving for good.
To answer my friend’s question, I guess I have a very strong willpower, a lot stronger than I thought. I’ll give myself a 9 out of 10 because I still have my weak moments where I long for a soda. But for someone like me who has been a soda-holic all my life, this is a very positive change and I’m patting myself on the back for staying strong!
What have you been wanting to reduce or give up for a while now but have been putting it off? If I can give up my greatest love in life (soda, sorry husband!), so can you!