Wellness Wednesday :: Kicking the Soda Habit

Today I’d like to share a little story about my relationship love affair with Diet Coke.

There’s something addicting about Diet Coke. It’s the heartbreaker of the sodas. Other soda drinkers are like “Yeah, sure, I like [Pepsi/Sprite/Coke] all right.” But Diet Coke fans? They looooove Diet Coke. It’s the greatest drink ever.

I was a casual DC drinker in high school and college. It wasn’t until I had my first job and worked 8+ days in an office that my affair with Diet Coke took off. You office-workers know what I’m talking about. You’re sitting at your desk at 2:45 pm and try your hardest to make the remaining afternoon hours go by faster. So you head to the vending machine and pop open a refreshing bubbly soda. Ahhh, day maker.

I did that for years. It wasn’t until Last September that I decided to kick this DC habit, for a couple of reasons:

1. It Made Me Snacky
It may be a zero calorie drink, but led me to crave many high-calorie foods. Like clockwork, every afternoon I would grab a soda and and naturally want a snack with it, usually something salty and crunchy to couple with my Diet Coke. Soda is just much more enjoyable when you combine it with something unhealthy. That’s why they include a “free” soda with any combo at fast food restaurants. Eating a double cheeseburger just tastes better when you wash it down with a soda.

2. It’s Expensive
You know I have to throw this one out there. Buying soda is a luxury. You don’t have to be rich to enjoy it, but it’s still an unnecessary beverage when pure, healthy water is available at your fingertips for free. I would spend a good $4 every week and a half on a 12-pack. When I forgot to bring one to work, it would cost me $0.75 in our company vending machine. Let’s just do a little math here, assuming I bought at least 2 a week at work and had an average of 9 a week, it would cost me approximately $3.50 a week on soda. (Okay, not bad, especially when you look at people who get coffees for $3 a day at Starbucks — that’s another topic for another day). But if you multiple that for a whole year, that is $190 you’re spending on soda. And that doesn’t even consider the sodas you get at restaurants or fast food joints for $1.50 a pop. It may not the most expensive habit, but I can think of so many other things I’d like to buy with $190 than something to drink.

3. It’s Filled with Chemicals
In addition to the snacking and expense, I started reading about aspartame and the dangers of artificial sweeteners. I was taking lightly the things that were going into my body. Do I really want to fill my body with chemicals and risk my good health, all for a zero-calorie drink? No thank you.

So last September I decided to quit.

Whenever I craved a soda, I would power through it and drink as much water as I could. I thought it would be painful and heartbreaking, but it really wasn’t and I found myself having more energy than I originally imagined. I even lost weight! It was the help I needed after gaining those Happy Pounds after getting married. I didn’t crave as much sweets or salty snacks and found myself eating an apple every afternoon instead of my diet coke (which I heard has the same amount of caffeine as a cup of coffee! I don’t know where I heard that, but I can attest that it does give you that afternoon energy you need in the office!).

I had gone a whole month without soda and decided to reward myself with a coke diet coke one day (a terrible idea, by the way. If you’re trying to break a habit, don’t reward yourself with the thing that you were  originally consumed with!). I couldn’t even finish that 8-ounce can. I got bloaty, snacky, and a headache after a half hour of taking my first sip.

And that was the end of my love affair with diet coke.

I’ll still have one every once in a while, but usually when I do I regret it and wish I had water instead. For anyone who is trying to, or thinking about quitting — just power through it and I think you’ll find it a rewarding break. Also, if water is too tasteless to drink, try sparkling flavored water. It’s delicious and much healthier.

I’d love to know your experiences with this topic:

Are you a Diet Coke addict? (No judgment here — I was for years!)
Do you drink soda on a regular basis?
Have you ever tried to quit drinking soda?



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  • http://www.lifecommaetc.com/ Life [Comma] Etc

    I feel the same way!

    Once I started my office job, it’s like being a part of a Soda Club! Most days between 2pm and 3pm it’s a TSSSSS chorus of people popping open their daily DC…. I kicked it in favor of tea and coffee… possibly just as bad, but definitely without those pesky chemicals!

  • http://www.lifecommaetc.com/ Life [Comma] Etc

    I feel the same way!

    Once I started my office job, it’s like being a part of a Soda Club! Most days between 2pm and 3pm it’s a TSSSSS chorus of people popping open their daily DC…. I kicked it in favor of tea and coffee… possibly just as bad, but definitely without those pesky chemicals!

  • http://life-accomplished.com/ Tonya

    I was for sure. For me it was that “ahhhhhh” feeling I got when I took my first drink at lunch. The main reason I stopped (and I’ll still have one now and then-but no where near the once-daily habit I had) is because of the chemicals. On the plus side I found a healthy “fizzy” alternative in the drink kombucha. The downside is it’s even more expensive at nearly $4 a bottle! sigh…

  • Jenni Stearns

    I used to not drink pop at all (I’m from Seattle, we say pop, not soda :)) Then I started drinking just Coke. I didn’t drink it often, but I was a loyal Coke drinker. I don’t drink pop often, but when I do it’s usually Orange or some other kiddie drink. I don’t really like the fizz, and if I’m going to consume the calories, I’d rather it be on something really worth it like chocolate!

  • http://myprettypennies.com ginna

    Yes, agreed! When I first started counting calories and realizing what foods/drinks had what calorie, I’d much rather have 120 calories of chocolate than soda for sure!

  • http://myprettypennies.com ginna

    Hm I’ve never heard of kombucha. I guess if it’s $4 a bottle, I should stay away. ;)

  • http://myprettypennies.com ginna

    It is a soda club during that time! I wish I was a tea drinker but can’t really find a flavor that I like. It would be a lovely routine to have “tea time” every afternoon instead. :)

  • Marie

    I used to drink a TON of soda, but stopped primarily because I tend to get cavities and soda is terrible for your teeth. Now when I do drink it, I can’t believe how achingly sweet it is…it tastes like candy. It is definitely a special treat kind of thing now. :-)

    I also don’t drink tea (or coffee, either – I know, so picky!) so I kind of struggle with drinks to get me through the workday. Flavored seltzer water is helpful but I’m thinking I should keep trying with tea.

  • Saraya

    Apples do not have caffeine, but they do give you more energy for a longer period of time than a coffee will. Better than caffeine!

  • http://twitter.com/moneyaftergrad Bridget

    I don’t drink pop. It grosses me out… it’s just so bad for you, and the carbonation gives me hiccups! I feel like I would probably weigh another 20lbs and have diabetes if I drank pop =

  • http://Toteleeding.blogspot.com/ Karen

    I still drink diet pop, but nowhere near as much as I used to. I got a SodaStream for Christmas this year and most of the time I drink plain carbonated water. It only costs about $15 a month – a far cry from pop!

  • http://life-accomplished.com/ Tonya

    it’s not hot tea, it’s like a fizzy cold drink. (I’m not a hot tea drinker at all, nor iced tea). My favorite is cosmic cranberry. :) http://www.synergydrinks.com/enlightened/synergy_enlightened_cranberry.aspx

  • Amanda Hestekin

    Yes, I like you was a die hard diet Coke fan. I always had one or three a week and couldn’t bear the caffeine headaches I would get so I just would have another. I recently, like you, started caring more about my body and what I put in it, so I made my Lent observation about not drinking pop of any kind. Since Feburary, I’ve been pop free and really don’t miss it. In order to get my carbonation fizzy fix, I drink carbonated water which I love. I applaud you for being pop free and loving it! (Can you tell I’m from Wisconsin — I say pop instead of soda) :)

  • http://myprettypennies.com ginna

    Good for you for giving it up! It’s a hard challenge but worth it I think. And yes, I’ve noticed a lot of you aren’t from the South — so many of you say pop!

  • http://www.tasmanianminimalist.com/ Francesca

    Pepsi Max is my nemesis…but I hear all you’re saying and agree. I am going to chug that water, thank you for the reminder :)