There has been one constant in my life for the last 25 years that I never thought I would break up with but I can officially now say that I have broken up with Diet Coke. Before you pat me on the back or roll your eyes at this let me give you some insight into my relationship with Diet Coke and why it was such an achievement to finally end my love affair with this once beloved beverage.
The inception of Diet Coke and myself came around the same time. No need for me to out my age, go ahead and google it if you are curious. I have fond memories of exchanging glass bottles at the grocery site store with my mom in the eighties. Sneaking sips from the two liter in the fridge and finally ordering what finally sealed my addiction, fountain Diet Coke.
When I became a mom the addiction (and I mean that in the most literal way possible) went into overdrive. I went through 4-5 cans a day, in a addition to a large Diet Coke from McDonalds. But to be honest some times it was more. I counted on the caffeine to keep me awake and then somehow it just socially became more and more apart of who I was.
If I went to a party the hosts had Diet Coke for me. If I went to run an errand I stopped to get my fountain drink from June and Rita (yep, totally on a first name basis with the McDonalds drive through girls). If I sat down to work or craft, it was always with an ice cold can. I had it down to a science how long it took for a can to go from room temperature to icy perfection without exploding in the freezer.
I have always been fascinated by documentaries and data. Drugs, crime, food….but then you start throwing aspertame studies at me and I am like whoa buddy…I didn't ask for your opinion.
Every one of my mid level marketing friends has offered me a drink or a supplement to get me kick my habit. I knew that if I was ever going to give it up it would be on my terms. Not because I am a control freak, but rather if I did this for anyone else it wouldn't work.
So, I set a date in my head without telling a soul. I also heavily binged my last few days. Literally, thinking no one knows, I am accountable to no one, it's cool if I back out now.
But, I knew it was time. So, I savored my last sip and started making a plan.
Nothing is successful long term without a plan!
I knew my liquid intake was currently 90% Diet Coke and I could not just not replace that. So, have an alternative ready. One that is basically the same thing isn't going to help.
What you need is water. Lots and lots of water.
In the past when I have tried to cut back I have experienced painful headaches. I always assumed that it was simply lack of caffeine. Truthfully it's more a lack of hydration!
Get yourself a few stainless steel tumblers. When one of water was almost gone I had another one already chilling water in the next while I refilled the first one. Don't let yourself get thirsty. The cravings are much less severe if you don't let yourself get to the point where you need to seek out beverage out of thirst! I literally drank twice as much as what I normally took in for liquid in just water.
Day 1, I am motivated but tired. I tried a chai tea to help fight the lack of caffiene. It feels heavy.
Days 2-3, I began feel like my body needed the water too. I wondered if my Diet Coke loving ways was actually doing a larger disservice to body with the lack of water.
Day 4, I found water to be refreshing in an unexpected way.
I used this fruit infused pitcher and enjoyed some flavor that I had been missing. What struck me was that it was the fresh taste! Have my taste buds been missing out on this for 25 years 😬?
It was also on day 4 that I realized that I had not had a headache. I attribute this fully to my incessant water guzzling! I also realized I didn't have the mid day moment that in had every day around 2 that I felt so tired I was going to fall over.
Day 5, I was feeling confident. So confident that I was ready to become accountable. I did what anyone does in this day in age and made it Facebook official!
This may seem superficial but the reason it was inportant to me was not for high fives, it was for accountability. The more people who knew the more likely I would stick to it.
Day 6-7 This was the weekend the it got tough and not just because of any physical temptation but because it hit me how much it was a part of my routine and that made me feel a bit empty.
Like any bad habit, we start for a reason and albeit good or bad it serves some purpose. It felt weird for it not to be a part of my routine. Like a familiar friend, it was weird for it to be absent throughout my day. That strange feeling of mourning didn't hit me until I was fully over cravings. It's the side effect that surprised me the most in giving up Diet Coke and possibly the one that will be the hardest long term. Be prepared for your day to not look the same. It sounds so weird but if you are not ready for it and a funk catches you off guard it can take you right back to where you started.
My Diet Coke habit was one that I wasn't sure I could ever break. But, it's one that I against my own reservations I did! But, trust me, if I am capable of breaking up with Diet Coke you can too! In the end your body will thank you and a monogrammed tumbler habit is a lot better for you than an aspertame one!
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