Operation Skinny Jeans: Kick the coke

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Kick the coke

I used to be a diet soda addict. Which is funny because BEFORE I started dieting, I didn't drink soda. But when I joined Weight Watchers, diet soda was an indulgence that was free, so I picked it up. It is amazing how addicting that crap can be. I was never allowed to drink soda as a kid, so I was not used to the effects it has on your body. It messed me up bad!

I wanted to quit, but every time I would try, I would go through caffeine withdrawals and get nasty headaches. And I was lethargic too. So I would pick it back up. Since it was "zero points" it seemed harmless. It's funny- I actually quit Weight Watchers when I started to learn more about nutrition, and I realized how not nutritious that plan is. I mean don't get me wrong- eating WW is better than eating out, but it was shocking to me how many processed food options were less points (and therefore more enticing) than real foods. One example- chemical laden 2 point bars, vs 6-7pts for a Larabar, which is whole real foods. Anyhoo- this post isn't about Weight Watchers.

So when I became more aware of the nutrition in food, and that the ingredients mattered just as much as the stats in the nutrition label, I decided to quit. I couldn't believe I was putting that crap in my body. But like I mentioned before- it was not an easy process!

First I replaced the caffeine in my diet. I started drinking coffee. I used chemical laden creamers, but in my head they were better than the 4-6 diet Pepsi's I was drinking at the time. I could get by with 2 coffees a day, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. I must have an addictive personality because my coffee problem got out of control before I quit that, but it was my first step to quitting diet soda.

Next I drank more water. I realized that part of the appeal was having something to drink at my desk. So I got a fancy water bottle and got to work. I am lucky I actually like the taste of water, so I didn't have to add any chemically additives (like Crystal Light or Mio) to get it down.

I realized tho that what I really wanted were the bubbles. I missed the carbonation. So I started drinking the carbonated flavored water. But not the good kind, the chemical kind. (Side note: I wonder how many chemical additives I used to consume- I am sure a shocking amount). I liked the sweetness and the bubbles, but at that point I had become sensitive to the aspartame aftertaste, so this solution didn't last long.

In the middle I found the flavored San Pellegrino. I fell in love with the Blood Orange one, and while it didn't have as many chemicals, it was too expensive and too sweet to maintain.

I was hesitant to drink sparkling water. That was the stuff that came out of the fountain when the syrup was out! ew. I, like most people, judged sparkling water for a really long time, and then I found La Croix. It seemed like a happy medium. Flavored (without the chemicals and aspartame of other flavored water) and still no calories or any ingredients besides "carbonated water" and "natural flavor". It took a little getting used to, but now I am hooked! I like the bubbles, slightly sweet, feeling that I am drinking soda, without all that crap that comes in it.

So as you can see, it has been a process. I know people who have quit cold turkey but for me it was a longer descent into better habits.

Are you a diet soda addict? Former? How did you kick the habit?
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17 comments :

  1. Currently addicted to Pepsi...well honestly have been for years and I just cant get past it...So sad....I dont hate water or the taste but I just dont drink allot all day long, I could easily eat meals with out any liquid all day long, I actually have to remind myself to drink something. But Pepsi was my go to, and fountain Pepsi ohhhh heaven. It is the hardest thing to ever quit, and im a smoker too and I find it harder to quit Pepsi than smoking....But im trying....lord help all who have to deal with me on a daily basis haaaa

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  2. Growing up i didn't drink really any pop... i thik i had once can a week ish- usually gingerale. when i went to college i got HOOKED on cherry coke... My roomie and i would go through cases and cases of that stuff and get it every meal in the food courts. Then we had a challenge where we gave up pop for a month- a month turned into 6 and then a year. after that i rarely drink pop- i am back to about once a week and sometimes i can't finish the whole can. Now it just tastes- chemically.

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  3. I just gave up diet soda! I was an addict for sure, would drink atleast 6 a day! I was drinking the caffeine free diet coke, and I just knew I was putting harmful things in my body! I went thru the headache withdrawals back in Jan when caffeine sped up my heart rate and that was an eye opener for me!
    Even though diet coke has zero calories I was really racking up on the sodium. I haven't had any soda and lost 1.7 pounds this week! That's the only change I made!

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  4. My favorite La Croix flavors are Berry and Grapefruit. They helped me get into the habit of drinking more water throughout the day. My issue was not that I was drinking soda or diet sodas, but that I just wasn't drinking enough and was frequently dehydrated. I'm happily drinking lots, more plain water than the sparkling kind, too!

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  5. FYI...'natural flavor' is the way manufacturers hide their use of MSG and other chemicals that are bad for our bodies. NEVER trust in 'natural flavors'...!

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  6. This was a struggle for me for a long time but I seem to have (mostly) kicked it. Just wanted to say be careful about "natural flavors"... I just recently asked my Dr. about this because my kids like drinking flavored water... he said to stay away from anything that says "natural flavor" because it's just a term to cover up the bad stuff!

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  7. "Weight Watchers when I started to learn more about nutrition, and I realized how not nutritious that plan is" -- WW is exactly as nutritious as you want it to be. You choose to eat chemicals and fake food and count those points, or you can eat real natural whole foods and count THOSE points. The choice is yours. Blaming WW for having a non-nutitious plan is ludicrous. Taking responsibility for your own choices is essential to having REAL success losing weight. For the record, I lost over 100 pounds using WW and I have kept it off for over two years. And to answer your question about soda, I quit an extreme Diet Coke addiction cold turkey. At the same time I started WW.

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  8. Oh my gosh can I relate to this post!!!! I am trying hard to limit my diet dr pepper ( I love it) but I'm with you...so many bad things in it! I agree on the bubble factor, that is what I actually crave so the la croix is perfect ( grapefruit is my jam) anyway good for you on kicking dirt pop and coffee!!!

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  9. 3 weeks without a diet coke. I want one so bad I could shank my sister.

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  10. I love a diet coke from the fountain! I am also a receiving Sweet Tea addict. I only keep water at home so i'm not too tempted to drink the other stuff! I will have to look into La Croix!

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  11. I absolutely agree with you about WW. I feel the plan encourages people to choose processed foods over non. There are more points in something like chicken vs a processed bar. Any meeting I ever attended was focused on the new grocery store finds and how you can get 22 chips for one point.

    About 4 years agao I developed an allergy to aspertame and it was the saddest day ever. I was such a diet coke addict. I switched to splenda for a few years and in February broke away from all artificial sweeteners for good. It was the 21 day sugar detox that helped me break free. I feel so much better and no brain fog!

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  12. Gave it up cold turkey when I started Whole30, I do drink Kombucha, haven't tried La Croix but I really want to!! Good for you tho!!

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  13. I lost 50 lbs on WW back in the day and I have tried it again several times within the last few years, but would always go way over my points because I eat real food. I quit for good because it wasn't worth the frustration and feelings of failure because I kept going over. However, I am a diet soda addict. I quit drinking soda in general for a long time and now I have one a day then drink strictly water, sometimes infused with lemon, mint or lavender.

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  14. I didn't think I was addicted to Diet Coke. I have never been one for full fat Coke, even as a child. My sister would happily have proper Coke, Tango or whatever, but I like the taste of Diet Coke. Funnily enough, I had some last night for the first time in probably 6 weeks, and I had an actual physiological reaction to it - and then I wanted more.

    I've always been on the sparkling water wagon though.

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  15. I'm totally addicted to Diet Pepsi...specifically Diet Pepsi from the fountain machine. It's the best. I did a 10 week fitness boot camp type challenge and rarely drank any pop during that time. At first, I did get some headaches from the withdrawal. I don't really like warm drinks so coffee isn't a good replacement for me. I really want to try the La Croix, so you may have just convinced me. At my worst, I would drink 2-3 32oz. fountain pops in one day. Now, I only let myself have one can or one fountain pop. I really want to quit as I know the salt makes me bloated and it's just not good for me at all. I do drink about 160 oz of water a day so hopefully that counteracts it some...maybe? hopefully? You've encouraged me to cut back again, though. Thanks!

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  16. I used to be seriously addicted to Diet Mountain Dew - 5 or 6 cans in just a few hours - but stopped drinking it cold turkey when I lost my weight the first time. I got back on the pop wagon in college, but I finally gave it up for good as my New Year's resolution. I recently found La Croix though, and it really is so good! My current favorite is grapefruit, but I need to try all of the flavors!

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  17. I'm not even close to my goal weight, so maybe I shouldn't pipe up.. I will anyway :) I felt the same way about WW. I had success with them so many years ago, and then when we adopted for the final time, making it to meetings became hard to do (my son has never been the quietest or easy going, so I was always worried about disturbing others). I have gone on an 80% whole foods diet though, and for the most part we stick with it (it's probably more than 80% of our foods during the day, but occasionally there is some processed treat or sauce involved). I want to get down to the most basic of foods when I prepare them, but I don't feel guilty if not everything is.
    ....like the chocolate sauce I add to my coffee every morning :) That is my sweet treat usually for the day (unless my hormones are in full flare, then everything is out the window).

    As for soda, we loved soda at our house. We always had cases of Dr Pepper or Diet Pepsi. But I have always been aware that drinking soda ends up giving me headaches from the chemicals added. I still let my kids have a soda if they are with me at the store, but it isn't an everyday (or even every week) thing anymore. I have all but given it up and no longer crave it. Honestly I think when I was on a loose leaf tea kick (with no sweeteners or additions) it really helped me. I still have the caffeine, still have fun flavors, but the headaches and that yucky feeling I'd get in my stomach after drinking soda were gone. I really think that even diet soda works against our bodies when we are trying to eat healthier.

    I now use a brita pitcher and drink a lot of water each day, but I still have my one cup of coffee with chocolate and steamed milk in the morning (I think it's a 16oz cup with 2oz chocolate and a 1/4c of milk).

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