On the first of May I will have gone eight months without drinking Coke (or any other soda), and for a girl who had been drinking at least 32 ounces a day, that’s pretty impressive, if I do say so myself. How did I do it? Let me tell you…
I grew up drinking soda, like most Americans, and didn’t think much about it, until I realized that each 12-ounce can of Coke has 140 calories of nothing good for me. Empty calories and a lot of sugar that doesn’t benefit me in any way. In my twenties, I started drinking diet soda, but when I went in for my first prenatal appointment at twenty-four, I was told that diet drinks showed evidence of harming the unborn baby, so I gave those up for good. If they weren’t good for my unborn baby, they weren’t good for me. I never picked the “diet” habit back up, as I couldn’t tolerate the taste after not drinking them for so long.
However, the doctor didn’t tell me to not drink regular soda after my son was born, so I picked them up a can and didn’t stop until I got pregnant with my now 12-year-old son. One of the first things my doctor told me was to stop consuming so much caffeine and soda, so I went almost the whole 9-month pregnancy without consuming any, but I sure craved soda constantly! As soon as he was born, I started drinking cokes again and I couldn’t figure out why I wasn’t losing weight! Duh moment…I was consuming at least 300 empty calories a day and was sitting in a rocking chair for many hours a day taking care of a newborn! The problem continued for years, but I started hearing and reading more and more about the harmful effects of drinking soda and wondered what I was doing to myself.
I went to the doctor in 2009 was told that if I didn’t start getting a handle on my weight and sugar consumption (i.e., Coke consumption), I would probably not live long enough to see my son graduate high school! Just thinking about that scared the crap out of me. I went cold turkey and didn’t have a Coke again for 7 weeks! I started losing weight, too! Imagine that…when I didn’t pour 300+ calories of sugar into my body every day, I started seeing results in my weight loss! I was encouraged because I was actually losing weight, which kept me strong when the cravings started wearing me down. Unfortunately, I had a moment of weakness, broke down, and had a Coke on a road trip. And I didn’t stop drinking them…just an occasional one to begin with, then I would only have one when we went out to eat, then it was back up to every day again! And just like that my weight started going up again, too.
Over the years, I have gone cold turkey and stopped drinking soda for a while, but then stress/life/desire would take over and I would start back again. I came to realize that it was truly an addiction. The chemical reaction that my body has with soda is just like an alcoholic or a drug abuser, I can’t have just one! I’ve tried multiple times in my years to “just have one” and before I know it, my ugly habit is back.
Fast forward to 2015 – I followed the Whole30 plan and had great success. I started feeling better and was once again not drinking soda (even though the cravings were still sticking around). Once my Whole30 was complete, I stayed away from the sodas for a little while, but eventually started drinking them again… ending up back to at least 32 ounces a day. One day over the summer Christy posted this infographic on our Facebook page and something just clicked in me…I needed to stop drinking soda and if that meant I could never have another one, so be it! I decided to give myself a bit of time to mentally prepare for this journey and set a start date of September 1.
Could I go cold turkey again? Would I never have another Coke again? Would I never be able to just sip a soda and enjoy it? Would I really be able to “just say no”? Would I be able to break this addiction? Would I be able to maintain this long-term?
Turns out… Yes, I can go cold turkey again. I had my last coke on August 31st, 2015. Some days are harder than others to not order a soda with a meal, but I don’t feel that I have not had one long enough to “just have one”. Will that day ever happen? I don’t know yet, but I know that I still miss them sometimes, so that means I shouldn’t have it. I drink unsweetened tea or flavored water when I want something other than plain water. When I need caffeine, I drink caffeinated tea. When I start thinking about how much I want a coke, I remember how much better my health is without the soda! Cold turkey seems to be the best way to break the habit for me, but everyone is different! Do what works for you! You can do it!