I had a soda addiction. Oh that wonderful feeling of opening a bottle or a can of Coca Cola or Pepsi. The hissing sound, aah. There’s something so soothing about opening that can of soda first thing in the morning. It seems to give energy and boost for the entire day.
I have to say that I sometimes miss drinking soda. But then I still occasionally drink it, the keyword being occasionally. I guess I sometimes miss drinking it on a daily basis. But I’m glad I no longer need it daily.
In this article we’ll go through reasons why you should consider seriously cutting back on soda and how to do it.
How it all began
I was very addicted to soda, especially Diet Coke and Pepsi Max.
I got addicted to cola drinks in my teens, I guess I was around 15 years old. I drank Diet Coke every single day, about 2 liters a day. I was very insecure at the time: I was far from overweight but considered myself fat so I was always on different diets and Diet Coke was pretty much the only nice thing I allowed for myself.
This went on for many many years. I remember meeting my boyfriend in 2000 when I was 20 years old. He wasn’t really into diet coke in the beginning. Slowly but surely he got pretty addicted to it too :/
It wasn’t really until a few years back that I finally decided to cut back on it. I had started to have problems with it. I had these symptoms from drinking diet soda that I had been ignoring for a while:
- Problems with breathing (like something was weighing on my chest)
- Cough – probably related to problems with breathing (Have a cough? Check out how to cure it)
- Tummy ache and bloating
I had already cut back on it so that I usually only had 0,5 liters of Pepsi Max a day when I was diagnosed with cancer a year ago. This pretty much sealed my decision to stop drinking it.
I’m not saying that soda caused the cancer, all I’m saying is that when you have a weakened immune system it is much harder for your body to fight cancer cells. And because of the symptoms I mention above I do think I had a weaker immune system.
So those were my reasons to stop drinking soda.
Why you should consider cutting back on soda
If you think you drink too much soda and find it difficult to cut back even though you want to, then you probably have a soda addiction. If you drink diet coke, you’ll have to battle the caffeine addiction, if coke with sugar you’ll have both caffeine and sugar addiction to deal with.
Here are some reasons why it might be a good idea to stop drinking soda:
#1 It isn’t good for you
There might be different opinions about whether it’s bad for you or not, but i think everyone can agree that the chemicals in sodas do not have any health benefits.
#2You might get health related symptoms
If you have any health related symptoms from drinking soda then cut back or stop drinking it. It just isn’t worth it and if those symptoms turn into something serious you’ll be wondering What if…
Also, drinking soda is really bad for your teeth (causing tooth decay) and bones. Sugar in sodas can also lead to diabetes.
#3 Save money
Drinking that much soda costs something too. We’re not talking about huge sums but save that money and you’ll get a nice holiday abroad once a year!
#4 It will make losing weight difficult
If you are trying to lose weight and drink soda that has sugar it has way too many calories:
Half a litre bottle of Coca Cola contains 210 kcal. If you drink just one bottle a day that means that you’ll get 76 650 calories a year from just that one drink a day. As one pound of fat equals to around 3500 calories you’ll gain 22 pounds of fat in your body a year from just that one small bottle!
If you are trying to lose weight and drink diet soda, then there are many recent studies that suggest diet drinks actually increase your appetite.
Now you might think something along these lines:
”I’m on a really restrictive diet, counting the calories and eating as healthy as I can. Occasionally I need a treat – something that is good and allowed. A diet coke has zero calories. It’s a perfect option for me.”
Trust me, I know. I have been there, I know what you’re talking about. And I’m not trying to convince you that you should eliminate diet soda from your life, I’m just saying that if you have any apprehension about whether it’s good for you then the answer is that it probably isn’t. Are you willing to give it up? That’s up to you.
How to beat soda addiction
You have two options:
- Quit slowly
- Quit cold turkey
If you choose to quit slowly then you can do it by having smaller and smaller portions everyday or by deciding that starting tomorrow you can have just one can of soda a day.
This option is good if you have a lot of willpower and do not want to stop drinking soda completely, you just want to cut back.
Quitting cold turkey
This is my preferred option, but then I’m pretty all-or-nothing-sort-of person anyway.
In my opinion this actually requires less willpower than the first option, you just need good planning and some determination. Here’s how you do it:
- Remind yourself why you’re doing this. Go back to those thoughts when it gets difficult to stay away from soda.
- Prepare yourself for head aches and tiredness in the first couple of weeks: Have painkillers with you at work, take naps if you need to and make sure you get enough sleep at night.
- Make plans on what you are going to drink instead of soda. You will need a replacement. Keep a bottle of water with you at all times.
What to drink instead of soda?
Here are some options:
- Still water
- Sparkling (carbonated) water
- Coffee (for the caffeine pick-me-up)
- Unsweetened green tea
- Fruit juices (not a great option, lots of sugar)
And here’s how you can make still water more interesting:
- Fill a pitcher with water
- Add frozen berries, fruit or herbs like mint to it
- Keep it in the refrigerator and enjoy!
If it’s the carbonation that you miss, try sparkling water. I have a Soda Stream (affiliate link*) and it’s brilliant! Soda Stream carbonates your water and the best thing is that you can choose how carbonated your water is. Just drink it as it is or add some lemon or a little bit of fruit juice to it.
Make it a project
I’m currently doing Whole30 (I’m doing quite well, have a look) and I like the fact that I have a 30 day time limit. I keep thinking ”it’s just 30 days, I can do this”. Of course, I have long term goals with this program, but I’ll concentrate on that once I’m done with the month. Right now, I’m focusing on these 30 days.
I think you could use this same method with soda addiction. Make it your Water30 or Cokeless14 and put all your focus on just those 14 or 30 days. That will give you enough time to kick the habit – when you’re done with those first critical weeks then you can make plans for later.
Do you think you are drinking too much soda? Share your story – how did you manage to beat soda addiction?
*This blog entry contains affiliate links to Amazon. So if you click on the link and then buy something on Amazon, I will get a small percentage of what you pay. The price of products are naturally the same to you, I’ll just get this small fee.