I used to have a pretty hard core addiction.
One as soon as I got up. Then, another an hour or two later. Sometimes I’d try to wait awhile before having another one, but usually by three p.m. I’d have more. And then around dinner time. Depending on my night, I’d have some more in the evening. If I had to stay up late, sometimes I’d have a few more after that.
All through my 20s I was a Diet Coke addict. Sometimes, I’d stray and have a Diet Dr. Pepper, but usually returned to my first love. It started towards the end of high school. I was doing the typical four college girl food groups: Diet Coke, salad, M & M’s and Marlboro Lights. I knew smoking was bad (and I quit that before the soda) but seemed to always find ways to justify the diet soda.
“At least it’s not full of sugar”
(Actually, that might have been preferable to all the crap in the Diet Coke.)
“It’s less caffeine than coffee”
(And more carcinogens…whee!)
“Look, it’s got water in it! It can’t be all bad.”
Denial. Denial. Denial.
You’d have to live under a rock these days not to know that soda is hazardous to your health, but in case you are still telling yourself that “diet soda isn’t as bad” or “it’s an acceptable vice” here are a few things you should know:
If you are still drinking diet soda and just don’t think you can kick it, 10 things that will help:
1. Start your day with water. When you start your day with something caffeinated and full of chemicals, you are starting off at a water deficit. The diuretic effect of the diet soda is kicking off your day by drying you out.
2. Substitute one diet soda a day (or whenever you normally have it) with flavored sparkling water or water with a little lemon or lime.
3. Try kombucha. Kombucha has the fizziness that many soda lovers crave, but instead of all the crap you get a huge boost of probiotics.
4. Take a 20 minute nap. If you normally rely on diet soda to recharge in the afternoon, consider taking a short nap and letting your adrenals recharge instead of continuing to tax them with extra caffeine and chemicals.
5. Find a favorite tea. Any herbal or regular tea that you like iced is a great substitute for diet soda. Tazo Passion is one of my favorites, it’s sweet enough on its own and is great hot or cold. If you still want that fizziness, make it with less water and add some seltzer or sparkling water.
6. Buy yourself a great water bottle. If you have a water bottle that is aesthetically and ergonomically pleasing, you are more likely to use it.
7. Every time you would have stopped to buy a Diet Coke, stick that money aside. Buy yourself something fun at the end of the week—like a big bouquet of flowers at the farmers’ market!
8. Ask yourself what you actually want. Often times when we reach for food or drink, we are trying to moderate our current sensations and emotions instead of addressing real needs. Are you thirsty? Are you hungry? Are you tired? Are you bored? None of those things will be positively impacted by drinking diet soda.
9. Have an apple. The malic acid in an apple stimulates your metabolism and increases energy production. It’s reported to have other health benefits such as boosting the immune system, helping rid the body of toxic metals and promoting smoother, healthier skin. Even if all it does is taste good, perk you up a bit and add a bit of fiber to your day, a mid-afternoon apple is a much better choice than a diet soda.
10. After a week of no soda, take a look at your skin. If all of the health risks haven’t scared you off, maybe vanity will do the trick! One of the first things I noticed when I stopped drinking diet soda was that my skin looked healthier, rosier and had fewer fine lines. Take out the garbage and add in extra water and your whole body will thank you.