Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Frenemy

It all started on Monday.  Monday was an awful day.  I was crabby and unfocused.  I didn't feel great and I was in a bad mood all around.  As my mood worsened I turned to my own standby soda to get my through, specifically diet soda, even more specifically diet coke.  I love diet coke.  A morning never fully started without a diet coke.

So my mood was bad and I was self-medicating with soda.  Around 3pm I started to feel really awful.  Headachy and just off.  I wondered if I was getting sick and headed to get a glass of water.  After I drank some and started to feel better I did some quick math.  It turns out I had over 60 oz of soda already that day and that was my first glass of water.  Um, that's not so good.

In fact it was really bad.  (not to mention expensive).

Then and there I decided that it was time to give up soda.  My ability to drink it in moderation seemed long gone and it just wasn't helping.  So on Tuesday I began my first official soda-free day.  It was hard.  I am am doing two things in conjunction with this new soda-free lifestyle.  1.  I am making sure NOT to give up caffeine right now so I don't withdraw on both the soda and the caffeine at once.  I've been allowing myself a iced cafe latte a day so far.  I'll also explore teas (and chocolate as needed). 2.  I am trying to avoid artifical sweeteners in general so I don't re-trigger my addiction.  That means that flavored waters and stuff are already out.  Tomorrow I'm going to explore some sparkling unflavored water with some juice to give me a little placebo soda, but all the real stuff - regular and diet is off limits.

I've only had two days of soda-free living but already I am noticing changes and I'm going to document them so that I can remind myself that this is a good thing in case things get harder before they get easier.

  • I am more focused.  I've been more productive at work the last two days than I have been in a while.  This is good because VBS is coming fast!
  • My mind seems clearer too.
  • I have more energy - even being sleepy from getting baby goat adjusted to his "big boy bed" crib.
  • I am more cheerful.
  • I've slept better
  • I am drinking a TON more water.  Like 80-100 oz more water.  
  • The more water I drink the better I start to feel.
  • I seem to be eating less.
  • I also am more in tune to when I am hungry and when I am not.
  • I think I'll save money in the long run, especially if I can find a caffeine source that's not Starbucks or Caribou.
Now this is not to say it is easy.  I've had a low grade headache for the last two days.  I am still craving it, particularly in the morning and at lunch, which is why I need to experiment with some sparkling water tomorrow.  And there is still soda around here - at work and at home, so I have to be vigilant on my own.  Towards the end of the day I also am feeling a bit short tempered.  This might also be a symptom of trying to get little goat to sleep in his bed without escaping.  I do not recommend bed transfers and giving up addictions in the same week but I didn't have much forethought for this.

So the diet coke, and other sodas are out.  Maybe someday I'll be able to have a soda in a drink without getting addicted, but I think diet coke and I need to be done for good.  It is just too addicting to me, but I'm washing my hands of it.  It's time.


Mary said...

Dear Liz, I've been following your blog for a while and really love it. How can you not love a blog where the little one is called "Baby Goat"? Especially when he's so adorable.

I wanted to encourage you on the no-soda, water-instead decision. Get some lemons and limes, squeeze a slice in the sparkling water (over ice is nice) and it's really great.

Most Americans are chronically dehydrated - your symptoms on Monday were exactly that. I think you will find your weight-loss efforts will be helped too. Sufficient water keeps the kidneys and liver functioning properly, which can make more difference than you'd think!

BTW I'm a Lutheran liturgist and cantor and have decided that I will always be working on losing weight, so my focus has shifted to being healthy. So far, that seems to work better. Good luck to you!

Anonymous said...

Keep in mind:

Caffeine in 12 oz diet coke: 47 mg

Caffeine in 1 medium latte: 100-200 depending on espresso strength and number of shots (1 shot is ~50 mg, and Starbucks is higher than Caribou). A large is 150-300. Honestly, at least in the time right after the latte you've probably had significantly more caffeine.

Of course, in terms of calories you're much better off drinking drip coffee with few additives. As I'm sure you know, lattes are nearly all milk. Also, any coffee drinking from a shop will be significantly more expensive than a soda habit. If you think aspartame is really affecting you, trying drip coffee with sucralose or stevia might work to bring you off of the soda addiction without dealing with the caffeine addiction.

Tea is good - oz for oz it's much more similar to diet coke for caffeine. Flavored teas, especially lemon, tend to require less sweetening from any source. It's also easier to make at work if a drip coffee maker is unavailable.

Good luck.

Valerie said...

Well, you know you have my support all the way. I gave up soda in high school, and I've never regretted it. Now, I'll have a soda every once in a while (like with a take-out pizza), but generally if I want something different than water I'll have a glass of milk. Anyway, here are some things that helped me out:

1) One cup of caffeinated tea in the morning, one cup caffeine-free at night. I always went for peach tea in the morning and chamomile at night. For some reason, it just made me feel good and added a little bit of flavor to my day. Oh, and I made sure I really enjoyed that tea (especially the morning one). Mom and I would sit and chat in the mornings, she with her coffee and me with my tea.

2) Set an end date. Of course, this doesn't mean you'll go back to drinking soda when that date comes up, but giving it an end makes everything seem more doable. I initially gave soda up over Lent. At the end of the 6 weeks when I had a Coke, I was absolutely disgusted. It was quite nasty. It didn't take much for me to give it up again.

3) If you absolutely MUST have a soda choose something completely different from your norm. Now a days, that's generally a Sierra Mist Natural. No caffeine, real sugar, darn good. I did fly through a box of those recently when I was suffering through allergies (the bubbles felt so good on a scratchy throat), but once the box was gone I was done.

4) If you do decide to give up caffeine as well, do it slowly. Someone already mentioned switching to drip coffee. I'll occasionally drink Folger's Sensitive Stomach, only now I only have a little bit of coffee and a lot of milk. Otherwise, mint tea is a God-send. Particularly Tazo mint good.

Good luck to you! Know we love you and we're with you all the way!

Misty said...

I find that when I try and get back on the no-soda wagon that substituting carbonated water does not help....also from a chemical aspect you are still getting some different chemicals just for the fact that they are required to make the carbonation

Kate said...

I'm so excited to read this, and am excitedly cheering you on in this. I know you can do it!!

I am kind of a coffee fiend and have really had to push myself to drink more water. I find that keeping a big water bottle with me is the easiest way to get the fluids in. Now I grab it and take it with me wherever I go; even if it's just out running errands. Having water to sip takes the edge off the urge to snack. Sometimes if I think I'm hungry but not so sure, I'll down a few glasses of water and it stops the urge. I love that.

I'm really proud of you for getting on the right track with giving up soda. Here's to your long term success!!!

Suzi said...

Go Liz. You know my struggles with Diet Coke and I am trying to quit too. I am happy to hear that your noticing signs of the Diet Coke Fog lifting! You've inspired me to give it another shot. And, for the record, 60 oz of Diet Coke is the norm for me. :(

Random Tangent said...

Go You! you can totally do this! a slightly sweet alternative for now might be the Vitamin Zero water. it has stevia (Truvia to be exact) instead of the chemical sweeteners. so it's sweet without the same taste as the diet sodas. i say go out and buy a really cute water bottle to carry around. You'll be less likely to forget it if you like the bottle and more likely to set it somewhere you can see it and therefore drink from it.

and if you are concerned about the caffeine in coffee drinks, you can always ask for them 'half caf' and then only ha;f the espresso will be caffeinated.

Jen, a priorfatgirl said...

Liz, I am so in love with this getting off diet coke move you have made. It took a good six months of removing it until I actually started to crave water. SIX MONTHS is a long time to do anything. You are two days into it and already seeing progress - please truly allow your body to get "there" before breaking down and going "back." This is a journey and you have taken one step towards your future. WAY TO GO!!

Corryn said...

You know my thoughts on this... FANTASTIC! :D

Pop was intended to be a treat, not a main means of hydration as society has made it into.

I second the cute water little idea. I have several different Sigg bottles in different sizes and patterns and it makes it fun!

So happy the positive effects of the change are kicking in SO quickly. Hopefully they will make it easier to stick with. Go Liz! :o)

sabrinaisonthemove said...

Giving up soda was easy for me. I drank a lot of Green Tea and water. I still drink coffee, on a regular basis. The biggest struggle for me is remembering to replace soda with WATER and not just some other drink. Jen is right, it's a long process, but you'll be glad you stuck with it.

JennyF said...

So glad you're doing this, Liz. I've read a lot about the effect sugar (and sugar substitutes) have on your brain power. The perception that your thinking is clearer is not psychosematic -- it is real!

My DH and I swore off soda about 10 years ago. I only have it on occasion, maybe once or twice a month. Makes a big difference in your health and your pocketbook, because yes, that stuff is expensive!

Keep it up!

Momma Hunt said...

So happy for you...I am going to try and do this this summer but with my coffee. I am going to cut back to one cup in the am and that is it and water the rest of the day> Good luck and I will be chearing you on here and on twitter

Laura said...

hi-I just gave up soda too. I drank it daily, so it was such a normal part of my life. I've always consumed lots of water so it doesn't feel like I'm replacing it now, just removing it. I'm glad, but like you, I still feel like I crave it from time to time. So, I wish us both luck!!

Meredith said...

Fully supportive of your switch away from diet coke and soda in general! I was an addict myself, I still don't *love* water, but I do crave it and I don't crave took awhile though! I'm trying to stay away from extra additives and things I can't pronounce as part of my new lifstyle.

Marketing Mama said...

I am so impressed. I drink way too much diet you know. And lattes, too (at least they are skim).

Since changing jobs recently I've cut back dramatically because I no longer have a fridge in my office... and who wants to drink warm diet coke? I'm watching you for inspiration. You have my full support! :)


Melissa said...

I wanted to tell you I am so proud of you, this is such a huge step!

What did tot replace soda is get Seltzer water and add a strong (100%) juice, like pomegrante, something with a strong's just like soda. I do a 1 part juice 3 parts seltzer and float some lime in it.

You can do this, and it will make you feel so much better!

Colleen said...

Liz, Go on with your bad self! Soda is pretty darn evil, and I'm so glad that you're moving away from it. My favorite thing to do to water (and it's especially refreshing in the summer) is to add cucumber to it. I pretty much cut soda out in college, and have an occasional brief trip up, but have just found that I don't like the way I feel when it's a part of my life. You'll get there, in no time!