I have mentioned a couple of times here and there that I have been very dependent on soda for a really long time. I love Coke and Mountain Dew. Those are my two favorites. Ever since high school, they have been not only a source of caffeine, but also just something that I enjoy. The addiction grew even larger in college, and even after college I found myself beginning most mornings with a large Coke. On average, my soda consumption averaged at least two cans a day, which could be worse, but is definitely still not good.
Soda is terrible for you. That is a fact that we are all more than familiar with, yet the knowledge doesn't make it any easier for most soda addicts to quit. It's full of sugar and unnecessary calories, yet that is so easily forgotten as you pop open a can to enjoy. I personally have attempted to quit the craving numerous times, and it just never really worked. That is...it never worked until recently.
Right now, as of today, I am officially 37 days into the journey of "quitting soda."
That's right, you read correctly...37 days! I know the number isn't huge, but it certainly seems large to someone who craves the fizz of a soft drink. I honestly don't even know how I have made it this far. I decided to make the change completely on a whim, and that whim has led to well over a month of not letting soda cravings control my days.
I am so excited about my progress that I thought I would write a little "guide" to provide some helpful tips to nix the habit. I am in no way a professional in terms of health or lifestyle. However, I am an average woman who has addictions just like anyone else. I have found things that really work for me, and I know exactly what it feels like to wean yourself off of something that your body depends on. Therefore, I am hoping that my experience my help someone out there somewhere!
So, you want to quit soda? Sounds easy enough, right? I'm sure that you have thought many times, "It's not an issue. I can stop drinking it whenever I want...no problem." I'm also sure you know in the back of your mind that that is completely wrong. When you're addicted to something, quitting is not a simple option. It takes dedication, and a whole lot of will power.
Once you have come to terms with the idea, and have accepted the fact that soda is indeed a negative problem in your life, you are going to try to make a lot of excuses and justifications. You will tell yourself things like:
I know that it is full of sugar, but I would rather drink my calories than eat them.
A couple of cans of soda a day is not that bad...it's not like I'm addicted to drugs or something.
I have to drink soda or else my headaches become way out of control.
These all seem like perfectly relevant ideas, but here is the truth...all of these thoughts are sure signs that you are entirely too dependent on a beverage. It is certainly true that everything is okay in moderation. Drinking a soda once a week or a couple of times a month...that's probably pretty okay. But drinking multiple sodas every day? That is adding up to a pretty big negative impact on your overall future health.
When I accepted the fact that I was really going to try to quit, I realized a couple of other things that suddenly seemed pretty profound.
1. I spend an insane amount of my hard earned money on soda. Whether it's at a drive through, a sit down restaurant, or even on a 12-pack to bring home...I am throwing a lot of money down the drain and I have absolutely nothing to show for it...except maybe a pesky cavity that results from all of the sugar. I could save so much money just by cutting out the purchasing of soft drinks.
2. The calories not only heighten the chance of potential weight gain, but the carbonation leaves me feeling bloated and uncomfortable. I was suddenly intrigued by the idea of how much better I could feel if I wasn't constantly pouring sugar down my throat.
3. Soda consumption leads to the replacement of drinking water, and our bodies need water! I knew that I didn't drink nearly enough, and there was no way that my body was ever really properly hydrated. I suddenly wanted to know that it would feel like to really drink the necessary amount of water. How would my body be affected overall?
These three realizations fueled the fire for the idea of quitting soda. At the beginning of my journey, these thoughts actually made me excited to give it a go, and that had never happened for me before!
So...here is my first tip to quitting soda:
Sit down, and really think about WHY you need to quit. Make a list (mental or on paper) of all of the changes you are hopeful for, and all of the things you are curious about.
These ideas will become your inspiration, and really keep you motivated as you step into that first day of no soda.
Are you a soda addict? Are you in the middle of quitting? If so, share your motivations for quitting or wanting to quit in the comments. Make sure to check in next Monday for part two...where we will talk about the things that you absolutely need to know during the quitting process.