As of today, I have gone 30 days without soda.
Those who have been following my blog for a while know soda is an addiction I have been trying to kick for a while. I drink regular soda, because I can’t get over the aftertaste found in diet drinks. I’ve had friends send me links to articles about how terrible regular soda is for you, what it does to your body, but still, the addiction lived on.
The hardest part of quitting an addiction is getting past the hump of cravings. People tell me all the time that once I get past that, past the headaches and fatigue and cravings, things got a million times better.
I could never get past that hump. Cravings would hit and I would give in. Because that’s what I had learned: sometimes, you just have to give in to cravings. “Have it and get over it,” countless Weight Watchers leaders told me. I agree with this mentality, but I also agree with the thinking that depriving ourselves of having the craving helps us out way more in the long run. It gives us more power. It makes us feel more capable and in control.
I didn’t set out with any specific goals or parameters. I didn’t announce it anywhere until I was at least 6 days soda-free. I didn’t have a plan for how long I was going to go without soda. I just knew I had to cut it out of my life cold turkey.
My soda addiction has been the biggest thing holding me back in my weight loss journey. For one, it’s filled with calories and sugars and a whole slew of rotten things and for another, to completely cut out soda would mean a complete shift in my diet and thinking. When I have a bad day, I’m not one to reach for a wine glass or a beer bottle, I’m more apt to reach for a bottle of crisp, cold Coca-Cola to refresh me and calm me. It was soothing, something that never failed to lift my spirits and make me happy.
I spent all of 2012 taking steps to cut out soda. And while I can look at all those attempts at failures, I did drastically reduce my intake. By the end of the year, I was rarely buying it for the house and more often than not, I was drinking water at work. I could go a day or two without soda and didn’t experience any side effects, but cravings would hit and I would give in. I would allow myself to give in on the weekends or when I was at a party. On vacation. Soda was always my beverage of choice.
In the beginning of this journey, I substituted juice for soda. Water was still tasteless to me and I wanted something with a little sweeter kick. While these juice were made of natural sugars, they were still very sugary and I felt as if I was trading one bad addiction for another. As in, yes, I am not drinking soda anymore but I am still drinking lots of sugary beverages. But there has been a shift in the past week or so, where most days, I only drink water. And I drink a lot of water. My body is developing a taste for it and a need for it. It’s still water so it’s still tasteless and bland (even when I add a lemon to it!), but I’m finding it so much easier to drink now.
It’s been an interesting 30 days. Most days, it has been easy and I haven’t had any cravings. The cravings usually hit on the weekends but I learned early on that even though I crave it, I’m not wasting any willpower resisting it. I crave it, but I don’t want to have it. If that makes any sense.
So where do I go from here? What’s next? That’s a question I’ve been asking myself for weeks. A part of me is a little terrified to have a soda, because I don’t want to fall off the wagon. (And break my streak!) But then there’s that other part that really, really wants to taste soda again. I know I need to give myself a strict guideline, at least for now. I can tell that, though my addiction is gone, my want for it is not. It’s still a part of my life, albeit a tiny part. If I want to have a soda, I can have one. But only on Saturdays and only when it is in a glass. (So, basically, only if I’m out to eat on a Saturday at a restaurant.)
I’m crazy proud of myself. I have showed myself how capable I am of achieving something that’s been weighing me down (literally) for years. I have beaten my worst addiction. I have transformed a part of my life. And now it’s time for a new challenge.