Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Tips for eliminating Soda

When I was at my highest weight, 315 to 330 pounds, I was drinking a lot of soda.  When I say a lot, I really do mean a lot! I could easily go a day...a week and even a month with drinking nothing but soda. I know, not healthy at all! Just as an example, at one point when I was working at a job and I would get a bottle of Pepsi when I arrived, I would get one on my first break, my lunch break, and also my last break. That is four bottles of soda in an eight hour work shift.  That doesn’t even include what I drank at home!!  When I first started losing weight way back before I even wrote my first post on this blog, I gave up regular soda. It was amazing how quickly I dropped weight with that one minor change. That truly was the easiest pounds I’ve ever lost.

When I was in my early 20s, I decided that I needed to buy a new car (new car to me that is). I did not want to have a car loan. Therefore, I decided that I would save for a year or two and pay cash for a car. My method involved working two jobs(Substitute teaching during the day and waitressing every evening and weekend.) And I cut back on expenditures. One of the things that I looked at was how much money I was spending on Soda...a lot!  That quickly came up on the chopping block as an expense saving measure. At that point even though I was overweight, cutting out the soda had nothing to do with weight… It was all money.   Somewhere along the way though, I figured out that soda was just not the healthiest option.  One of my very early posts was a comparison between water and coke.  So I eventually figured out that for my health it was an important switch (and hey...the money savings is still awesome!)

I have toyed around with different aspects of eliminating soda in my life.   Many times it has crept back into my life eventually.   At one point I went from a heavy soda drinking lifestyle down to straight water as my only drink. At one point I went from regular soda to diet soda. I’ve also dropped from diet soda down to water.  Each time  I’ve tried different tricks and methods to make the process smoother and ultimately easier. I figured it was time to share some of those tricks and methods that I have utilized. Like always, take what you want, use whatever ideas and tips work for you, and remember that what works for one person doesn’t work for everyone.

  1. Retrain the taste buds slowly.  One of the earliest problems I encountered was the taste.  Water was totally unappetizing to me.  I had no interest in water.  In fact I readily said I hated water!  With water being so un-appetizing, I went out and bought Kool-Aid packets. I bought the kind where you add your own sugar. The first 2 L containers that I made and subsequently drank were made with full sugar added. Sure, I missed the carbonation, but with the flavor and sugar  it wasn’t so bad. Slowly, over the following weeks I started to reduce the amount of sugar in my Kool-Aid. Eventually, I was only drinking water with a  Kool-Aid packet added and no sugar added. At that point it was a very easy jump to go from flavored Kool-Aid with no sugar to just straight up water. It took a while to eliminate sugar in a way that was easy and painless. But it worked really well and never again after that did I say that water was unappetizing.
  2.  Caffeine headaches. If you are drinking a lot of soda, you’re most likely going to suffer some kind of caffeine withdrawal. For me it wasn’t so much the lack of energy that some people drink their caffeine for. My withdrawal has always been headaches. I have battled this one almost every time I slip back into drinking soda and then go back to more water-based in my drinking diet. For me the headache kicks in  about 36 hours after I drink my last caffeinated drink. It lasts for about 2 to 5 days. There are a couple ways you can deal with this headache. The first is to just Suck it up and just deal with the headache for a couple days.  If that doesn’t work, arm yourself with Advil or Tylenol. You can lesson the headaches by Tapering your caffeine consumption so that you get used to the lower levels.  Next, you can definitely Utilize other sources of caffeine… Coffee or tea name two of the most common ones.  In terms of The lack of energy without caffeine, get lots of sleep, eat healthy nutritious foods and know that the lack of energy will pass.
  3.  I touched on this point in the section where I wrote about how to combat caffeine headaches/withdrawal. Drink other substituted drinks. Tea is a very good choice… Unsweetened tea that is (if your doing this to cut sugar).  This one, was never a good option for me because I don’t like tea or coffee.  For me the other choices were just as bad as the soda.
  4. At one point, the caffeine had crept back into my life and I decided that I would be OK with drinking diet soda.  I was only looking at calories and not overall health at that point. Going from regular soda to diet soda was huge for me. Diet soda, to me at least, tasted really nasty. At that point though, I didn’t feel as if I had the willpower to drop Caffeine/soda completely. I had to retrain myself and my taste buds. First of all, I vowed that I would only drink diet. I quickly figured out that making the switch while I was eating was the easiest. When I drank the first couple glasses, I remember actually saying oh my word this is nasty and making crazy faces of pure disgust. But when I drank it with my food I wasn’t as focused on the flavor of the drink as much as I was the flavor of the food. So, slowly my taste buds changed. It didn’t take very long at all, maybe a week but the taste of the diet soda became the common norm for me. This also worked once when I was going from soda down to nothing.
  5. There have been two different times  in my life where I have made the change from soda to not soda (or from regular soda to diet soda) while on vacation. I think this works really well because you’re already out of your norm. You’re not fighting the habits that are set in your life. I decided to drop diet soda once and for all as an every day drink a few years back during a vacation. I went prepared with Advil, and a full case of water in the car. I looked at it as a challenge. I allowed myself lemonade and other such drinks that I may normally eschew due to the sugar content… And it made me feel absolutely decadent and the decadence made me not miss the diet soda at all.
  1. I have very limited success with ‘just cutting back’.  However it is an option out there.  Many times I have set the rule of ‘finish my water first’ and then I can have the soda.   This in theory is great.  But it opens the door for lots of slip ups.  For me, this is exactly what happens!

Where does this leave me right now?   I am mostly soda free.   I may grab one during the weekend.  Occasionally if I’m having a day where I feel as if I’m dragging I will grab a soda.  But for the most part I am straight up water...or at the very least, water with flavoring.

It really all boils down to making the decision to drop the soda habit and either tapering, substituting or going cold turkey.   I have done all of them.   I have gone months and years without any soda.  It really is a personal choice on how each person approaches this.  

  1.  I have very limited success with ‘just cutting back’.  However it is an option out there.  Many times I have set the rule of ‘finish my water first’ and then I can have the soda.   This in theory is great.  But it opens the door for lots of slip ups.  For me, this is exactly what happens!

Really it all boils down to making the decision to drop the soda habit and either tapering, substituting or going cold turkey.   I have done all of them.   I have gone months and years without any soda.  It really is a personal choice on how each person approaches this.  

My current love/hate state I. Regards to soda is pretty healthy....I think.  Typically I drink only water.  On the weekends I usually splurge and drink a diet soda.  On a really rare occasion if I’m just really struggling at work with a day that just feels heavy, slow and tiring; I will go down to the cafeteria and pick up a diet soda.   I’m not addicted.  I’m not reliant.  I’m in a healthy place in regards to it!


mxtodis123 said...

Fortunately for me I have always loved water and although I needed to have my can or bottle of soda daily, I was still drinking water. I'd stop in the store on the way to work and buy an iced coffee, a soda, and a water. I commend you for your successes. I only had one soda daily...and HAD to have it or I felt anxious, and I know how hard it was on me to stop the habit, so I know it wasn't easy for you.

jen said...

I bargain with myself....if I drink 1.5 litres of water I am allowed to have a diet cola/pepsi....I usually end up getting my water quota in for the day then ...

jesseybell said...

I was never a soda person growing up - we were allowed to have Coke when we had pizza, but caffeine at dinner is not good for me -I am then up for hours and hours.

My first stint with soda (and we are talking normal Coke, in a can - not in a bottle, and DEFINITELY not fountain soda, and not Diet) was when I was 30 and was getting up at 5:15 and had a 90 minute commute each way. My breakfast was coke and a muffin (store bought = tons of calories). I tried caffeine free, diet, lots, nothing was as good. Definitey gained weight - partially due to lack of sleep. I made myself stop the Coke and was just tired, which eventually led to breaking up with the boyfriend.

Next stint was after I had my first kid. For a while i was getting the 10 oz small cans to put in my lunch because I found myself buying my lunch a lot more just to get the Coke (I charged my lunch so I didn't want to just charge the $1.00 can of Coke). Again, after i gave it up, I lost weight pretty quickly.

Now I just need to lose weight with very little soda in my life :)

For the most part I drink nothing but water - I really try to adhere to not drinking my calories - Alcohol doesn't do anything good for me and everything else is just so much sugar. But I like water, so I don't have a problem with it. But getting in 100 oz is not always easy.

Lynn said...

Good for you! I always think it's amazing when people (mostly guys) quit drinking beer and lose weight just from that. Luckily, I don't like soda at all. Neither does my sister, which is funny, because our parents do, although they usually just share one if they have it.

Mary Sue said...

Diet Pepsi is my downfall. I justify it by telling myself I need the caffeine since I don't drink coffee. But I know I need to quit.

TheAgonyOfBeingFat said...

Do you drink coffee?

I love Diet Coke! But I've gotten to the point where only water seriously quenches my thirst.

MaryFran said...

It was a hard habit to break...I never want to go back to that ‘NEED’.

MaryFran said...

My weekend splurge is a bargain...only if I am done my water consumption for the day.

MaryFran said...

Isn’t it crazy how quickly soda comes into our life...innocently like your long commute!!

MaryFran said...

It is nuts about the calories in beer and soda...people don’t think about it!!

MaryFran said...

I don’t do coffee or I used that same line for many years!!!

MaryFran said...

Definitely no coffee!!!

Sarah said...

My problem is that I don't drink a lot of anything. Even when I was drinking soda everyday it was only a 32 oz fountain drink. I traded it for the crystal light lemonade but still was only getting 32 oz a day. Now it's mostly water maybe a little ice tea once in awhile, but I struggle with getting the ounces in.

32 seems to be my body's limit for the day no matter what the liquid is.

*My Stalker Is Fat* said...

I have had many days where the only thing I drink is soda. This week, I am working on cutting way back. So many empty calories, and it gets expensive too! I bought a Mr. Coffee to brew homemade unsweet tea, and my stepson bought me a Yeti cup that keeps it cold to take it to work, so no excuses!