Cold turkey

I talk about my vices in life frequently here on the blog. My need to pile things for one. My magazine hoarding problem. And my desire to change from a night owl to a morning person…which has taken a while but I’m successfully getting there. But that’s a whole other post. :)

And I’ve mentioned my deep, intense love of soda before too. I’ve learned over the past few years that it’s more than love…it had become an almost like an addiction. I don’t say that jokingly either. I was obsessed with the stuff.

Here in Indiana when you want a soda it’s all called Coke (and people know what you mean), but I had a special twist. I luuhuhuuved fountain Coke:

glorious fountain coke

Just look at it. In all it’s tall, dark, bubbly handsomeness.

But I can’t stand Coke out of the can – I mean it seriously makes me gag. OK, gag is a strong word, but let’s just say I don’t like it. (Now diet soda makes me gag. For real.)

I have been a canned Pepsi girl my whole life:

pepsi in the can

So you got that? Fountain Coke, canned Pepsi. No fountain Pepsi, never canned Coke. (And dear Lord, no diet, evah.) Makes no sense, I realize this. But people, they taste totally different!

As long as I can remember I have been a soda drinker. I think I started back in high school (when my lunches consisted of a cold Pepsi and a bag o’ chips) and it hasn’t gotten any better since.

The need for the fountain drink has gotten worse over the years – way worse. Most mornings I would NEED to hop in the car and go grab one to start my day. And of course, I would grab some food to go with it, because I was going through a fast food line – more on that in another post too. ;)

So anyway, it was something I had to have – I’ve realized now the correlation between being in the car and the need for a fountain cup. My friend Traci is addicted to it like me -- this was a pretty funny texting exchange we had on our way to IKEA last fall:


Our love of what we call “the burn” (the bubbles – glorious bubbles) is what bonds us. And other things like we actually like each other and stuff, but the fountain Coke love is a BIG one. ;)

Thing is, I have known my whole adult life that it’s not good for me. The older I got, the more I realized it. I’ve kicked tried kicking the habit before -- I think the longest I went without soda was about a month? And then I would slowly ease back into it again…every time.

I always expected to lose a ton of weight when I stopped drinking it and I think when I didn’t each time it was a mental thing with me – why stop when it’s not doing any good? Well, not having the stuff in me WAS doing me good, of course, but I just couldn’t see it immediately.

So I would try to quit, go back to it. Think about it for a year, quit again, go back. Plan to quit for a few months, get up the urge, quit again. Vicious circle.

I couldn’t get past that 30 day mark – and have you heard it takes around 30 days to break a habit?

Well, I don’t know what the change was this time, but in mid-January I decided to do it again. This time it was spurred on by something a little different. I decided to do a “cleanse” – a friend told me about it and suggested it may be worthwhile. But soda of any form was not allowed.

Now I have to say I’m not a diet girl, a fad girl, and not by any stretch did I ever think I was a cleanse girl. But this one was different – I ate normally, nothing crazy like only tomatoes one day and cucumbers the next or something like that. It was just normal food, but no soda and nothing fried. Just good, basic stuff – which did not include the bubbly goodness. :)

So I started it and stopped drinking soda cold turkey on the first day. Honestly, it was more out of fear than anything. I tried eating a couple fries one day and realized what happened when I cheated, so I wasn’t about to drink a soda. ;) The cleanse ended a week or so later and I decided to just keep on going.

I’m lucky because I never have any withdrawal symptoms – no headaches, shakes, nothing like that. I think my body was so used to caffeine it was immune to it in a way? I mean, I could drink a Pepsi five minutes before bed and go to sleep no problem. I just think the caffeine had lost it’s effect on me over the years. 

Because I feel like I’m addicted to soda – not just the taste or the bubbles, but the act of drinking it (through a straw), the pop of the can, the reaching for the fountain drink every. single. time. I was in the car – I have allowed myself to still order one every so often, just to fulfill that need. And it’s helped tremendously. The first few weeks I did it a LOT. But I would take a sip and wouldn’t you know…it tasted horrible. Just awful.

And you know what? It kind of made me mad. I wanted it to taste good, and it didn’t. Messed up, I know. But I would order one, take a sip, and it would taste horrible. But I swear to you, the act of just getting it made such a HUGE difference this time. I was like I was allowing myself to go through the motions, just not the actual consumption.

So…it’s been 66 days now, and I haven’t had a can of Pepsi or a fountain drink. The first few weeks were hard. I’m not kidding you – I thought about it all the time. And still, all this time later, writing about it and putting those pictures up – it still kind of drives me crazy and I crave it. I still have that desire to sip through that straw and feel the burn. The problem is now, it really burns. Like, in a bad way. ;)

Over the past month it has become easier for me to get in the car and not think about driving through somewhere to get one. I STILL have order one occasionally just to sip it and realize it doesn’t taste good. I think I may have to do that for a very long time. It’s what has gotten me through though.

I’m not a coffee or tea drinker (I so wish I liked tea!) so I’m pretty much water all the time now. I drink orange juice occasionally and I’ll have a little chocolate milk every day, but otherwise it’s all water.

And would you believe it, I’ve survived? ;) I didn’t think it was possible for me to do it, I really didn’t. I still don’t feel like I’m over the hump just yet, but I think about it less and less every day.

(I don’t mean to make light of people with real addictions by the way. I don’t think this is close to something as serious as that. But I know many feel like they’re addicted to all kinds of things in life and soda was mine.)

I am determined that this time my habit will be broken. I doubt I’ll ever go back to drinking it. Overall I have lost weight – but I’m not sure how much of it was the lack of all that sugar or other changes I’ve made. I have no doubt it’s helped, but it was not immediate – I didn’t notice a change in my weight till much later.

Do I feel any different? Better? Not really. I have always felt pretty healthy and had good energy. Again, the caffeine didn’t seem to have much of an effect on me, so my energy is still good.

But I do feel better knowing I’m not drinking it anymore, for all the reasons you hear about. I’m not going to preach anything here, but I know it’s not good for me and I’m so glad it’s not in my body now.

So there you go – I’ve become a morning person (pretty much) and I’ve finally kicked my 20 year soda habit. It’s all exhausting – I think I’ll take a break from changing my habits for awhile. :) Are you a soda lover (or pop? Coke? What do you call it?), do you feel like you’re addicted to it too? Or can you just have one and not need another? Have you kicked the habit like me? What worked for you and what made you decide to do it?