Although I didn't drink much soda while I was pregnant, the first thing I asked for after delivery was a Coke and I didn't stop drinking it for the next eight months. I started to rely on caffeine to get me through the days as a stay at home mom, and as much as I hated to admit it, I had a problem. I love those dang bubbles! Because I try to keep my life free of addictions, it just came to a point where I knew I needed to kick this one. Let me tell you, it wasn't easy. It took a lot of headaches, afternoon naps, and flavored water, but in the past six weeks I have only had soda (or pop, as us Southern Utahns call it) TWICE. I am ridiculously proud of myself! It was hard, and I know that about 95% of America has the same problem I did, so I am here to share the top 3 things that helped me kick that nasty soda habit.
DRINK WATER: This might kind of sound like a no-brainer, but this was huge for me. When I decided to quit soda, I also made a goal to drink 100 ounces of water a day. Whenever I would feel a soda craving coming on, I would fill my big yellow Dickey's cup up with ice water and tell myself that if I was still thirsty after I finished it, I could have a soda. Guess what? I never wanted soda after drinking all that water. It took a couple weeks, but I slowly started having those soda cravings less and craving water more. Now, I don't feel bad if I indulge with a soda every couple of weeks when I am out on a date or with friends, but I am not tied down to that craving every hour of the day.
FIND ALTERNATIVES: Those first couple weeks, I learned pretty quick that I still needed caffeine to get through the day, especially once the caffeine withdrawal headaches set in. Instead of resorting back to soda, I got some water bottles and Crystal Lite Caffeine packets. They have just as much caffeine as soda, but I was able to slowly wean myself by adding less and less to my water every day until I didn't need it anymore. Overcoming the caffeine addiction and getting past those awful headaches was definitely the hardest part, but I am obviously human and still crave something besides water every once in a while! I have learned to keep our fridge stocked with juice and flavored water so I don't cave in and run to McDonald's for a 32 ouncer. My favorites are Bolthouse Watermelon Mint lemonade and water with lemons and frozen strawberries.
KEEP A JOURNAL: In the past, I tried to quit soda about 100 times and failed, so this time I had the idea to keep track of how I feel after every time I drink it. I have a list in my phone where I write my feelings, both emotional and physical, when I have soda. Every time I want to quit and start drinking it again, reading things like "feeling super bloated" or how it's never as good as I expect it to be helps me to rethink the decision. I feel like this works because you can hear from other people over and over how bad soda is for you, but it will never sink in until you "hear" it from yourself. That's how addiction works: you never remember all the bad side effects, just the high it gives you so keeping track of those negative effects was key for me in breaking the habit.
I cannot even tell you how liberating it is to not NEED to have my daily soda anymore. I love that I can have a Coke every couple of weeks and not worry about getting addicted again. I feel amazing and I have more natural energy to play with my baby now than caffeine ever gave me. Hopefully this post gave you a great place to start on your quest to kicking the soda habit and becoming a healthier you!
Have you ever kicked a bad habit? Tell me about it in the comments!