Allow me to tell you something about myself that might surprise you. I was addicted to soda for YEARS before I finally found a way to kick my diet soda habit.
You see, when you have a website about nutrition like this one, people tend to think that you don’t have any issues with nutrition. They think you have it all figured out and that you always have. People are very surprised when they see one of my pictures from college. They assume I must have grown up with good nutrition and then decided to teach all the other people by creating a program and a website. The truth is, I started this site AFTER losing 100 lbs and learning nutrition through research and trial and error.
The awesome thing about having been so unhealthy is that I can relate to what others are going through when they are trying to make a change. I have been through many of the feelings, the struggles, and the difficulties of making nutritional changes. I’ve been addicted to sugar, I’ve been addicted to soda, I’ve been addicted to energy drinks, and I’ve spent months eating diet food out of boxes.
I can definitely relate with drinking soda and how hard it is to break the soda habit. Let me explain.
My Soda Story
I drank soda from the time I was very young. I especially enjoyed Mt. Dew and Mellow Yellow. I drank Mt. Dew liberally for years. It’s what got me through late study nights in college and I drank them after work like a 6-pack of beer before I was old enough to drink beer.
After college, I switched to diet soda to try to lose weight. I drank diet Mt. Dew and Diet Coke until 2010. My typical work day involved at least 3 diet Mt. Dew 20 oz. bottles.
What Made Me Give Up My Soda Habit
Two things happened in 2010 that made me give up soda altogether.
First, a friend and mentor of mine posted this video on Facebook and I watched the whole thing. I suggest you watch it as well. Of course I knew soda was bad for me, but this just made so much sense to me and was bigger than just a weight issue. It made me realize that this was more harmful.
This is actually one of the problems with many processed foods. When we strip natural foods of vitamins, minerals, fiber and other nutrients to make them softer, sweeter, and more shelf-stable, our body has to try to compensate for the missing nutrients.
Secondly, I saw a post on Facebook by Tony Horton about ingredients in food that inspired me to do a personal experiment. It required me to count ingredients and keep them as low as possible and that meant soda was out. This experiment was one of the main turning points that led to the creation of 90/10 Nutrition. You can read the full story on that experiment HERE. It’s really the story that led me to eating clean.
How I Did It
You’re not going to like my method. I went “cold turkey” in 2010. Don’t worry though, that’s just one way to do it. I have compiled a list of all the ways I have learned to help people kick the habit for good. Find one below that works for you. Most likely, you will use a combination of the tips below.
How To Kick Your Soda Habit
1 – Quit Cold Turkey – This is definitely the most daunting of the options. Just stop drinking soda all at once and don’t replace it with other things. The benefit of going cold turkey is that your habit is probably gone quicker than any of the other methods but the fallout is usually the worst. Often, there can be headaches and other withdrawal symptoms. If you like to just get it over with, this is for you.
2 – Wean Yourself Off Slowly – Create a schedule to slowly get rid of your soda habit. If you drink 3 cans a day now, start by designating 3 days a week where you will only drink 2. Then, the next week, only drink 2 each day of the week. Continue to cut out sodas until you don’t drink it anymore. You can combine this with one of the replacement strategies below.
3 – Drink 8-16 Ounces of Water – Before going for the soda, drink a significant amount of water. This will often cut down the number of sodas you even want by 1 or more per day.
4 – Replace Soda With Seltzer Water – This is probably one of the easier methods IF caffeine is not part of your love for soda. If you are a coffee drinker, you can combine this method with your normal coffee (assuming it isn’t loaded with sugar) and you’ll be able to kick the habit.
What you want to look for is Seltzer or Sparkling Water that is NOT SWEETENED at all. Don’t get the ones that are sweetened with Splenda or other junk or you might as well be drinking soda. You can get flavored but unsweetened but try to stick to natural flavors or no flavoring.
If you need some sweetness in it, there are two options that I recommend.
1 – Stevia Drops like these: Sweet Leaf Stevia Drops
2 – Stur Liquid Water Enhancer uses stevia and natural flavorings. Check it out at this link:
Stur All Natural Water Enhancer
I want to clarify that NOTHING replaces just plain old water for your health. I don’t recommend that you drink tons of sparkling water and flavor enhancers and stevia. I recommend you drink plain water as much as you can, but this can help with that soda craving in a healthier way.
5 – Replace Soda With Coffee – Of course, the reason some people drink soda is because they don’t like coffee but they like caffeine! That was me for a long time. I never drank coffee until I decided to quit soda. I never liked the taste so I just never drank it. Let me tell you from experience that coffee IS an acquired taste and it doesn’t take long to acquire it. It took me just a couple of weeks to start to like coffee.
I started with iced coffee with cocoa and stevia drops in it. It was like an iced mocha and had way less coffee flavor. Eventually, I started to like the coffee flavor and now I drink coffee every day for my caffeine instead of soda.
6 – Make Your Water More Fun – Infusing your water with real fruit like strawberries, watermelon, lemon, limes, mixed berries, or various others is a great way to make water a more desirable replacement for your soda. You can even buy infusing bottles like THIS ONE to take to work.
7 – Understand The Habit Part – I think it is important to understand that part of the addiction is often the ritual and not the actual product. I know for me, my ritual at work involved going to the vending machine to get my first diet Mt. Dew right after I turned on my computer. It was a part of my day and I liked the routine of it as much as I liked the taste and caffeine of the product.
Once you realize that part of the habit is just the routine, you can change your routine to focus on something else. Make a new ritual that you enjoy when you first get to work or make a new ritual that enjoy when you go to lunch or out to dinner.
8 – Get Support – As I said above, most likely you will be using a combination of these 8 tips. I highly suggest you use this one along with any of the others. Having a support system to help you get through this change is going to be important.
That’s a lot of what we do in our Facebook Group.
Your Turn To Talk…
Have you quit your soda habit? How did you do it? Comment below.
Are you trying to quit and need some help? Comment below and get in touch with us.