Today Marks 1 Year Without Diet Coke: Let's Talk About It
So as many of my long time readers know, I went on a life-changing hiking retreat called Mountain Trek in the mountains of Canada in summer 2018. You can read all about it here. Part of preparing for Mountain Trek was giving up caffeine 3 days prior to check-in. They asked us to do this because Mountain Trek is a caffeine free experience and they hoped we could all detox before arrival. I didn’t want to be experiencing the effects of caffeine withdrawal while I was hiking (vomit), so I did as they said. I went to Seattle for vacation before making my way to the mountains of British Columbia to experience Mountain Trek. Giving up coffee in Seattle was HARD. Giving up Diet Coke was even harder.
I was raised on Diet Coke. We always had 2-liters of it in our fridge and my brother and I were allowed to drink unlimited amounts of it growing up. This was in the 80’s when information about the health effects of things like fake sweeteners wasn’t widely known. So, I started drinking it as a little girl and I drank it pretty much every day my entire life. It was my “thing.” In my 20’s and 30’s, I would wake up and leave my condo, go straight across the street to the gas station, get a 32 oz fountain Diet Coke and get on with my day. At 6 am. Not joking. I chose my Nissan Altima because it had huge cup holders to hold my mega Diet Cokes. This wasn’t just a bubbly beverage that I enjoyed. It was a part of my life. I even had an order of preference: fountain (extra points for styrofoam cups); then can; then bottle. Y’all. It was BAD.
So there I was at 41 years old in the summer of 2018, in Seattle on vacation going through straight up withdrawals. I was sleeeeeepy. I would nap a couple of times during the day which isn’t my thing at all. It was at least a tiny bit easier to come off of coffee because I replaced it with Four Sigmatic Mushrooms. Check those out here. But there wasn’t anything that replaced the taste and emotional bond I had with Diet Coke. So I had mild headaches and napped for a couple of days and let my body do what it needed to do to release the dependency on caffeine. On a scale of 1-10 it was a 4. Not bad, but I would have given anything for a sip.
My official first day Diet Coke-free was July 5, 2018. Honestly, I really didn’t think it would be for good. I thought I’d give it up for Mountain Trek, then pick it back up when I left. But then I spent a week with a clear head, mind, body and being educated about the effects of aspartame and I decided to try to stay off of Diet Coke when I left Mountain Trek. Keyword: try.
And today…drumroll please…it is ONE YEAR!!! Not a sip. Not a bubble. Nothing. And what’s crazy is I haven’t really felt tempted. There have maybe been 3 times in the past year that I really thought a Diet Coke sounded delicious. But that’s it. I do drink coffee - I stayed off coffee for about 2 months after Mountain Trek and then added it back in. They said that coffee is okay in reasonable amounts. 90% of the coffee I drink is Bulletproof Coffee and I drink it early in the morning on my way to the gym and during my workout. It fuels me and I don’t get shaky at all.
The point of this isn’t to tell you I’ve been free of my Diet Coke habit (okay, addiction) for a year. It’s to tell you that the thing you think you can’t give up…I bet you can. I would have never guessed I could give up Diet Coke.
I would recommend breaking the habit during a disruptive time. If I had tried to give up Diet Coke in the middle of a normal week, I don’t know if I would have been as successful because so much of an addiction is tied to the routine and habit of it. But being in the mountains of Canada with no access to my drug of choice for a week really kick started this change. Education also kick started it. I care more about my brain and my body than I do about my bubbly friend. The funny thing is, I don’t think Diet Coke is a bad thing. It’s just not my thing anymore. I don't have negative feelings about it or wish I hadn’t drank it. I think of Diet Coke like an ex boyfriend. He was a blast and we had a great time, but eventually our time together was over. No hard feelings.
If there’s something you want to remove from your life, I hope you’ll see this as an example of how even the most engrained habit-slash-addiction-slash-guilty pleasure can be put in your past. And as always, I’m here, cheering you on.