Holy Soda, Batman!!

change-for-change-2271I’ve mentioned I’m addicted to Diet Coke.

It is, in a word, crack. I’ve tried to ban it, to no avail.

Ironically, I grew up drinking very little soda and if anything, it was regular Coke and drank sparingly.

In fact, I never even tried Diet Coke til 2005 when, at work one day, I decided to see why my boss was so obsessed with (he drank it like it was going out of style).

Then suddenly, I couldn’t get enough. Coincidentally (or not so coincidentally?) I started gaining weight around then (OK, not really gaining, but I stopped losing and then later, gained).

Anyway …  I live in one of those lovely states (Michigan) that charges you $0.10 for every can/bottle of soda consumed.

If you return it to one of a myriad of locations that accepts returns, you get that $0.10 back in the form of store credit (see image at right–no, that’s not my hand!). Hurrah, credit!

In theory, this is a great idea: it encourages us to recycle; I mean, no one wants to lose $0.10 on every bottle or can they’ve bought! (Think of it this way, a 12-pack of Diet Coke costs you an extra $1.20 up front — of course you want that $1.20 back!

But in practice, it scares the hell out of me. How so? you ask.

Well, I keep all my bottles/cans in my work locker, and yesterday I took two ginormous (reusable!) bags to the grocery store to do a return.

While I pushed bottle after bottle, can after can, through the slot, suddenly I was blindsided with visions of all the chemicals and nastiness I’ve been putting into my body. We’re talking a LOT of chemicals.

The machine spit out a credit of $3.90. I stared at it in disbelief. 39 cans or bottles collected in a matter of weeks …


I know I need to stop drinking Diet Coke; if I want to start a family in the next year or so, I especially need to get over this addiction to chemicals. Because that is what it is, an addiction. And it’s not something I can continue into pregnancy someday.

I know it’s not good for me. I know it’s ruining my teeth, my bones. And I know it’s bloating my tummy every day.

But all the same, I can’t seem to stop.

Today, I’m going to try to go one day Diet Coke-free. And then I’ll see if I can make it two days, three. If I could just give it up, I know I’d save money.

Actually, I have a great idea that might benefit me in two ways.

You see, my husband and I are considering visiting my brother in S. Korea early next year, late Jan./early Feb. (he’s there teaching English through June 2010), but we need to see if we can swing it.

Well, my hubby is a diligent saver and would have no trouble, but I’m a spender. So if I could put the money I’m spending on my daily Diet Coke fix into a jar toward a Korea trip, I bet I’d have hefty savings for a plane ticket … AND save my body from destruction, too!

See my wheels turning?! Hmmmm … I’ll keep you posted!!!

How about you? How did you get over your soda addiction, if you had one?od!


57 thoughts on “Holy Soda, Batman!!

  1. I never drank tons of it but for years had 1 can/smal bottle a day almost every day. I really felt like I “needed” it so I guess I was addicted in some way. I craved it and then started noticing that after I drank it I wanted more sweets. I decided to wean off of it so I cut it down to a few a week, then after two weeks one day I cut it out completely. For the first few days I craved it but promised myself I would go without for one week and if I wanted it thenI could have it. But then after that week was over I really didn’t want it. I lost 2 lbs out of the blue after I stopped, no other changes which I thought was quite odd since it is calorie free and only had one per day but it happened. Maybe a coincidence?

  2. I was definitely addicted to diet sodas but really had little choice but to give it up when I moved abroad. Everything is so expensive here and I like expensive groceries, so diet soda simply became a luxury we couldn’t afford. I still have it when we go out sometimes, and when I am back in the US, the addiction comes back. It’s good to know I really can go without it under the right circumstances, though!
    When we move back, I am going to try to make my policy that I will accept it if offered/avilable, but I will not buy it. It’s such a guilty pleasure that I am not sure I want to give it up completely!

    1. Lara, I love that way of thinking: I won’t BUY it, but if it’s offered … or part of a meal out … ok, then 🙂 At the very least, it’d help wean me off!

  3. Ahhh….Diet Coke. My weakness!

    For me, I just crave fountain drinks (Hello, McDonald’s!). I have gone without them, but to be honest, they just make me HAPPY. That sounds so sad! But each morning when I go get my drink, it just brings a huge smile to my face. I’ve done the iced tea thing and that is pretty good….I might need to challenge myself to having coke-free days maybe at least once a week.

  4. I totally have an addiction. I usually have two Coke Zeros at work and then another two diet caffeine free sodas in the evening — one with dinner and one after dinner. I usually throw a lot of the late night soda down the drain so I know I can cut back to 3 a day. But it’s so hard to cut more out. I might be switching offices which will help., At my current office, we can get soda from the machine for only a quarter, so it’s cheap and easy. I just don’t like plain water and I want something that is calorie free, so soda is the easiest choice — especially at restaurants.

  5. I had a huge diet coke thing, I’m embarrassed to tell you this, but at one point I drank an entire liter every day. I kept it next to my chair when I worked on the computer all night long.

    I had to stop drinking it because it began to hurt my tummy, the carbonation I think was the culprit. Now, I can have one can, but tend to have to avoid it for weeks afterward. The pain is actually pretty bad, I used to joke to my friends I drank enough black coffee and diet coke to give me an ulcer the size of a cannonball. I don’t mean to scare anyone, but I did (apparently) mess up my tum. I hope it’ll go away, but it’s been many years since I lived on diet coke…

    I recommend iced tea as a compromise, because it has antioxidants and that lovely caffeine boost.

  6. I’ve never read a post I could relate to better. I have been addicted to Diet Coke since college. I gave up drinking it for 9 months twice when I had my children. Still, even with a 9 month absence, I picked it right back up after the children were born. I’ve given it up for lent…. started drinking it again after those 40 days. My husband (also addicted to DC) did what you are trying to do once. He gave it up for a year and put all of the money toward a conference he wanted to go to. After the conference, back to the DC. Like you, I know I should stop drinking it! Right now, I am blogging self improvement through exercise. But I hope to add Diet Coke to my list of bad habits to kick soon. Best of luck with your endeavor!!!! Go for it.

  7. I had a soda addiction, and kicked is successfully. I switched to water with the flavor crystals and it worked; then I eventually transitioned to just water.

    Then… I fell off the wagon. I’m trying to kick the soda habit again, but it’s super hard.

  8. Any diet soda gave me horrible migraines. Especially the clear ones like 7-Up and Sierra Mist. So I switched to regular soda which was not necessarily the best weight loss idea but, hey, at least I wasn’t ingesting large amounts of aspartame anymore. Now more dedicated, I limit myself to one regular soda a day. To my delight, I can even skip that. See, I heard somewhere that it takes 18 minutes of running to work off the calories from one can of regular soda. Scary.

  9. For an alternative you can try sparkling water with the flavor “essence” like Poland Spring, Perrier, etc. They are zero cals, don’t contai any sweetenrs just natural flavor essence like lemon, lime, orange, etc. and are nice when you want something more than plain water.

  10. I went on a field trip with an older male co-worker a couple of years ago, and I could NOT BELIEVE how much Diet Coke he drank. He never drank water! Just coffee or Diet Coke – I counted 10 cans in one day. Ugh. He was diabetic too…wonder what the caffeine does to blood sugar.

    Also, DC sells out much quicker than any other drink in our vending machine at work. What addicting stuff do they put in it??? :0)

    Anyway, I don’t drink caffeinated pop but I do buy a 2L of diet pop every couple of weeks. And I’m cool with that.

  11. aaah! so delicous! so bad for you! if you really do drink a lot of it – and I have a major coffee/diet coke obsession so i sympathize – i think the way to end is by going cold turkey over a couple of days when you can afford to really feel like crap. because you totally will. i feel like quitting caffeine is wayyy harder even than quitting smoking or something like that. but, really, my favorite reason for even attempting such a terrible fate is that it will make your skin look a trillion times more radient.
    good luck!

  12. I used to be a litre a day for Coke, course it wasn’t the diet stuff. But I just decided not to buy it for one week. It was one of those months where there was so much to do, that two weeks flew by with me noticing, by then I didn’t want it anymore. Now I might have a glass of gingerale once a month. Pop no longer appeals to me anymore.
    Basically, the more you think about it, the more you want it. Keep busy.

  13. Good for you! I think your idea is great! Just take it day by day thinking “Just today I will not have a diet soda,” and say that to yourself everyday! GOOD LUCK!!

    I always stayed away from diet soda because I have Phenylketonuria-variant (you may have seen warnings for phenylketonurics on labels with aspartame listed).

    I use SweetLeaf Sweetener Stevia, and I totally recommend it–it can help curb your sweet cravings–it’s good for you too!

  14. Growing up I never had sodas (too expensive)-except at other people’s homes. It was such a treat! I drank only regular Coca Cola until I was about 24 or 25- when I moved in with a friend that ONLY drank diet. Several nights that was the only thing in the house to drink…so I drank it. I haven’t turned back since…it IS like a drug. I can’t stand regular coke- makes me nauseated now. I am going to be tryin gto have a baby soon, so I try and get my caffiene from coffee (yummy), but there is just something so refreshing, crisp and delish about an ice cold Diet C.

    Good luck girl! That is a tough thing to try and tackle.

  15. Sometimes I crave things, it could be coke, chocolate or whatever, but usually when I manage to cut down and get through that first hard week or two, it stops. I guess our bodies just get used to it, and also sweet or greasy food makes other things taste less in comparison (read: boring). Then again, we know that we’re able to change and stop if we want to – so good luck! I like the money in the jar-idea 🙂

  16. Diet coke is a HUGE addiction. I hardly ever drank soda and then started drinking Diet Coke. And one a day would turn into two and then more. Soon I was drinking upt to 6 a day. I finally realized that everytime I drank it my stomach would hurt. The caffeine and carbonation were not good for my IBS. Finally I realized that it was hurting me more than helping me. So I picked a quit date like a smoker and haven’t had one since. It has been over 1 month and I’m doing well. And I don’t crave it any more. It was hard at first but I had to find something else to take my mind off the cravings…I did yoga stretches. Now I don’t even want one.

    Good Luck!

  17. Finally, I thought we had a picture of your hand. Drats! :p

    Personally I think the deposit should be something like $10 per bottle or can. That would probably be enough to keep the trash out of our streets and forests and streams. People don’t seem to be too motivated by nickels and dimes.

    My addition was Pepsi. I’d have a can from the vending machine each morning when I arrived at work. I’m talking about 7am. I’d estimate I drank about 3/4 gallon of Pepsi a day. Many cans at work, then Big Gulps while driving, then more at home.

    I was addicted!

    I successfully went cold turkey for three years. After about a week of some fairly intense headaches, it wasn’t too hard, although nothing else seems to ever quench my thirst the same way.

    These days I’m mostly Pepsi free but I still have some occasionally like when I go out to eat. Some I’m still not really rid of the addiction to this day. But overall it is a tiny fraction of what it used to be.

  18. I’ve never liked the taste of diet soda — or any product with artificial sweeteners. I only drink soda with sugar in it, but very rarely — maybe once every couple of months or so. I prefer water. Any addiction is difficult. It doesn’t matter what it is. Every so often I hear about possible connections between artificial sweeteners and cancer. But I know better — not even the fear of cancer will stop someone from diet drinks, diet food, cigarettes, etc. In any case, good luck!

  19. Thanks for all the comments, everyone–been one heckuva day! This post was featured on WordPress.com as a featured blog post and suddenly I had more comments than I could keep up with!! Hope you’ll come back again 🙂

  20. Be strong! You can definitely do it. I used to have a regular Coke habit. I drank at least 4 cokes per day. I do not drink alcohol or coffee, so I this was my vice. When I finally decided to quit, I had a headache for 4 days. After almost a year Coke-free, I had a glass at a restaurant with few options. It tasted like poison! Once you make the initial from the chemical cocktail, it gets easier.

  21. donno what the stuff they are addin in coke..me too got sucked drinkin coke….any wayzz..i stil cud not get over it..may be me also shud do somethin extra ordinary…good post..keep goin…

  22. I think what you have is an addiction to caffeine and not chemicals. I would suggest you to try the caffeine-free version of Diet Coke for about a week. You should be able to stop drinking it more easier. Hope this helps. 😛 (Oh, and FYI, don’t bother detoxing to get rid of the chemicals, your body does that naturally by itself)

      1. I really need to cut my diet coke cmipuostnon. It will be very hard as I don’t like regular soda, never have I’ve been drinking the diet stuff since the early 1980’s. I’m try to move more to de-caff soda. and up my water, but it’s hard.

  23. dooooood i feel you about the soda thing. Ive been working in resterants for some time now, and its curious how people just jones so badly for their diet soda! It makes one wonder what exactly is IN those things that makes them so addictive.

  24. I used to buy and consume 3 Liter bottles (back when they made them) and I drank all of it in just a few hours. This usually happened during the summer months. When a neighbor of ours died because he needed a kidney transplant, we were told that after the first transplant he was told not to drink soda because it could harm his new kidney. He didn’t listen but I did. After that it was easy to stop drinking soda. I quit for about ten years and only when Ginger Ale is in the house due to sickness do I drink it.

  25. For those of us relating NON-diet stories, this is all extra disturbing based on what I heard on the radio the other day. They said that a typical 20 ounce bottle of soda has about 15 to 17 teaspoons of sugar. Ouch!

  26. i used to be addicted to diet coke, too. ditched the habit on february 17 last year, and haven’t looked back.

    back then, i wrote this:

    “the amount of diet coke and coke zero that i consume, compared to the amount of water that i drink, is ridiculous. the number of plastic bottles i carry back to the supermarket for recycling usually inspires jokes of parties, when it’s just the remnants of a week of my very own coke habit.

    i don’t drink coffee, so the caffeine in diet coke serves as my daily pick me up. i actually have diet coke for breakfast, which is more than just a little disturbing, i reckon, and i often drink coke instead of eating. which, of course, doesn’t work, really: artificial sweetners make you eat more later.

    in any way, those days are over: i have decided that i’m giving up diet coke. for good. this is unhealthy, and it has to stop”

    looking back, quitting diet coke (and pretty much all sodas, actually), was surprisingly easy, ultimately a test of will. the first few weeks were hard, but now i’m over it. every once in a while, i get a sudden longing when confronted (mostly when on the road and buying a drink, like a former smoker, i s’pose), but it’s nothing like back in the days when i had to have half a litre before breakfast, and easy to resist.

    i feel so much better without diet coke and artificial sweetners in my life: i have significantly fewer cravings, i eat better, i don’t have headaches anymore. and i know i’m sparing <a href="my kidneys lots of crap and lowering my risk of metabolic syndrome, which is pretty high anyway (because of former obesity and pcos).

    so yeah, been there, done that, not looking back.

    you can do it! 🙂

  27. I am really enjoying the theme/design of your blog.
    Do you ever run into any internet browser compatibility issues?
    A small number of my blog audience have complained about my website not operating correctly in Explorer but looks great in Safari.

    Do you have any solutions to help fix this problem?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s