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My diet soda experience

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

First off, don't go sayin' nuttin' bad 'bout my drink.

I was in 10th grade when the drink that starts with "diet" and ends with a four-letter word starting with C came out. I'd been hoping for it for two years by then, since the diet version of that other company's soda was out first.

I fell in love immediately. In college the biggest difficulty I had with no car was getting the cases of this drink back to my dorm room. Prevailed upon friends every once in awhile and came back with enough to last awhile. There was a cherry version of the diet drink, and I distinctly remember doing vodka jello shots and chasing them with it, round about 25 years ago.

I gave it up for some time in the 1990s, primarily due to hassle and cost.

Then I started back to drinking it again. And this time they had LIME!!!! My taste for it grew. I rarely cut back, though I did lessen them at the beginning of my pregnancies. The lime version helped somewhat, then, though, as I could barely stomach anything.

Mom and I bonded over our drinking of two cans at a time, and how we prefer lime in mornings and cherry in afternoons. I collected the carton numbers and got prizes from the corporation in 2007. I installed a can crusher upstairs so I wouldn't have so much bulk to take down to the recycling bin.

For years I thought, "Okay, some day I'll quit." Didn't want to during the Spark forays. Wanted my stress reliever, something I liked so much. Was thrilled when I found stores that carried lime while I was out of town. (Some markets don't have it).

A few months ago, I had to cut back because I was getting a weird tingly feeling on my tongue from so much carbonation and sweet stuff hitting it. This shouldn't be surprising, at this point. But I did cut back, and then I did start to drink them again.

And then I read Eat to Live. I don't even remember if Dr. Fuhrman specifically mentioned diet soda, but I determined that the only concession I would make to myself while going on the six-week program was coffee. I drink my coffee black, and although it has caffeine, there are some things a girl is just not willing to give up.

So I forewent the cans of my drink in the fridge. I asked for water on airplanes.

At the end of the first week I had one can, at a kids' party where I wasn't eating all the stuff around me.

The second week I had another can.

And in the third week, one day around noon, I had two cans of my beloved lime version.

And then something weird happened. That afternoon, for the first time in the three weeks I'd been on the Eat to Live plan, I caught myself in craving after craving. I wanted something cheesy and hot. I wanted a brownie. I wanted salt. I wanted pizza. I told myself each time, "This will pass." They did, but they kept coming all afternoon. It took me awhile to identify the cause of these cravings, so unusual were they for the experience I'd had so far on the Eat to Live plan.

Then I got a killer headache, and it wasn't responding to anything I was trying to do for it. (Out of acetominophen, I tried ibuprofen. Didn't work.) The headache lasted well past bedtime. It wasn't until the next day that I recovered. Finally, headache was gone and the cravings with it.

I haven't had another one since. I feel disrespectful to my beloved drink even talking about these things. But I cannot ignore my own anecdotal evidence. YMMV.

On the one hand, my grocery bill and cart are both lighter without these cans of drink. On the other, I miss it. On the one hand, I don't have the tingly tongue issue, the cravings, or the headache. On the other, I loved that drink. I'm in something like a state of mourning about it. I won't say that I'll never have one again. But while I'm feeding my body the best nutrients it can use, it just doesn't seem like a good idea.

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Good for you for recognizing and respecting the signals your body was giving you. It's not easy but I'm glad you're enjoying the rewards of quitting!
    3588 days ago
  • GUNNSGIRL91303
    I'm still drinking diet soda and after reading your blog I'm rededicating myself to getting off of it completely. Thanks for sharing your experience and know that it will probably help many in their own efforts to become diet (and all) soda free!

    3590 days ago
    I'm having trouble breaking up with diet soda...but your blog made a few good points to me for sure!! I'm gonna look into this..
    3590 days ago
    I love diet soda!!!! Especially if it's sweetened with Splenda.. but the story you told actually reminded me of how I felt about cigarettes!! Maybe you were slightly addicted. I'm glad you mostly kicked the habit!
    3590 days ago
    I had to break up with the Drink of My Life in 1999--and I think it's a close kin to your drink--same four letter word and another word with a couple of "P's" in it. I'm sure that Pat and Vanna could "solve" it now!

    I have not looked back. Yes, I have some strong sentimental feelings but mostly I am aware that my long affair with this beverage was not helpful. My personal experience is that in many ways it's like the death of a beloved friend. And that with time you realize that you have to rely on memories and memories only--that's all you've got left.

    Congratulations on this break-up. I know it's not easy and perhaps I sound glib about it. It is not a glib or an easy break-up but very serious stuff and a commitment to health.

    And now I am running off to check out "Eat to Live". emoticon
    3590 days ago
    Ah, sweet memories. I used to drink Coke and then Diet Coke but now that I've been eating clean I literally can't remember the last time I had one. I didn't dip back in and have the bad experience you did, but now I'll certainly be cautious. Good for you for kicking the habit!
    3599 days ago
    As a former six-cans-day drinker of my own preferred poison, I empathize.

    But take heart: although your memories of its taste, the bonding experiences you shared over it and the way you used it to relieve stress/boredom, etc.,will likely remain stored within your mind, the mourning period will end.

    From personal experience, I guarantee you'll eventually be so glad you don't suffer its side effects any more that you won't care it's gone.

    Congrats on taking yet another step toward the light of health.

    3599 days ago
    Good for you. You will continue to notice so many other positive effects. If you research the sweetener in diet drinks, you will be amazed at what you are now not putting into your body and making your organs have to break down. As for the headache, when I gave up caffeine several months ago, mine lasted weeks. And responded to nothing for pain abatement. Best wishes for continued success with this. You should be very proud of yourself.
    3600 days ago
    Good luck staying away from your "can of choice". Mine is Diet Dew...I have avoided the urge for many, many months now, knowing I will fall back into my several 20oz bottles per day routine if given a chance. Know that there are many of us out here pulling for you! emoticon
    3600 days ago
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