Life Without Diet Coke

I know, this sounds hardly significant enough to write an entire blog post about…. but I am officially into my second full month without diet soda and, for me, that’s a big deal.

For most of my life, I’ve consumed soda at varying degrees of frequency, ranging from “only when I’m out” to “I can’t get through the afternoon without some DC.” I made excuses, including but not limited to “I need the caffeine when I travel” and “It can’t be worse than regular soda…”

diet coke

Anyway, about six months ago, I started to check out food and beverage labels and realized how many mystery items were entering my body each day. I remember the first time I compared the ingredient list on Bisquick pancake mix to the list on Bob’s Red Mill version…and I could actually identify everything in Bob’s mixture! I was amazed at how much better I felt when I knew what I was eating.

No matter how much I tried to find more natural alternatives to items in my pantry and creative recipes to make my own substitutes, I couldn’t get myself to swap out diet soda. I continued with my excuses (It’s my favorite thing! My biggest weakness! It wakes me up!), but felt a mountain of guilt every time I cracked open a can.

Do you know that feeling? Knowing you’re putting a tar-like, artificially sweet liquid in your body but loving every bubbly sip? Plus, it doesn’t technically have calories, so it’s healthy, right?? Right?!?!

Bottom line: I’ve been making some changes in my life since starting this “new” freelance lifestyle, but I couldn’t shake Diet Coke. It started to feel like it represented a huge weakness and only compounded my body image issues. I knew it was bad for me and yet I couldn’t help myself.

So, one day, I decided to stop. I didn’t make a big deal about it, I didn’t announce it to the world in an effort to keep myself accountable, I just decided to stop drinking this unhealthy, nutritionally-devoid beverage. About two weeks in, at a Panera lunch date with my husband, I got a diet soda out of habit. I sat at our table, looked down at my drink, and realized that I couldn’t even bring myself to take a sip.

A month and a half later, I’m still diet (and regular) soda-free and happily addicted to a much healthier combination of seltzer and tap water. I haven’t magically lost 10 pounds, but I can definitely say that I feel significantly less “basic”, much more satisfied, guilt-free , and more in control than ever.