Sunday, March 11, 2012
I have not had a diet soda in 50 days. No big deal, some may say, but for me, it is a very big deal. I have been hooked on diet soda for over three decades. I started out on Tab (remember Tab?) and switched to diet soda in college. It got so bad in college that, just before graduation, I was diagnosed with caffeine addiction.
I had stopped drinking diet soda for a week or so and proceeded to have terrible headaches and lethargy. I literally couldn't get out of bed. It was so bad, my mother had to drive me to school so I could take my finals.
After hearing my diet, the doctor informed me I needed to give up the caffeine.
A sensible person would have given up the diet soda then (emphasis on sensible). What did I do? I switched to caffeine-free diet soda for a few years and continued on with my life.
Eventually, I snuck in a few regular diet sodas and, after children, I switched almost totally to fountain sodas with caffeine. (How else was I supposed to get through those early child-rearing days on four hours of sleep?)
And not just one or two cans of it, but two or three 32-oz cups of the drink. That's right - some days I would consume 96 oz. of diet soda! Healthy - not! But boy, did it keep me going!
Oh yes, I heard the warnings. Friends, family, neighbors and even strangers all told me how bad it was for me. I heard them, but didn't listen to them.
When I went on a diet a few years ago, a 32-oz diet soda was the only thing that got me through the day. If I couldn't eat, at least I could treat myself with a cold fountain soda.
It was addicting, and I knew it, but I convinced myself it wasn't really hurting me.
2012 started with a New Year's resolution (I know, I hate them, but I realized I needed this one) to loose weight and get in shape. My goal was to trim the pounds and then give up diet soda. I knew from experience I would need my daily "hit" of caffeine to help me get through the days, especially the afternoons (and most especially the long, cold winter afternoons!)
Then one Sunday evening, I sat watching television and noticed that my throat was bothering me, again. I thought perhaps I was coming down with a cold, but after some consideration, realized that this scratchy throat came and went, depending on the day; depending on how much diet soda I was drinking.
That scared me.
It scared me enough to say, "Enough - no more diet soda!" It scared me enough to tell my husband that I was giving up diet soda. (For me, telling someone makes it real.) It scared me enough to go 50 days without a drink that I have consumed every day for probably 35 years.
I'm happy to say that this is the only reason I am giving up diet soda. I'm also happy to say that, as of today, there are no ill effects from my years of drinking diet soda. As of today...
Is it easy? No. Honestly, it's been one of the most difficult things I've ever done. (Other than child birth of course!) I struggle with it every day - still - almost two months later. I miss it - I crave it!
As with any addiction, the first week was the hardest. I had no energy and was not the easiest person to be around. (When my daughter heard I was giving up diet soda, her first words to me were "Maybe that isn't the best idea for you!" And my son told my husband he was happy to be five states away!)
But I'm determined to stay the course. Fifty days and counting!
Wish me luck!