Quitting My Diet Coke Habit

Everyone knows that Diet Coke is the best drink on the face of the planet. The way its bubbly goodness hits your lips, giving you an automatic sensation throughout your entire body… Drinking Diet Coke is total bliss! Sheer heaven! Utter ecstasy! I could go on forever. However, just a few months ago I completely gave up on it. Yes, it’s true. I, Jeanne Leitenberg, have been Diet Coke-free for six months.

For those who know me, this is quite an accomplishment. Up until last July, I was a bonafide addict. I’ve been known to keep Diet Coke cans on my nightstand in case of an “emergency”. Waking up thirsty at 3am, grabbing the can of DC (for all you fiends) and taking a big gulp was the norm for me. As was drinking refill after refill of fountain Diet Coke at restaurants. It’s common knowledge that fountain DC is the best kind of DC.

Diet Coke was always something I could count on. Bad day? Pop open a can. Hangover from Hell? Go to the drive-thru at McDonald’s and get one supersized. The drink was a constant in my life that would surely brighten my day and my mood. Which is probably making you think I’m totally rude for kicking such a good friend to the curb. The decision to end my habit was an extremely hard one to make, although it had been something I’d been thinking about for awhile. Then one day (July 18th, 2011) I woke up and declared, “Today is the day I stop drinking Diet Coke.” But why exactly did I choose to give up on my beloved drink of choice? Here are the three reasons I quit cold turkey:

1. Sleep

I was having a really hard time falling asleep. I’d be in my bed for what seemed like forever, tossing, turning, doing anything but snoozing. I decided to examine what it was that was keeping me awake. Then I realized: if I had a Diet Coke anytime after 4pm, I had trouble going to sleep. You’re probably thinking, “Um, Jeanne, it’s called caffeine-free Diet Coke.” But come on, caffeine-free DC is not that accessible. Especially when you eat out for most meals like I do. You can’t just order a CFDC anywhere you go. Also, as any Diet Coke aficionado knows, there is totally a difference between Diet Coke and caffeine-free Diet Coke. I will do a taste test to prove it.

2. Health

Obviously, giving up regular soda can help you drop a ton of pounds. But did you know that the fake sugar used to make diet soda diet makes you hungry? I didn’t. Well, until I did some research and saw articles about it all over the internet. Because dieting is heinous, I thought that perhaps cutting Diet Coke out of my regular routine could allow me to shed some weight. So am I super skinny now that I’ve been DC-free for 6 months? Not at all. But I will tell you this: I haven’t gained weight. I attribute that mostly to what I’m now not eating because of not drinking DC. You see, to me part of the fun of consuming really bad food is washing it down with Diet Coke. It adds to its enjoyment. Since giving up Diet Coke, I’ve been eating slightly healthier. The truth is I just don’t think it’s really worth it to eat a Double-Double animal-style if I can’t have a Diet Coke to go with it. What drink’s supposed to accompany my meal instead? Water? Ew! It’s not the same!

3. Just to see if I could

I don’t have the greatest discipline. Therefore giving up Diet Coke was a huge test for myself. There are many things in my life that I know I could never quit doing. Like eating meat. Or getting my highlights done every three months. Or checking certain people’s Facebook pages. But drinking Diet Coke? I could at least give it a try. And surprisingly, I was able to do it. While it’s delicious, it doesn’t really affect my everyday life. My life hasn’t gone downhill since giving it up. I suppose it’s even gotten a little better. I fall asleep more easily, I don’t eat as much junk food and I learned I can actually set limits for myself. That’s deep stuff.

I’d be lying if I said I didn’t miss Diet Coke. I think I even had a dream about it last night. But then I look back on when my last sip was and realize that even though it’s been six whole months, it doesn’t feel like that much time has passed. I could probably go another six months. And maybe another six after that. We’ll see what happens. I can’t say I’m never going to not drink it again. That’s way too big of a commitment. But for now, I’m really proud of myself for not quitting quitting Diet Coke.