Quitting My Diet Coke HabitJeanne Leitenberg

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.

  • http://www.facebook.com/lindsay.eberts Lindsay Eberts

    Congratulations! You’ve just done yourself (and your brain) a huge service in my humble opinion;) My uncle started having grand mal seizures from his 6 can a day habit, which stopped immediately after he quit! There are great books, videos, health practitioners, and us fans out there waiting to help you keep on track if you’re tempted to stray back.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=568471152 Paula Melsom

    I am an addict! I gave it up for lent last year! It was awful, I felt ill for a few weeks when I stopped, couldn’t sleep, had such bad headaches! I decided to quit it for good after that but then somehow I got back into the habit of drinking it all of the time again in June. I will try and quit again sometime soon, just not looking forward to the headaches etc. Well done! x

    • http://www.facebook.com/amberneuf Amber Neufeld

      Wean yourself off of it, gradually. Then maybe you won’t experience headaches :]

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=731911361 Gemma Sellings

    Jeanne – how much were you putting away, a day?

  • http://www.facebook.com/sien.vrolix Sien Vrolix

    Don’t forget that Coke contains a lot of acid, which just dissolves your teeth. Ok, so maybe that’s a little dramatic, but it softens your enamel and if you brush then, you’re damaging it.
    Good for you!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1086133991 Caz Lessels

    Well Done! That stuff is poisonous, addictive and should be banned! Harsh you may say, but it is crammed with chemicals and simply cannot be good for you. If it was good, then no one would have withdrawal symptoms would they?
    And it ain’t cheap is it?

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1550800534 Gabriela Varela

      i’m pretty sure the withdrawal symptoms are because of the caffeine. i know my dad gets similar symptoms everytime he tries to cut down on coffee. but yeah, clearly not a healthy drink

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1597860189 Chelsea Oscarson

    I used to be an addict too, I’ve been DC free for two months! I would drink a couple a day and more if it was summer. I drink tea and water now instead. I’ve finally started to realize how much better I feel without it. I still have an occasional one if I’m at the movie theater or at a festival but not every day. Good job and keep it up!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1319745477 Corina Rodriguez

    A new study came out last year that has linked diet soda to diabetes. Acorrding to the study those that consume more than 2 cans a day saw increased abdominal girth, weight gain & an increased risk for diabetes! …. I quit my DC habit about 6 months ago too & soda all together about 2 months ago!! Its hard but worth it!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/bethanygipson Bethany Gipson

    Girl, I had the same undying love for regular Coke. I went seven weeks with out it, then fell back in thinking I could just have a cheat day. Wrong. Slowly weening back off…

  • http://www.facebook.com/emhatfield Emily Hatfield

    I am a DC addict and I have been thinking of giving it up as well, since all this artificial stuff can’t be good for me. However, I just wanted to raise holy hands when you said “It’s common knowledge that fountain DC is the best kind of DC” and “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.” Right there with you sister.

    Thanks for this! Hopefully I’ll be able to kick my bad (but oh soooo good) habit to the curb as well.

  • http://www.facebook.com/sumshel Summer Shelton

    Wow! Congratulations. I don’t think I could ever give up my DC addiction. Maybe I’ll start with a baby test and give it up for Lent. So you haven’t had any??? Not even for special occasions? Don’t you miss THE BURN. You know what I’m talking about.

    • http://www.facebook.com/jenniferdavidschultz Jennifer Schultz

      Oh my gosh Summer, I’ve tried to tell people that the burn is what I’m addicted to and no one gets it!

  • http://www.facebook.com/EJaneEQuigley Jane Quigley

    I really enjoyed drinking my can of Diet Coke while reading this.

  • http://www.facebook.com/itslikemusic Melody Calvert

    yayyyy you’re quitting CANCER. Diet Coke is one of the worst things you could subject your body to! Nasty stuff.

  • http://www.facebook.com/friscom99 Francisco Marroquin

    Good for you! Aspartame is extremely dangerous.

  • http://www.facebook.com/natalia.clarissa.lee Natalia Lee

    I gave up regular coke and lost 30 pounds. Just from not drinking pop or consuming anything with High Fructose Corn Syrup. I didn’t exercise (which I probably should) and I am able to sleep better. I am not up into the wee hours of the night!:)

  • http://www.facebook.com/girlsgotmoxie Christine Adrienne Guckenberger

    It is SO hard to give up soda! I know after I had gastric bypass surgery I gave it up cold turkey! When I was younger I drank like two 2 liter bottles of coke a day…yup it was awful. Then I switched to diet soda thinking it was better for me. The problem was even though it was technically better for me so to speak it was an addiction and it made me crave sweets even more so I had to give it up. An alternative is flavored sparkling water! I used to drink poland spring seltzer water (I can’t have carbonation anymore post-op) that weaned me off of soda in general! Now I drink plain old coffee for the caffeine…my new addiction is SUGAR FREE red bull! It’s great it has a hint of carbonation but all the caffeine you could want! And it doesn’t have all the crazy additives diet soda has…I went caffeine free but it was boring and doesn’t fit my personality I enjoy a caffeine buzz just not from soda! Congrats for taking the first step and I wish you luck in your soda free adventures!

  • http://www.facebook.com/fruitjars Melissa Miller

    Zevia! All natural soda and zero calories. Tastes great!

  • http://www.facebook.com/sarahabare Sarah Elizabeth Abare

    It’s funny because I couldn’t care less about Diet Coke, but I loooove me some DP…known by the average person as Dr. Pepper. But I totally relate to everything this article said, just replace “DC” with “DP”. The way it makes a burger taste so good, makes a bad day good and a good day better. And Summer Shelton mentioned, THE BURN. It’s all so good. In spite of the fact that I buy organic and eat pretty healthy, that stuff is my downfall. And it probably undoes all the good I do for my body, as filled with chemicals as it is. I mean, the stuff can erode acid off a car battery–what do you think it is doing to our bodies? Anyways, I have given it up before and this year, I’m doing the “only on special occasions/once a month rule”. So far, so good. It’s hard to give it up on a daily basis, but its nice to know I can still have it sometimes. It’s something to look forward too.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=900015712 Ronald Lane

    Glad you’ve gone so far with this! I often think about quitting DC (and perhaps soda altogether) but I never actually do it. Hopefully I can muster up the courage soon. My nights are getting pretty bad as well.

  • http://www.facebook.com/deborah.dailey Deborah Dailey

    I always joke that I’ve never seen a skinny person drinking Diet Coke. Hee hee hee. Back in the day I used to drink a 12 pack or more of Mt. Dew a day. Had to quit when I was pregnant and I found that drinking tea and sweetening it with honey to wean yourself off helps with the headaches since it still has caffeine! After a while soda doesn’t even sound good anymore thank goodness!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=512097547 Elaine Hamelin-Mitchell

    I think you just inspired me to kick my Pepsi Max habit! :D

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