TREATS Quitting My Diet Coke Habit Jeanne 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.

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  1. Love this article, trying to quit the evil DC myself, down to 1 can every other day… will get there!

  2. Oh my God! This could be me, I’ve just given up Diet Coke as well as chocolate for lent, though I’m hoping to extend it beyong. I did find that DC was holding me back from dieting properly, and I always found I craved chocolate or sweets when I had a DC. I’m finding not having chocolate surprisingly easy, but not having a DC is torture. When I go to the cinema or the theatre I should totally be having a DC, and when I have my lunch and I look for a drink to have with it, nothing else speaks to me the way DC does.

    I’m hopeful, though, that I can crack my Coke habit!

  3. Great job! I gave up ALL diet drinks as well as caffeinated coffee (that hurt the most) about a month ago and oddly enough, for all the same reasons you did. Feeling pretty good all the way around and sleeping much better!

  4. I quit cold turkey around the same time in July. My drug of choice, Coca Cola. It was so bad that I was drinking about a litre per day. Now replaced with good old fashioned water and green tea. I’m so much healthier now and my hair has never looked better!

  5. I am a total CocaCola Addict! I gave it up 3 weeks ago cold turkey…. so far so good…. but I still get those middle of the night cravings…..

    Congrats on your 6 months!!! Hopefully I will be there one day!

  6. I never touch anything with artificial sugar. Aspartame converts to formaldehyde in your system. In case people don’t know formaldehyde is the chemical used to embalm the dead. Basically it attacks your brain and kills good brain cells. Long term use of Aspartame can cause cancer, epilepsy, diabetes, Multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, brain lesions, Alzheimers and much more. In the short term it can trigger depression, headaches, nausea, insomnia, dizziness, vertigo, anxiety. It is basically the most toxic substance in the food market.

  7. Decent article, some ignorant comments. Poison! Cancer! Grand mal seizures!

  8. I honestly thought I was reading something I had written myself. I tried giving up Diet Coke for a week for similar reasons. It was hell. I always thought caffeine addiction was the problem, but after one week drinking coffee and taking daily doses of excedrine, I realized I had a serious psychological dependency on DC. I still haven’t been able to give it up completely(that was too devastating), but now I make a conscious effort to drink just as much water as Diet Coke. It has definitely made a difference in how I feel, and drinking more water is actually helping me lose weight. Kudos to you for being able to last 6 months!

  9. Wow – I thought I was addicted to Diet Coke until I read this! To be honest, really the only soft drinks I srink are Diet Coke or Diet Pepsi. I don’t really ever drink the full sugar versions. Sometimes I may drink a Sprite, but that’s really rare. I usually have a can of Diet Coke/Pepsi a day, but I have tried to cut back lately, drinking more water. I don’t drink tea or coffee so I guess I just have to stick to boring water as there aren’t many other choices (I could drink milk, but I already have that on my cereal).

  10. I’m 3 weeks in and loving it. Congrats! x

  11. Dang, congrats girl! I have heard a lot of people trying to cut this habit > http://www.skinnyscoop.com/list/eden/diet-coke-addiction-the-good-the-bad-the-ugly

    I ACTUALLY gave up soda a longgg time ago. I was never into the diets ..I was more into root beer :) but it definitely can be tough to refrain from buying a fizzy, tasty drink! Although once I fully quit the cravings for it stopped as well…it’s definitely a better health choice!

  12. Hysterical. I gave up DC exactly four weeks ago (but who’s counting) as I was one fridge pack from an OD on the stuff. I dream about diet coke, I stare at fountain soda machines (seriously, you are right–fountain is the best, then canned, then bottled), and I shake while eating my lunch because I always had a DC with it. I’m happy to hear there are other people out there with such a strong connection to DC. Maybe one day I’ll be able to have a glass, but I think for now I’ll regrettably choose water or choke down seltzer when I need the bubbles. Stay strong!

  13. I was a 2-3 can a day consumer and over a year ago I decided to quit because of what I read and heard about the chemical additive called “aspartame”. Folks, this stuff is so dangerous almost every country banned this crap, it’s pure poison and will have dramatic effects on your body and mind.

    Since quitting I lost over 25 lbs by doing almost nothing different except for not drinking diet Coke. Instead I drink iced tea in the morning with honey and an iced green tea around lunch time. I feel more focused and alert than I have in years. I also crave a soda every now and then so I grab a six pack of Zevia Cola from the health food store, all natural with a good kick of caffeine, it’s a tad expensive but you’re worth it.

    Good health to all !!!

  14. INCOMING HUGE TEXT: I don’t really remember exactly how and when I stopped drinking “soft drink”. It was 3 years ago and wasn’t so hard.
    I was raised by my grandparents while my mom had to work. So, long story short: My grandma had diabetis, and the sugar was her worst enemy. What have a lots of sugar? “soft drink”.
    We use to drink about 2000~4000mL per day, and that’s too much for where I live. I proposed to her that we should both stop drinking coke.
    She lost on the first month, but she slowed down with coke, drinking with some days intervals. She started to drink some Juice too, which is a good choice, and I recommend it.
    But I don’t eat or drink fruits (only lemon. Yes I eat lemons.). So I decided to change to a “soft drink” that I wasn’t a big fan: Sprite.
    Everytime I “had to” drink something, Sprite was my only choice. So I stopped drinking coke automatically.
    After some weeks I changed to Orange Fanta. And everytime I felt the need for a “soft drink” I drunk water.
    You see, it’s just a habit. Eventually I stopped drinking Orange Fanta (blargh) and any other soft drinks out there, and of course the god damn coke.
    So if you are thinking about giving a break to soft drinks you just have to change your habit. Fulfil with another drink and eventually you will stop. Just say NO and let all your friends know this.
    Congratz! You are not drinking soft drinks anymore.
    I’m not going to lie, It is not so easy to maintain after all these years, sometimes you smell the gas coming out of the bottle and hmmmm.
    I just scream to myself: THANK GOD I DON’T DRINK THIS ANYMORE. I remember after one year without drinking I tried to drink Sprite and was an awful experience.
    My body couldn’t understand what I was drinking. I felt an horrible sensation and couldn’t stop burping. And from that day forward I knew, no more soft drinks in my life.
    And this is good my fellows. So this is it, if you want to stop, just change your habit.
    At this month I started with “no-more-oreos” (or anything like), And I’m doing really great.
    I should probably be working and not reading HG hehe. And sorry for my bad english.

    Anonymous | 2/02/2012 10:02 am
  15. My sister saw this article and sent it to me because I am a super coke addict. I’m attempting to get off coke for the second time in my life ( I did a 4 month off of it for a project in college) And now I’m doing it so I can be healthier and to not gain any more weight for when I go to some friends’ weddings in April and May. But, you said it like it is, whether diet or regular coke, it’s true statements. Awesomeness for staying off of it! I hope I can do the same!

  16. So glad to hear I’m not the only one! I quit regular Coke (and all pop, actually) right about the same time, for pretty much the same reasons. It’s been really hard, but I feel great! I just turned 19 in December, and I’ve decided not to drink any pop again until my 21st birthday. I think the pop will be a priority over any alcohol. ;)

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

  18. 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!

  19. 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.

  20. 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.