Starting on 7/8/2013 I started my attempt at cutting out artificially sweetened beverages, specifically diet soda, from my diet. I have wanted to get off this damn kick for some time and I knew I would need to do it for my diet experiment. The first phase of that draw down ends today, and I was supposed to be down to just one can a day, down from 10-12 a day when I started. After that I was going to be down to just 7 cans a week, then 6 then so on until I was having none at all. I’m happy to say that not only have I abstained from regularly drinking any diet soda or artificially sweetened beverages for nearly a month, but I’m not even tempted by it any longer.
The two weeks of diet trials really helped kick start the entire process. I was having moderate success in breaking free of the addiction, but it was so easy to jump back to trying to drink that damn stuff every time a trigger came up: stress, Chipotle (I still can’t figure that one out), social events. The week of Paleo eating gave me nearly a two week run of not having any at all. Then I tasted “just one”, which led to two just a couple days later. Then two the next day. Within a week I had trouble staying under the four a day that was on the original plan. That, plus really being curious if I could eat vegan for a whole week, led me to try yet another week eating plan. It seemed that allowed me to focus on abstaining. Sure enough that did the trick.
I haven’t regularly been drinking diet soda or artificially sweetened beverages since 8/18/2013. I had one can on 8/24/2013, but otherwise have been totally off the stuff since 8/18/2013. Not only that, I’m not regularly consuming caffeinated beverages either. I certainly do miss that little punch up some mornings, but I use that as an exercise in making sure I get enough sleep the night before and keeping my diet more in balance. What’s been great is that a lot of my habits and wiring has come undone and I’m not even craving the stuff anymore.
I spent the last week of time on travel where options for seltzer water or mineral water were scarce. There were a couple of days where I couldn’t find any of it. The craving for fizz is still there, but I don’t feel the reflex to go to Coke Zero or Sprite Zero. Instead I crave just the seltzer water. I can live with that. By far it’s a better crutch than any of the alternatives, including the Zero products. The great realization for me was when I had no options besides water, Coke Zero or Sprite zero and the Zero options didn’t draw me in at all. There was no impulse to reach for it. There was no imagining how good it would taste or how refreshing it would be. I just didn’t have the interest. I was really pleased with the progress.
Complacency is an easy thing to fall into however. It wouldn’t take much for me to once again “just have one” and then the next thing you know the entire thing is flying back to full force again. I’m therefore going to continue tracking, but since it’s pretty much licked for now it’s not something I intend to share a public graph with or blog about. Instead I’ll just add that to the list of things that I’m tracking and trending.