Anyone that reads the past posts knows that the one thing I struggled with the most in getting ready for this experiment was getting over my diet soda obsession: Coke and Sprite Zero to be exact. Going from 8-12 cans of that stuff a day (yes, a day) to none ever just seemed so daunting. Fortunately in August I was tripped over the solution in the form of my week long trials for each of the diets. I have been happy to report that from August 18th until last week I didn’t have a single diet soda of any kind. Last week that record came to an end, but at least I have some lessons learned out of that too.
Up until now I’ve been able to successfully replace all my diet soda consumption with seltzer and mineral water consumption. Whereas I was using the Zero’s as both a “food” and an emotional crutch when I got stressed (the last stop before full blown junk food emotional eating), I had mostly supplanted that with just drinking more seltzer/mineral water. Every once in a while I would get an urge so great that I would really want the Zero, so instead I’d have one (just one) regular Coke. That was still only once in a blue moon.
Unfortunately this week I was working in a place that had no seltzer water, which I didn’t find out until I got there. My schedule didn’t let me have time to go find some so I tried to just make due with bottled water. However a combination of everything being pretty stressful and hectic and not having any fizz at all meant that when an afternoon break came along I decided I was going to just suck it up and drink a damn Coke Zero.
Like one of those cigarette smokers that relapsed after years of being off the stuff by just having one puff one night at one party, I was really afraid that I’d sip a little bit of it and by the time I got home I’d be on the train to having a few more. I actually felt guilty breaking the seal on the can, having abstained from having any of this stuff for over 100 days. Not breaking that streak really held me back, but I was about to undo it all. Down went the first sip, not gulp. I always chugged the stuff but for this whole can I really just couldn’t do more than sip it. Unlike the formerly refreshing burst of flavor in my mouth, followed by a nice cola flavor, all I tasted was the same artificial chemical flavor that I always hated about Diet Pepsi, Diet Coke, et cetera. Granted it wasn’t as bad as those, but it was coming in a really close second.
I did end up finishing that can but that was all I had that day. Friday was another long, but not so hectic day. Still, my limited stash of seltzer was gone by lunch time and by mid afternoon I was going to have to choose just bottled water or a Coke Zero. It was incredible how much easier it was to reach it, after all I just had two days a record now, so I didn’t mind. This can didn’t taste so bad as the one two days before. In fact, by the time I got done that second can it had started tasting a lot more like I remembered and was even somewhat refreshing. I sort of took in that maybe I didn’t have to abstain from it on all these diets after all, maybe I’d just limit myself to one a week, or maybe one a day…
At that point I could tell the trap I was walking into for myself. So not only is it back to cold turkey for me, but I also am going to make sure I don’t run out of seltzer or mineral water; especially on days I know that are going to be long and/or stressful.