www.Hypersmash.com How I gave up diet soda and why you should do the same

zondag 8 februari 2015

How I gave up diet soda and why you should do the same

For 10 years I was dependent on diet soda. My drug of choice was diet coke (a.k.a coca-cola light). At an absolute minimum I would need a can a day. If I didn't have this I couldn't function. But usually I had way more than a single can. I would often buy 1.5 liter bottles and go through the whole lot in a couple of hours.

During the early years in my recovery from Lyme disease I knew that I should give up diet coke. However my consumption actually increased. It was my crutch. I was trying to work full-time whilst sleeping 2-3 hours per night. Whenever I had to give a presentation or attend an important meeting I didn't feel like I could function unless I had a diet coke beforehand.

Then one day I stopped. I had done this many times in the previous years but this time it was different.

It was still hard. The cravings were super strong. But I stuck with it. And eventually I got through the day. Then the next day. Then the next. It's now been 9 months since I had a diet coke (or any other fizzy drink). There are still times, particularly after a terrible night's sleep, when I hesitate whilst walking past a vending machine. But so far I haven't weakened and I'm determined to keep it that way.

5 reason I gave up
These 5 reasons below were the reasons I gave up diet-sodas and are what I focus on to stay strong if I'm experiencing cravings. Most of the reasons are really referring to aspartame, the artificial sweetener in diet coke and many other diet sodas.

1 - It's toxic
The initial reason I switched to diet coke back in 2004 was that I was seduced by it's message of zero sugar and zero calories. It seemed a drink I could enjoy guilt free. On the contrary there are many health issues linked to aspartame consumption. To confuse matters, some of the studies that have been undertaken on aspartame show it to be safe. However there are often conflicts of interest issues behind many of these studies.

2 - It can prevent recovery from Lyme disease
It's reported that aspartame consumption can cause relapses in Lyme disease and lock the Lyme bacteria into the body.

3 - It can makes you fatter
Some studies have shown that aspartame can increase insulin and leptin levels, which can lead to obesity and diabetes. The fact that it has 0 calories does not mean it'll help you lose weight.

4 - It's expensive
I was probably spending close to 600 euros a year on diet coke. Plus often when I bought a diet coke, I bought something to eat from the vending machine. So in effect I was spending close to 1000 euros a year to make myself fatter and sicker.

5 - I feel much better without it
Once I made it through the first week I started feeling much better. I could sleep better. I didn't go through a huge dip every day at work. My brain fog lifted.

How did I quit?

- I focused on the reasons above to keep in the front of my mind why I was stopping.

- I found a substitute (green smoothies) that gave me a lift without the bad side effects.

- I focused on getting through one day at a time.

- I drunk more water
Often I had diet coke when I was thirsty. I found that if a craving for diet coke reared it's ugly head I could defeat it by drinking water.

- I watched out for my weak spots

For me a weak spot was long car journeys where I used to use diet coke to keep me sharp. I swapped out diet coke for coffee and also pushed myself less when undertaking these journeys. If I was tired I would find a place to sleep rather than ignoring my body and pushing through it.

The first few days were the hardest. Once I made it through a week most of the cravings had gone. However occasional triggers (such as long car journeys) brought them back again. In these times I focus my attention on getting through the moment and not giving in.

In the months since I've given up diet coke my health is significantly better. It's impossible to isolate how much of this improvement is due to giving up diet coke as I've also made other changes in my diet and lifestyle. However feeling better and sleeping better are huge motivators to stay on track and aspartame free!

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