Happy Friday the 13th! Anybody had “bad luck” today so far?
So, I have a major confession to make this morning. And it kind of hurts my heart a little bit.
I’ve been Diet Coke sober since January 1!!! Yes, that sweet heavenly sustenance from Heaven is no longer a part of my daily regimen.
Yep, I quit drinking Diet Coke, and all other diet sodas, as one of my big New Years Resolutions. I’ve tried in the past, but was never very serious about it and would last all of a week. But as of today, I’m happy to report I’ve made it a month and a half without a Diet Coke, or any drink containing Aspartame!
Everyone has asked me why I quit drinking Diet Coke since I love it so much, and that’s actually part of my answer. I loved Diet Coke TOO much, and was seriously addicted. Like, crazy lady addicted to Diet Coke. And when I think about how much Aspartame I was consuming, it really was quite unhealthy. I mean, “everything causes cancer and everything can kill you and yada yada yada”, and there really are worse things than drinking Diet Coke. But man, after doing a lot of research on the negative effects of Aspartame to your body, it was enough to finally hang up the habit. Plus, and more importantly, if and when we want to start a family, I knew it would be hard to stop myself from drinking diet sodas and cutting the caffeine addiction cold turkey while pregnant. Not to mention the negative effects artificial sweeteners have on your ability to conceive. And when that time does come, I want my body to be as healthy as possible. So, I figured now was as good a time as any to teach myself how to live without Diet Coke, and lower my daily caffeine intake while I’m at it.
Aspartame is the Queen Bae of artificial sweeteners. It’s bad news bears, but ignorance is bliss and I’ve always chosen to ignore the research and play the “I exercise a lot so it’s fine” card. Keeping in mind that I am by no means a Dr. with any sort of qualified knowledge on this subject, here are just a few statistics I’ve found online about the chemical:
-Aspartame is an excitotoxin or a substance that has the potential to damage or kill cells in the nervous system.
-Aspartame can change the chemistry of the brain.
-Aspartame can lead to decreased vision or other eye problems such as: blurring, bright flashes, squiggly lines, tunnel vision, and decreased night vision, as well as headaches, migraines, seizures, memory loss, irritability, weight gain, menstrual changes, fluid retention, abdominal pain, aggravated low blood sugar, brain damage, depression, epilepsy, cancer, increased hunger, lupus, MS, lymphomas, heart irregularities <— let’s just talk about how bad my short term memory is! I totally blame the DC.
-Aspartame is associated with an increased risk of Type II Diabetes
-Aspartame is composed of two amino acids, aspartic acid and phenylalanine
-In the body, aspartame is broken down into phenylalanine, aspartic acid, and methanol
-“Pregnant and nursing moms should know that babies in the womb and newborns are particularly susceptible to having aspartic acid cross the blood-brain barrier, so it’s especially advisable to avoid aspartame during these times.” <— yikes!
-It is sold under the brand names NutraSweet and Equal
-Most studies in people have not found that aspartame use is linked to an increased risk of cancer. <— supposedly!
-Safe in small doses
I do think Aspartame is like most things, not harmful when used in moderation. But when it comes down to it, I’m starting to think my body really doesn’t need that much of it in the first place, and sodas aren’t doing anything to make me healthier.
So how’s it going so far? It’s been good. The first couple of weeks were rough, and I definitely experienced a few headaches and mood swings from not getting “my fix.” But, they say it takes 21 days to form a habit, and after clearing that mark, I haven’t had a Diet Coke craving since! Sure, I would LOVE to have a DC right now, but I’m not craving it by any means, not like I was prior to this little experiment.
This Buzzfeed article perfectly summarizes the process, far better than I ever could.
In case you need help starting your own Diet Coke Free lifestyle, here are a few things I’ve found helpful for sticking with my new habit:
1. Write down your goal, tell someone, tell your spouse, etc. – there needs to be someone or something to hold you accountable!
2. Do some research! – read a bunch of scary stuff online and you’ll be more than happy to quit. The decision to quit DC has to be your decision or you won’t stick with it.
3. Find another drink to have in its place – I have been substituting more coffee, as well as having an occasional regular soda. I think more than anything I still crave the carbonation, so I’ll admit that I’ve had a handful of regular Cokes or Dr.Peppers in its place. I know a lot of people also drink La Croix.
4. All or nothing – limiting yourself to just one a day isn’t going to fix your addiction, you’re just delaying it. I eventually just had to quit cold turkey.
5. Carry a water bottle – I drink way more water when I carry my water bottle with me or take it to work. And when I’m drinking more water, I don’t typically want anything else.
Have you ever quit Diet Coke? Or something equally as ridiculous? What are you doing this weekend?