First of all, we all know this. It's not a secret. Soda is not good for you. Not regular soda, not diet soda. It's just not.
I may have told this story before, but just in case you missed it I'll tell it again.
Last year (Jan. 2012) one of Maya's teachers had her class choose a healthy challenge. It could be anything at all related to bettering your health. In January, Maya chose to give up eating out and met her goal without a problem. In February, she chose to stay fast food free (sit down restaurants were ok) AND she was going to give up soda for the month. Honestly, I didn't think she would make it through the entire month without soda. On Feb. 11th we went out to eat at Texas Roadhouse on our way to a college basketball game. Much to my surprise, even at a restaurant, she resisted the urge to order soda and had water with lemon.
I thought to myself, "Ok Self, if your 16 year old can give up soda for the month, you can too!" I remember sitting in the parking lot after lunch and telling her how proud I was of her for sticking to it and that I was going to finish out the month with her for the no soda challenge.
At first, it was HARD. I mean H-A-R-D. For years I had been drinking a can of Diet Coke as soon as I woke up in the morning. Another one by lunch. Another in the afternoon for a "pick me up"
and sometimes another one right after. Usually another one with dinner. And always one in the evening.
If we were out running errands I would stop at a gas station and get one of the huge fountain sodas. If we were out shopping I would grab a Diet Coke from one of the refrigerated coolers near the registers.
If I was grocery shopping I would always grab a case of Diet Coke because it seemed like I was always "running low".
At first, I missed it a lot. Craaaved it! There were days that I didn't know if I was going to make it until the end of the month. I posted on Facebook about how hard it was several times. I complained a lot to my family about how hard it was. Sorry.
But then one day I didn't wake up wanting one. It wasn't until later that morning when I realized, "Hey. You didn't wake up craving Diet Coke!".
Once the addiction to whatever the heck is in Diet Coke that makes you addicted had passed, I realized what I was really missing wasn't Diet coke, it was the carbonation. Especially with things like pizza and popcorn; two of my favorite foods ever. After a little Googling to see what other people were using for substitutes, I went on a search for carbonated or sparkling water. (More on carbonated water below)
At the end of February when the challenge ended, I decided to stick to it and see how long I could hold out. Maya, on the other hand, was super excited to go back to soda! But after a few weeks of drinking soda again, she decided to give it up again. We are both soda free now! If only we could get Todd and Evan to quit drinking that stinkin'
sugar filled poison Mountain Dew all the time!
As time went on, I was surprised that it just kept getting easier and easier. The habit that took the longest to break was walking past the soda aisle and not thinking, "Do I need to pick up Diet Coke?" Or walking past those coolers by the register and just grabbing one. Now I walk past the soda and think, "You have no hold on me, Diet Coke!" mwahhahaha
After a few months passed I started thinking that I could really NOT drink soda ever again. I committed to it and I haven't had a soda since then. Not even a drop. 2/11/13 was my 1 year no sodaversary!
There are times when I wonder what else I could give up? I haven't tested any other theories and I'm not sure I want to. I don't think I am addicted to any other food/drink the way I was addicted to Diet Coke. I eat some processed stuff, but overall, I think I have a pretty balanced diet and choose mostly healthy foods. For now, I'm ok with my diet. (When I say "diet", I don't mean that I am on a "diet", because I'm not. I eat the way I eat because I think it's what is best for me. I plan to eat this way for the rest of my life. That includes plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, limiting those starchy carbs and I even allow myself the occasional week with too many sweets.;) )
On to what I DO drink:
Mostly, I drink plain ol' water.
I use this Brita dispenser and keep it in my refrigerator. It takes up quite a bit of space, but for the amount of water my family goes through in a day, this is what we need. I refill this once a day (sometimes twice).
I drink coffee every morning. 2 or 3 cups.
I drink a fruit smoothie or a protein shake a few times a week.
I have carbonated water every couple of days and you should know, some brands are better than others. If you make the switch, you have to remember that you're not going to get the same taste as you do from soda. Try the different brands and see which one you like. Please remember that the syrup-y sweetness is not there. It's still water. ;) But it is a soda substitute that works for me. It may be an acquired love for some of you. ♥
I am fortunate that I have always liked water. I know some people don't have that same good fortune.You can add fruit or even cucumber to flavor it, but I like my water plain, preferably cold.
My favorite carbonated water is by La Croix. They offer several flavors but my favorite is Berry. I've had grapefruit, plain, orange and cran-raspberry and like them all, too. But just like with fruit, berries are my favorite!
Another brand I like pretty well is Ice Mountain sparkling water (I tried to link their website but their site isn't working). I've had lemon and lime flavor; both are good! The great thing about this brand, I'm able to find this at convenience stores or the little coolers near the checkout at Wal Mart, etc.
One more brand that I really like is Trader Joes sparkling water; my favorite flavor is raspberry lime. Other flavors are good, but the raspberry lime is delish.
For something different, once in awhile I have unsweetened iced tea with a packet of Truvia or Stevia drops. I also like Vitamin Water Zero (lemonade is my fave) also Powerade Zero. I don't drink these very often, but they are something you can have that is different than water. If you're giving up soda and you just can't stand to drink plain water, this is certainly better than soda.
I don't like to use food/drink with aspartame. Personal preference. I'm not saying I NEVER have it, it's just one of those things I try to avoid.
Since I've changed my eating/drinking habits over the last couple years, I find that I just don't crave sweets like I used to. I'm not a big dessert eater any more. Again, I don't want to say that I never have sweets (because that would be a big fat lie), but I can honestly turn down a plate of cake easier than I can a basket of bread!
I really do believe that giving up soda was a huge factor in that constant craving for sweets/junk food. When I have been eating too many sweets or chips, etc., I want more and more and more and more. Same thing happens with soda! I really try to limit those junky, empty calories because they bring out monster cravings, for sure.
Take last week with the cookies, for example. Once I had three on the day I baked them, I wanted MORE. And I had more. Yes, I tracked and counted every single one. And I didn't eat a dozen at a time. ;) But I know I had a lot of calories last week that were nothing more than empty crap that provided no nutritional value and did nothing but leave me feeling hungry. And that's not good. I don't feel good when I eat like that. But sometimes shiz happens, ya know?
I'll be honest, I'm not too mad about the fact that I ate them. I ate them and I tracked them. Me, 3 years ago, would've eaten way more than I did and wouldn't have kept track at all. I bet I would've eaten at least half of the batch over two days time. So, even though I ate more cookies than I should have, I was still in control. I didn't go all crazy and binge on cookies and dip them in peanut butter. C'mon, you've done it too. Right? No? Just me? Hmmm.
Seriously though, every now and then you are just going to eat too many chocolate chip cookies. I'm living a real life here. I mean, I GAVE UP SODA! ;) I don't eat cookies every day. Or even every week. I'm giving myself a pass for last week.
Anyone else up for a no soda challenge? Maybe for a week? A month? Longer? YOU CAN DO IT! I know you can! Believe me, if ** I ** can give up Diet Coke, YOU can do it too! Leave a comment telling me how long you want to challenge yourself and I will follow up with you to see how you're doing. Don't forget to leave your email address in the comment OR drop me an email with your name/email address so I can contact you. (honeyishrunkthemom at gmail dot com. There is a link at the bottom of this post or up in the top right you can find the email me button.)
One last thing!
I'm not a huge "let's make a big deal out of Valentine's Day" girl. I like to let the people I love know that every day. But there's nothing wrong with a special day to focus on that. Just like a birthday. We all enjoy days where we feel extra special. There's nothing wrong with that! So to you sweet folks who read my blog and take the time to comment, thank you! I appreciate you all more than you know. :) Have a great day!