I've been addicted to Diet Coke for more than 20 years. It started when I was in college. I didn't drink coffee so I used Diet Coke as my source of caffeine when I was studying. I figured it was okay to do because it has no calories. Soon, I was drinking Diet Coke in the mornings as well as evenings. Since then, with the exception of my pregnancy, I have averaged anywhere from two to five servings a day.
Yes, I've read all the articles about the evils of aspartame. I'm sure my family has emailed me every single story. But when you're addicted, you rationalize your behavior.
In the last couple of years, I've made tremendous changes to my eating habits and have really tried to focus on eating fresh, unprocessed food as often as possible. My addiction to Diet Coke is now inconsistent with my healthier lifestyle. Last month, when my mother came to visit, she told me I looked great but was dismayed to learn I was still drinking Diet Coke.
I've tried to quit before. Several times. But each time, I felt like it was too much work to sacrifice a calorie-free beverage I enjoy when I'm making so many other changes to my diet.
So what's changed?
Quite honestly, I don't know. I think there are several factors:
1. Sodas cost money. If I spend an average of 50 cents a day to support my habit, that's $182.50 a year. Chances are good that I'm spending more than that.
2. Sodas stain your teeth. My smile is dimming with age. I just spent lots of money on my teeth and I want them to be healthy.
3. My habit was escalating. Suddenly, two cans was not enough. One day, I drank 64 oz of soda. That's way too much.
4. The carbonation causes bloat. I want my stomach to look flatter.
5. I'm ready to change.
So far, it's been 11 days. Will I never take a Diet Coke again? I'm not there. What I do want to do is make it an occasional treat instead of a caffeine crutch. In the meantime, I've started drinking coffee.