I am not a big drinker. I only ever drink on social occasions and never keep alcohol in my house. I’ve never tried drugs nor touched a cigarette. There hasn’t even been a particular food I’ve developed a major love of that I have to eat it every day. So my addiction was not any of those nasties. But it was still a very bad one.
My addiction was diet soft drink. Pepsi Max was my drink of choice although Diet Coke was a close second. I remember when I was growing up my mum drank Diet Coke on some occasions and I developed a liking to it as well. When I tasted Coke, it was yucky in comparison. I can honestly say I haven’t had more than five Cokes in my life. Even when Coke Zero came out I didn’t like it because it had that same Coke taste.
But DIET Coke or Pepsi Max on the other hand…… I LOVED the taste and I’m ashamed to say I have consumed THOUSANDS of these drinks in my life. Yes, I’ve done the maths and I do mean thousands. In my 20’s, I don’t think very many days passed when I did not drink at least one. In the last few years I was drinking about two cans of Pepsi Max a day – more on weekends.
I was totally addicted. I had to have my fix. That first grab of the cool can, the sound of the ring pull followed by the gentle fizz of the liquid all was a part of the experience. It was a way to wind down at the end of the day. It was a drink I’d have when going out to lunch or dinner. I’d grab one out of the vending machine at school on the way to a staff meeting. Every second week with the groceries, I’d buy a carton of 24 Pepsi Max cans. If I didn’t have any at home, I’d buy the carton, then have to also buy a cold bottle too so I could have one straight away when I got home! Just so I didn’t have to wait for the cans to get cold in the fridge. Yep – I was bad! Oh the shame!!!!!
Even when I was losing weight, this addition was the one thing that remained. It had no calories so I thought it wouldn’t affect my weight loss. When I was having shakes, boring grilled chicken meals, counting points or calories, Pepsi Max would get me through because it was that one ‘treat’ I was still allowed. No weight loss program said I couldn’t drink it so I just kept slurping it down every single day.
Until the day I signed up for Ashy Bines Bikini Body Challenge. Last year in July I signed up for this challenge which was 10 weeks long. There were exercise sessions each day and some ‘clean eating guidelines’ to follow. As I read through these guidelines in the days before I was to start, I read the following under the Big No-no’s section –
“No cordial, fizzy drinks or energy drinks or juice.”
I thought that was okay because she surely just meant the sugary soft drinks. Not the diet ones. Then I turned to the FAQ’s page.
Q. Are diet/sugar-free soft drinks still okay?
A – NO. You need to train your brain so that when you see the word ‘diet’ you think of chemicals and artificial sweeteners which are unhealthy for your body. Soft drinks in particular contain sweeteners which still trick your body into thinking it is sugar and will spike your insulin and basically result in weight gain. It is also hard for your digestive system and blood to absorb nutrients when you feed it unwanted chemicals. STAY AWAY!!!
Oh shit. I was pretty devastated. I’m a good girl who doesn’t break the rules and when I start something new I put everything into it. I knew this was time to give it up. It was a Friday and I had 7 cans of Pepsi Max in the fridge and I started the challenge on Monday. So I drank three cans on Saturday and the last four on Sunday.
I have not had a drop of soft drink ever since!
I’m not going to say it was easy. It was tough – especially those first two weeks. I craved it all the time and wanted it so bad! Having soda water with dinner helped a bit. I’d make sure I had drunk over 2 litres of water throughout the day, then I poured a glass of bubbly soda water/sparkling water to have at the end of the day. In that third week I stopped wanting soft drink as much and I started to notice how much better I was feeling. I was sleeping better and had no headaches. By drinking that stuff every day for so long, I’d forgotten what it felt like to be a normal, hydrated person. Feeling better really helped me stick with it and when that 10 week challenge finished, I thought – I’m just going to continue not drinking it. I was also finding out so much more about artificial sweeteners and all the harm they can cause.
Only a couple of months ago, I read somewhere (I can’t remember where) that there is so much sugar in a can of coke, that if you just drank that sugar in water, your body would reject it and you’d vomit. Your body cannot handle that much sugar at once. So what the manufacturers do is add in chemicals that help your body keep it down in your stomach. So now you’ve not only poured a huge excessive dose of sugar down your throat, it goes down with a bunch of synthetic chemicals. Healthy huh? So that got me thinking – in the case of diet drinks, there would be just a double dose of the artificial chemicals (Aspartame is the worst) with additive qualities that cause harmful side-effects to your body.
It has now been 14 months since my last soft drink. My treat drink at the moment is kombucha. But that drink is a whole post on its own!!! I am super proud of myself for giving up the soft drink and the health benefits my body has gained since have been tremendous. Now it disgusts me to look at that browny bubbly liquid. We were never meant to drink it. That stuff does not belong in our bodies. I kicked its artificial, fake, addictive, poisonous ass and I’m not going back.