5 Practical Tips on How I Kicked my Soda Habit
This article is part of my Postpartum Health Series: Taking Care of Myself
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Over 6 months ago, I was heavily addicted to soda. Some might grin at that comment… “I’m sure you weren’t ADDICTED Brianne, you could quit whenever you wanted!” Ah… Not so sure about that friend.
Over 6 months ago, I would make food choices on what location had the “best tasting soda.”
Over 6 months ago, I could smell any soda and know what kind it was.
Over 6 months ago, I had soda during breakfast.
Over 6 months ago, I would have on average 3 glasses of soda a day.
Over 6 months ago, I would know which gas stations carried my favorite soda.
Over 6 months ago, I would leave the house in the middle of cooking (turning everything off) because I forgot I ran out of my favorite soda at home.
Over 6 months ago, if someone offered me a soda or water, I would choose soda 98% of the time. The other 2% was if I felt social awkward to choose soda (but I really really wanted it).
Over 6 months ago, I tried various different things even trying to gross myself out based on researching on how bad soda was for you, all while drinking a can of pop sitting next to me.
Over 6 months ago, I would plan out my day based on where I would be in order to drink soda.
Over 6 months ago, soda was very very much a part of my life in the most mentally inconvenient way as possible. When it started to affect my daily routine, I knew something had to give.
How did it get to be like this?
Now, I have always liiiiiked soda but not to the degree it was until I was pregnant. When I was in my 20’s, I remember I would go days weeks maybe even months without drinking it and not have a care in the world. But there I was fully pregnant and soda was one of the things I craaaaaaaaaaaaved. Each morning I would have my Dr. Pepper (Mr. Pibb was always preferred but wasn’t quite as popular as D.P.) and a chocolate banana muffin from Panera. Breakfast of champions.
My mornings without said breakfast, I felt a change. I was grumpy, crummy and downright irritated. I damn well now know that was all the high fructose corn syrup talkin’.
Yes, I knew soda is NOT good for me and it is NOT good for me when I was pregnant. But I would talk myself out of it saying things like “how many other women do the same and they are fine…” Or “my pregnancy is so horrible and this is the ONE THING that makes me happy so dammit, I’m drinking it.” And “AT LEAST IT AIN’T BOOZE”. <insert another eye roll>
Postpartum Soda Nonsense
After Gentry made his arrival, I never thought oh well the soda habit must stop now too. NOPE. Surely the whole breakfast situation ended. In fact, I got so sick of those damn muffins that I stopped purchasing them all together. But my soda habit? Nope… Surely carried on and got even worse (as noted above.) So now here I am, my son is just about to turn THREE and I am still harboring one of my PREGNANCY craves and I CAN’T JUST STOP COLD TURKEY! I mean I tried. Hard. Multiple times. And it would last for a week or so but my mind would creep back in and tell me things like “well everyone has at least one soda once in a while.” “Just do the whole 80/20 thing, drink 80% water and 20% whatever else you want like SODAAAAA.” “But those bubbles, it is just so satisfying…”
Please tell me I’m not the only crazy soda addicted person here.
When I got sick of it
It took a very long time to convince myself that this was not only possible to cut out of my diet but it HAD to be. I was going on 4 years of my daily 3+ soda’s a day and around the May of 2016 I felt I had FINALLY reached my soda breaking point. Drank all the soda I could ever want; binge on soda during my depression days. Used it as a crutch during times of stress. I knew it was a factor in my weight gain. And I just knew it wasn’t helping out my blood test results.
Then one day…
I started making some major changes in my drinking choices when one day I had to call a plumber at work for our ice machine.
Think that’s crazy? Well on to my first tip.
Tip 1: Ice + Soda Machine Gross-Out
When you are wanting to cut soda out of your lifestyle, the last place you might think to aid in your quest would be the machines that supply you with endless amounts of soda. When I called the plumber at my job to have him check out an annoying beep that the ice machine was giving out, I ended up striking up a conversation with him about the ice machine in general. Now this machine is a factory grade, stainless steel, high-output ice machine behemoth. It is a massive machine. Think of it as two refrigerators wide and deep. And all it shoots out is… ICE. And the best ice I might add… or so I thought.
So during this conversation he ended up telling me that he could tell this machine was cleaned recently. Which was baffling to me because I didn’t even THINK ice machines needed to be cleaned? After all its pure water that’s just getting frozen right? Well he opened up the machine to show me the pipes and in his words he stated:
“You see this water running through right here? Well if this machine needed to be cleaned, you can see little dark specks floating down with the water.”
My eye balls just about popped outta my head.
To my reply… “so…… what are the black specks?!”
“Dirt. Mold. Lime. All depends.”
And this is the kicker. After explaining to me the cleaning process he stated that some of the cleaning solution they use to clean these machines ends up in the ice 100% percent of the time. He said:
“Well, its food grade cleaner.”
Which I laughed because those words shouldn’t go together.
He replied, “well its funny you say that because in large quantities it actually can hurt the skin. There is a disclosure on the bottle that says it may cause skin irritation or burn the skin and we must wash our hands after cleaning the machines with it. If you ever eat ice that tastes a little bit salty, that’s the cleaner.”
I told him to take a hike. Kidding. But I was thoroughly disgusted. And then I googled to make sure this guy just wasn’t jerkin’ my chain. And sure as ish….
If you want to know what it says… clear as flippin’ day….
Danger! Causes burns. See back panel for first aid treatment. Keep out of reach of children.
Danger! Causes severe skin burns and eye damage. May be corrosive to metals.
If swallowed: Rise mouth. Do NOT induce vomiting.
And if that doesn’t gross you out enough, here are some articles to help 🙂
- 3 Gross Things You Didn’t Know Were in Your Ice Cubes (Huffington Post)
- Another Study Determines Restaurant Ice Machines Contain More Bacteria Than Toilet Water
- SLIME, MOLD, BACTERIA, BIOFILM AND YEAST ARE ALL MAJOR SOURCES OF CONTAMINATION OF ICE MACHINE AND ICE BINS. (Don’t forget to read the journal reports on this article as well)
…and that’s just the ice.
- Soda fountains contained fecal bacteria, study found
- KCTV5 Investigates: Germs growing on soda fountains
- Dr. Oz Fast-Food Secrets Revealed
The machines that dispense soda and ice are moist, rarely cleaned and full of sticky, sugary syrup, making them the ideal homes for harmful mold and bacteria. Before you fill your cup, look for built up syrup on the nozzles and mold in the ice chute. If it looks dirty, skip the fountain soda in favor of a bottled drink.
Sounds pretty basic but in all honesty, when’s the last time you thought about how clean the ice machine was, HOW it was cleaned or when the last time they cleaned the nozzles? Lost your soda-appetite yet?
Tip 2: Reverse Psychology on Yourself
I knew that if I told myself to cut soda cold turkey, just like I did numerous times before, I would FAIL. Instead, I told myself sure go ahead and drink soda while you do these other things. And when I did follow through with that, I made it a point to not feel bad about myself. I relished in the act of drinking the soda and didn’t say hurtful things to myself while I drank the soda. I think this tip alone was my BIGGEST factor in being able to finally cut it out of my diet.
Tip 3: Mental Help
I knew I had OCD tendencies but I thought it was just a figure of speech. Like everyone has those kind of tendencies right? Well I quickly realized after going to a psychiatrist for depression and anxiety that I also had OCD ingrained into my mental state. Like literally. No figures of speech. The biggest problem I have with my OCD is the fact that it interferes with my daily life and routines. From excessive hand washing… to repetitive food orders… to you guessed it…. SODA on repeat all day errrrrday. Now, I’m not saying you, my readers, also have OCD BUT if you can relate to some of the statements above, it may be something you might want to look into. And with the help of my new friend Zoloft, my OCD is still there but it definitely doesn’t disrupt my daily activities any longer.
Tip 4 : Pound Water
Okay so I’m sure this tip isn’t shocking; it probably is in just about every other post referencing kicking a soda habit BUT I am dead serious when I tell you how much this helped me. I work in an office setting so I purchased a cup from Starbucks and dubbed it my special water cup. It was a special cup that I only filled with special fresh water. 😀 I made it a point to focus on counting how many glasses I could drink in a day. I wanted to trick my brain to focus on something other than SODA so I thought this might help. As an added perk to this, it also helps with your detox 🙂
Tip 5: Find another crutch
If you can follow through with the first 4 tips, this would just be that added bonus to help you get through 100%. So finding another crutch, aka another yummy beverage, helped me sooooo much with cravings. I kept ZERO soda in my house at all times and instead I always kept non-soda sweet drinks around (and still do!) For those drinks that did contain sugar, I made sure that it was NOT high fructose corn syrup. Also, NO diet drinks at ALL. No fake sweeteners other than Stevia. Lastly, I checked just about everything that I put in my mouth and made sure it did not have high fructose corn syrup. Here are some of my FAVORITES “crutches” that you can buy online and at your local grocery story (and most at Target):
- Bai5 Bubbles (1g sugar) – Black Cherry and Coconut are my favorite flavors – Don’t forget to clip the 20% off coupon from Amazon if you purchase! – My first clutch and one that I still love the most!
- Bai5 (1g sugar) – Clementine, Coconut Pineapple and Mango are my favorites – Don’t forget to clip the 20% off coupon from Amazon if you purchase!
- Body Armor Sports Drinks – ALL flavors are great
- Hersey’s Chocolate Syrup – ONLY the Simply 5 kind as it does not have high fructose corn syrup – (for chocolate milk)
- Starbucks Refreshers – cans or packets – I also carried these in my purse for easy access!
- Vitamin Water – NOT the “Zero” flavors!
- Lemonade + Strawberry Lemonade
- Arnold Palmer (Lemonade + Tea)
- Sweetened Tea
- Coffee creamers for some yummy coffee
- Crystal Light – only use sparingly in desperate times 🙂
Where I stand now
It has been over 6 months since my horrible soda habits have ended. When it comes to soda in my current diet, soda beverages are few and far between. After my revelations of ice + soda machines as told above, I don’t even get water in fast food restaurants. When I do go to a fast food restaurant, I simply request to have a bottle of water instead. Often times I am at a blog event or a networking opportunity where a craft soda company is in attendance and I will treat myself to one of their crafted soda’s. This is about the only time I even feel the urge to take a sip of soda. I still pound water on the daily and make my own ice cubes at work with bottled water since I refuse to use ice from our machine. (These are the amazing ice trays that I use and LOVE THEM) My crutches haven’t vanished and I Ann perfectly fine with that. My Starbucks Pink Drink still ends up in my hand especially during game sessions at lunch time. And my daily cup of coffee is still the norm. I still carry around Starbucks Refresher packets in my purse for those just in case moments and I drink Body Armor and Vitamin Waters at home often. I can tell you though, that I am 100% free from the soda addiction once and for all:)
Are you addicted to soda? What are some things that you have found to help aid you in trying to kick this habit? Would love to know… Comment below!