I have previously written on my battle with quitting soda and the surprisingly tough experience that this was. I recently had a reader, Jamie, write in and ask me for some more details about my experience, so I thought I would share them here as an update on the progress that I’ve made.
- My goal was never to give up caffeine entirely, just soda. My original plan was to drink sweet tea as a way to offset how much I would miss soda.
- As I have written, the side effects of giving up soda were much worse than I expected, and included weird changes in my body temperature. I was constantly craving soda, even almost a month into the process.
- After some tough reflection, I decided to also give up sweet tea, though I stuck with my morning coffee.
- Not long after giving up tea, the withdrawal and side effects diminished greatly. The cravings started to go away.
I think no matter what, giving up soda, if you’ve been a heavy drinker, is a tough experience. However, here are my top tips:
- Do not resort to drinking another sugary beverage as a replacement throughout the day. Even most of the no calorie drinks like Crystal Light use artificial sweeteners, that I truly believe made me just crave soda more.
- I’ve read many different opinions about whether you should wean yourself off or whether you should go cold turkey. I know for the amount I was drinking – somewhere in the range of 1-3 sodas per day – going cold turkey was my best bet.
- Drink a lot of water. I drank more water in a day than I would have previously thought humanly possible. One of the worst side effects was how thirsty I was constantly. I must have been pretty severely dehydrated without ever having realized it. I started to worry that I was always going to need that much water on a daily basis, but eventually I was able to pull back to what felt like a more normal and comfortable amount of water each day. It took a while to get there though.
- Stick with it. Things will probably be pretty tough for a while, and it’s easy to think it’s not worth this process to stop going through soda. However…
- The benefits of quitting are worth it. I was already a high energy person, but I have even more energy now, and I sleep better and feel more well rested.
- I’m now at the point where I can have an occasional soda (maybe once a month) and really enjoy it, more than I ever did in the past. And at that frequency, I haven’t started craving them again or missing them terribly. Now, I see it as a very special treat. However, I am trying to be very careful that this is not a slippery slope back to more frequent soda drinking, because that is always a huge risk.
If you have any other questions about my experience, please let me know and I’d be happy to answer them!