Giving up Soda

No Soda — day 1

As of today, June 03, 2009, I’ve decided to undergo a trial of no soda for 45 days. Even though I consider myself to have a healthy diet, having been a vegetarian for some time now, soda is something that I’ve always consumed on a regular basis; a “vice” of mine, if you will. Come July 18’th, I hope that by having removed it from my system completely, that soda will forever be a thing of the past for me.

It’s not so much the calories that bother me, because I usually end up drinking diet to begin with, but just the negative vibe that soda give out. The artificial sugar, for example, has raised so many questions in the medical community about its potential side effects to human health, that that’s not something I want inside of my body. I also go to great lengths to ensure my teeth stay healthy and clean, and I know soda, whether diet or regular, is one of the best things at decaying those same teeth. Finally, while soda doesn’t constitute a significant part of my budget, it’s still something I could cut back on. I could save that money and put it towards something more useful.

Since this is something I know a lot of people struggle with, I’ll keep everyone updated with my progress, as well as any useful tips I discover along the way.

No Soda — day 7

I think I can finally understand what smokers go through when they say they’re addicted to just having that cigarette in their mouth. Even though I’m by no means addicted to caffeine, having that soda with lunch or dinner has become so commonplace, that removing it seems foreign. It was like an old habit, and trying to replace it with water just made the entire meal seem out of place. During my first 3-5 days of giving up soda this struck me the hardest, but at about the week marker it seemed to get better, and I begin getting used to having water as a common beverage with each meal.

If you’re having a particular difficult time adjusting, then instead of water I recommend using a sweet beverage to replace soda for that first week or so. This can be tea or a type of sweet fruit juice, but having a beverage that’s sweet makes for a less stressful transition on the body.

No Soda — day 18

Hard to believe 18 days have already flown by, but after the 2 week mark of kicking soda, my urge for them has dropped tremendously. I noticed at around the 10 day marker my body seemed to put up a huge fight because it was craving soda so badly, but once I got past that last struggle, each day since then has gotten better and better. So far giving up soda has not only saved me money, but I’m really started to feeling more energized in my daily activities too. My water consumption has probably doubled compared to what it was, as I’ve also been cutting back on late night snacking too. I find that water, as opposed to soda, also helps any sudden hunger pangs that seem to spring out at me. If I drink a full glass of water between 9:00 – 10:00 pm then I’m usually set for the night.

Because my water intake has drastically increased, I also seem to be sleeping better at night too. I don’t know if it’s just the water itself or the removal of the caffeine by not having sodas, but I fall asleep much faster now than I ever previously did.

No Soda — day 25

As of day 25 I have ZERO urges for soda right now, as I’ve been drinking A LOT of orange juice and water lately. I don’t want to say I’ve forgotten how soda tastes per se, but it’s definitely not very appetizing to me at the moment.

No Soda — day 30

Interesting fact: Americans drink 2 cans of soda a day on average. That’s 300 – 400 calories a day, depending on the particular brand. That’s also 2,100 – 2,800 calories a week. It takes a loss of 3,500 calories to lose 1 pound of body weight, which means just cutting back on soda alone could have somebody losing almost a pound a week. Of course, many people drink diet soda, and although it doesn’t have the caloric value that traditional soda has, it certainly doesn’t provide the energy boost that water or fruit juice does, both of which can help speed up your metabolism.

No Soda — day 45

Wow, I’ve been 45 days now without having A SINGLE DROP OF SODA! I actually had a few sips of some cola this morning, and it tasted so strange I ended up pouring out half the can. There’s something about soda now that just doesn’t register well with my taste buds, and having it doesn’t provide quite the experience that it once used to.

At this point, I’m not sure I’ll even continue drinking soda in the future to be honest, at least not out of choice. Maybe here and there I’ll have some, but it certainly doesn’t interest me when going out to restaurants or having when company is over like it used to.

What benefits did I see?

-Increased energy
-Less hunger
-Slept better at night
-Reduced anxiety
-Better stamina

As crazy as it sounds, all of those represent the real results I achieved when I gave up soda for just 45 days. Replacing soda with water gave me much more energy and it even satiated my late night hunger too. (since most late night hunger is actually thirst being mistaken for hunger)

The lack of caffeine, found in almost all sodas, kept me sleeping better at night and feeling more refreshed in the morning, as well as keeping anxiety at bay. You probably won’t realize it until you take caffeine completely out of your diet, but it’s the culprit for a lot of anxiety you didn’t even know you had. Often we don’t notice it’s even there until we’ve removed it, and then it becomes obvious at just how much more relaxed we feel.

Finally, having a constant supply of water in my system left me feeling extremely refreshed, and I noticed, especially during running and biking, that my stamina was always at peak. I think this is attributed to the increase in water I was drinking, but perhaps even more so the lack of caffeine in my system. By taking that out, I was able to eliminate a major component of energy loss. Even though caffeine is seen as an energy booster, it’s one of the biggest reasons why we feel so tired and sluggish during the midday and evening portions of our daily routine.

In the end I was extremely happy with the results I faced, and even though I didn’t lose any weight from it, (I always drank diet soda) the amount of calories in soda is astonishing. If you’re looking to lose weight, I’d seriously look at your soda intake, as liquid calories can easily creep up on us. What’s worse is that most people don’t even think to include soda when logging their daily calories or thinking back to what they ate that day.

So is it worth the leap of faith to give up soda completely? DEFINITELY. I think there are few diet changes in life that can produce such profound effects, with the “sacrifice” being very minimal compared to the results achieved. I enjoy BETTER tasting beverages now AND I feel much more energized than I ever did before. What’s not to like?!