I Did a 30 Day No Soda Challenge and this is Why I'm Not Looking Back

All the way back in simpler times of February 21st of this year I started the No Soda Challenge. I say simpler because of the recent developments and won’t ramble into thoughts of what should’ve been done differently between then and now. But it was February and in my small town it was simpler times.

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For years I struggled to lose weight (I lost a bunch and then gained half of it back after a trauma in my personal life) and with a life long addiction to soda. I hail from a part of the country where it’s not uncommon to see people dilute soda (pop, soda water, Coke, whatever you call it) into their small child’s bottle. Thus, in 1989/1990 my parents did too. I’m 30 now and this has been a life long addiction that I struggled to break through my 20s. Nothing really stuck, because quitting soda sucks! It really does. I won’t sugar coat my experiences with quitting. The first week was hell. i thought I’d die before I made it to day 30. Now, it’s been 32 days and I’m going strong. More or less, but more about that later.

First, let’s break it down by days and week.

Day One: I was okay. Tired, but I started the quit the night before so I was surviving. I drank coffee and tea (no sugar or sugar replacements) and survived just feeling brain dead.

Day Two: Felt like I was going to die. Tired. Had a headache. Everything made me want to cry. I missed carbonation. I didn’t supplement it, because I tried that before but somehow it always led me back to soda.

Day Three: Hell came to my small town. Usually, what happens is I give up about this point. Quitting soda gives you heart palpitations. Even my doctor told me this, but they give me panic attacks. So, I had a panic attack that night sure I was dying not from quitting soda but from some mysterious thing. Yep, that’s how panic attacks work. Eventually, I fell asleep.

Day Seven: By the end of the first week I was in awe of the fact I stuck it out that long. I was posting on my FB author page so I had some accountability to those who followed me there. I think this was my biggest motivation. I was posting daily updates and didn’t want to fail in front of my readers. It was only 30 days after all.

Week 2: I was back to work as normal, but had so much catching up to do on The Crow King’s Heir (Book 8 of the Hemlock Wolf Pack Saga), because my first week off soda left me too brain dead to keep up with my normal word counts. So, I buckled down and worked. I still missed carbonation. It took me forever to get awake in the morning and I started dreaming about gas stations full of soda fountains. The dreams were so vivid I tasted my poison of choice: Pepsi.

Week 3: My third week of quitting soda was an exciting day. I finished my first draft of The Crow King’s Heir and a state of emergency was declared in the United States. Needless to say I wasn’t thinking much about soda at the time. I continued to make daily updates on my page, because I wanted to go on with life as normally as possible.

An old friend made a joke that she thought I’d only quit drinking soda at the end of the world… I was not impressed.

By the end of the third week I didn’t really miss carbonation anymore. I did still crave sugar at times. I’ve let myself have a couple glasses of orange juice a week. I know that fruit juice is just as bad for you with the sugar content – but it’s a happy medium for me. When I quit soda I was drinking probably 4+ cans a day. So, three glasses of orange juice a week is a huge improvement.

Week 4: I wasn’t really thinking about soda or how long I’d been quit. I was pretty sure I was done with it for good by this point. I didn’t want to waste anymore calories or money on it. Don’t get me wrong sometimes in the morning I still want the sugar.

Yesterday, I had a tiny drink of soda poured from a 20 oz bottle of a friend – freshly opened don’t worry about cooties and it didn’t taste right to me. It was like sugar beer or something. I can’t describe it. I didn’t even finish the tiny bit that was given to me. Seriously, don’t worry we practiced social distancing. She stood outside my window several feet back and we used hand sanitizer. She just wanted to check on me.

So… Why aren’t I going back?

  1. Don’t want to waste the money. It’s expensive to keep up with how much I was drinking a day. According to my QuitThat app I’ve saved just over $60 bucks so far.
  2. I’ve lost 9 lbs since quitting soda. Seriously, I’m not doing that much different. If anything I’m getting less exercise since I haven’t left the house since 3/14.
  3. I get full quicker and I’m not starving in the morning.
  4. Fruit tastes so good now – so sweet and delicious. I’ve always liked it but it’s a huge treat now when I have my daily fruit.
  5. I don’t want to worry about it during the ongoing current events.
  6. The health benefits are huge – we’ve all heard about them so I won’t list them here.
  7. I feel as if soda as I remember doesn’t exist in reality. What I remember is what my tongue with its taste buds ruined by years of soda recalls. That’s not how soda really tastes.
  8. I’ve come this far and don’t really want to give up the progress. I mean 32 days is a long time after being addicted for 30 years.
  9. My anxiety isn’t as bad.
  10. I don’t feel so stiff all over when I wake up in the morning.
  11. Quitting a 30 year habit makes me believe quitting cigarettes for good is possible. I quit last year for almost 7 months before falling back into the trap.
  12. Diabetes runs in my family. Quitting soda reduces my risk.

If you drink soda, I don’t care. lol I mean that in the nicest possible way. When I first told my friends I planned to quit – they all had the same worry: I’d nag them to quit. We all do things that are bad for us and we know we do. If you want to quit – just know you can do it. I did it. If you don’t, cheers! I’m not here to tell you how to live your life.

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