Saturday, December 6, 2008

Diet Coke and Other Evil Habits

I'm quitting Diet Coke...specifically Diet Cherry Zero. If you're a diet Coke drinker, you have to try this. Or maybe not, since it's a tough habit to break.

I've tried to quit carbonated beverages before with little success, buying flavors I don't like, substituting diet green tea or Crystal Lite, but that never lasted long.

I read on a writer's loop that carbonation leached calcium from bones. That was scary, so I researched it, finding that the only legit study showed some loss of calcium only with cola drinks. So I tried again, but cola has the kick that goes with the fuzz I love with soda, dammit. No one's taking that away from me! Soon my consumption doubled, as if to make up for lost time, and it was ALL the hard stuff, baby.

Little things happened over time. A dear friend told me she seemed to have reversed some bone loss by quitting her Coke habit. I noticed how much my stomach burned after the third can of the day, and how much hungrier I seemed when I snacked with a Coke. One of my exercise teachers declared she'd quit diet Coke and was feeling better.

Then my husband ended up in the emergency room with a kidney stone. Yikes. His doctor suggested carbonated soda contributes to the problem, though the ER doc claimed that was a myth.

Suddenly, I found myself cutting back and it was easy. It wasn't the kidney stone, really, at least not consciously, but like magic, I'm drinking more water, supplementing with Crystal Lite and those new Tropicana diet orange and lemonade drinks in cans and doing fine.

I don't really miss the Coke. I drank other sodas, too--Dr. Pepper Diet Vanilla Cherry, the new flavored Frescas, Mountain Dew Code Red, etc., but I'm down from a four-can-a-day habit to one, looking to go cold turkey in a week or two.

For the life of me I can't figure out why THIS time I'm succeeding. I suspect it's something my friend--and brilliant writing coach--Laurie Schnebly Campbell calls "sizzling," which is the period of time when you want to break a habit and flip-flop back and forth, doing, not-doing, like bacon on the stove.

Over time, the urges built, the false starts strengthen your willpower until you reach the tipping point and you're IN.

They say it takes 21 days to break or begin a habit. Somehow, you've got to last that long, right? That means sizzling your way to the peak and over.

So, how do YOU do it? Got any habits you're taking a swing at? What's working? Please share. We're all in this struggle to improve ourselves. Let's cheer each other on. Your tip might be someone's tipping point!

What's next on my habit hit list? Paradise Bakery cookies. That'll take a while. I'm cutting back...maybe... Sure. Just not this week. It's Saturday, after all, and what goes better with a Netflix movie than a few freshly baked cookies and the place is right up the street...
My best wishes on your habit zone,


  1. We are carbon-based life forms. To supplement my diet, I make sure all my beverages are carbonated. You are what you consume. Would you rather be bubbly and effervescent or flat?

  2. Hey, Daph! How's it going? You're so darn spritely (I don't mean Spritely).
    Bad habits, you ask? Well, I kicked one big one: I haven't driven in almost a year. And as a reward to myself for riding my bike to the Long Beach train station every workday (even in the winter), I light up a cigarette. As you recall, that's what I would consider a balanced life.
    All best to Alex and David and, of course, you.

  3. Dear Doug! How I've missed your smart alec remarks. I remember your huge liter bottles of, what was it, Sprite or Mountain Dew? I'm all about the bubbles, you know. Let's see if I go flat...

    Ward! I'm flattered that a former ME of the Village Voice has posted on my humble blog! We need to talk. Specifically, Alex needs some advice from you. I think an earlier note from me got lost.
    My best,

  4. Oh, you're so pretty! Great picture!

    I rarely drink carbonated beverages except maybe for an occasional club soda and lime or a ginger ale if I have an upset stomach. I do drink a lot of water and green tea.

    My husband has been hooked on Diet Dr. Pepper for quite a while but he's weening himself off because he was drinking at least 15 or more a day. Yeah, no kidding!

    My secret vice are these mini ice cream sandwiches called Cuties. They are dairy free since I'm lactose intolerant. I love the chocolate chip mint. Triple yummy!

  5. I haven't drunk carbonated beverages for a long time. And I've never drank that stuff as much as I did when I was in the NDSU as an exchange student for a couple of months. When I had lessons so that I didn't have the time to go to eat any warm food before the lessons, I had to go to get some food and drink that I could eat in the dormitory later. Only choises for drinks were milk and soda pop. Now, milk goes bad if it's not kept cool and often I just didn't have the time to take the food and drink to the dorm and to the fridge before the lessons, so I had no choise but to choose the soda pop. Finally that stuff started bubble even inside my stomach. =P That was few years ago and I still don't want to drink that stuff. I couldn't understand how my room mate could drink as much soda pop as she did.

  6. Cher: I relate to your husband's problem, for sure. Cuties made my mouth water...must block out...must resist. I'm having enough trouble with cookies!

  7. You know what's really amazing?