How to Kick Your Diet Soda Habit for Good

I’ve been obsessed with diet soda since I was 16-years-old. They had it in the vending machines at my high school. Before long I was bringing dollars to buy a 20-ounce (maybe two) every day. And I’ve kept that up for 18 years. In fact, it’s escalated. It’s not unusual for me to go an entire day without drinking a single drop of H2O.

Diet soda is my kryptonite… my Achilles’ heel… my addiction. But I’ve decided co-saboteurs caffeine and aspartame have kept me chains long enough. I’m finally ready to kick my nasty diet soda habit once and for all.

Here are some tips you can borrow from my gameplan.

Think about your health – and SKIN!

Yes, I will lead with scare tactics about health repercussions because the research on diet soda is pretty grim. According to Healthline, “studies have linked diet soda to type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and an increased risk of stroke.” Diet soda has also been linked to kidney disease, preterm delivery, childhood obesity, and a wide range of other health issues. It’s not exactly the elixir of life you want to be drinking on a regular basis.

Honestly, the health risks go “in one ear and out the other,” as my dad would say. Sad, but true. What does give me pause is when an esthetician says, “Are you drinking enough water? Your skin looks so thirsty!” Those comments send me straight for the bottled water. At least there’s a silver lining to being shallow once in a while.

Truth be told, my skin is probably the biggest reason I’ve gotten serious about quitting.

It looks parched, and diet soda definitely isn’t doing me any favors in that department. Giving up diet soda is important for myriad health reasons beyond external vitality, but hey, I’ll use whatever motivation I can get.

Have alternatives at the ready

I don’t like the taste of plain water. I can’t help it; it’s so boring. I need more mouth pizzazz, ya know? Since I’m always thirsting for a little sweetness in my beverage, the only way I’ve been able to wean myself off of diet soda is to have a delicious alternative at the ready. My taste buds had never found a suitable replacement before, so I’d wind up going back to diet soda for the taste. (Wow, it’s humbling to realize you’re such a simple creature.)

These failures have taught me that there are two crucial factors to successful substitution:

  1. You have to actually like the replacement
  2. You have to make it easy

Last month, I stocked my fridge with four cases of hint water® and inadvertently proved this theory. First of all, I love the light, refreshing taste of hint’s different fruit-infused flavors. Secondly, having it in my fridge and at the ready when I woke up made it the path of least resistance, thus I drank a lot more water (and less soda) until it was gone. Thirdly, I discovered that hint has a caffeinated water (still no sugar), which was super helpful in giving me that caffeine kick that diet soda usually serves.

Oh, and by the way, Quench readers get 30 percent off their first orders of hint® water when using this special link. So go ahead, swap that diet soda for a healthier alternative.

photo via courtney kocak

This made me realize that my best hope of usurping diet soda as my primary source of hydration (yikes!) is to become a hint subscriber. Signing up for a subscription not only saves money, but putting delivery on autopilot makes it effortless, and thus easier to sustain.

Make it game by tracking water intake with an app

So I figured out substitution is the key to breaking a bad habit. Now I have to get that new habit – in this case, drinking more water – to stick. It’s 2018, so it will come as no surprise there’s an app for that.

Turns out there are a ton of free water tracking apps, but my best friend turned me on to Plant Nanny.

quit diet soda

image via plant nanny on itunes

The basic premise is you have to drink enough H2O to keep the adorable plant on the app alive. It brings some much-needed excitement to the otherwise tedious tracking process.

I give it five stars: Gamifying your water intake is both fun and effective.

Challenge yourself to quit for 66 days

I think I’ve established that when it comes to diet soda, moderation isn’t in the cards for me. All past attempts to cut back or even go cold turkey have drifted back to 24-7 consumption. So how do I successfully diet soda and energy drinks out of my life for good?

Science says that it takes approximately 66 days to make a new habit (and thus break an old one). Central to any addiction recovery program is the “one day at a time” philosophy. Surely I can go 66 days – just over two months – by adopting this mantra. After that, I’ll be in the routine of a soda-less existence, so I won’t have to fight my instincts so hard.

Go public with your resolution

Research has shown that sharing your goals and progress publically (say, on Facebook or by telling friends) can help motivate you to succeed by creating accountability, satisfying the human need for social connection, and providing positive reinforcement.

I’m making my public declaration now. Commit to this challenge with me by stating your intention on social media. Let’s quit for 66 days and see how we feel. It’s tough to beat Mother Nature, so my guess is that our bodies will be healthier and our faces will reflect that, as well. The potential for glowing skin alone is worth the experiment… which is why I’m saying “adiós diet soda y hola agua” effective immediately!

About the Authorcourtney-kocak

Courtney Kocak is a writer on Amazon’s Critics’ Choice-nominated animated series Danger & Eggs. Her other bylines include the LA Times, Bustle, xoJane, LadyGunn, Nerve, and many others. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter @courtneykocak.

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