I love Diet Coke. And I mean I love it. I love the sharp bubbles tickling my nose. I love the sweet but not too sweet taste on my tongue. I love the little pick-me-up from the caffeine.
Our love story started back in college, when like most students, I wanted a caffeinated drink to fuel my all-night study sessions and get me through my early morning classes. I flirted with coffee and energy drinks, but I found my true love in Diet Coke.
Now, I’m no longer a student, and I don’t pull all-nighters. I probably couldn’t even if I tried. Instead, I’ve joined the masses and have a boring old 9–5 job. Yet, there is still a place in my life for Diet Coke.
It’s the perfect lunchtime accompaniment, whether I’m eating a salad or a sandwich. It’s also great first thing in the morning to really wake me up and get the day going. And in the afternoon, it helps me get through that 3pm slump. Really, anytime of day, you can find me enjoying a nice cold Diet Coke.
But Diet Coke and I, we have a love-hate relationship.
Because while I love Diet Coke, I know my body does not. I’ve read the studies, heard the warnings, and I agree. Diet Coke is not good for me.
I just can’t seem to quit it.
I’ve been trying to give up Diet Coke for a few years now. I start strong, avoiding the stuff completely. Replacing it with seltzer or tea. And for awhile, I’m good. It’s no problem. Easy.
But then I feel it. The call to drink the Diet Coke. And I relapse. Again and again.
I’m not sure why I can’t seem to give it up for good. You’d think it would be easier. And I’ve tried every method.
I’ve tried cutting back. Slowly limiting my intake. But I don’t do well with restriction. So I try cutting it out cold turkey. This usually works for awhile, but it doesn’t seem to stick.
Yes, I know caffeine is a drug. But it’s not cocaine. The worst of my withdrawal is a bit of a headache. So why can’t I quit?
This time, I’m quitting. I swear.
The truth is I don’t really want to quit Diet Coke. I still love it and want it in my life. Right now, I’m looking at the Diet Coke sitting on my desk next to me and I’m already dreading the last sip. But I know that my relationship with Diet Coke has gone on long enough. We need to break up.
This Diet Coke will be my last.
I think the reason I haven’t been able to give up Diet Coke in the past is because I never had a good enough reason. It wasn’t having major consequences on my life, so the benefits outweighed them. I couldn’t see the negatives.
I knew I should give up Diet Coke, but I never really wanted to. But now something’s changed. Now I have a real reason.
Here’s the key to quitting.
My husband and I are in the process of trying to have a baby. The emotional and physical demands of this process could fill a whole other post, but I’ll save those for another day.
The prospect of being pregnant, of being responsible for another life besides my own, has me rethinking my Diet Coke addiction. Because if I can’t quit for my baby, will I ever actually quit?
And I really want to be pregnant. I so desperately want to have a baby, and I want that baby to be healthy. I don’t want this feed this baby Diet Coke while he/she is inside me. This baby is still just hypothetical but I already love him/her more than I love Diet Coke. And that’s saying something.
And it goes beyond pregnancy. I don’t want my child to have a mom who’s addicted to Diet Coke. I want to set an example. I want my child to see healthy habits in action. I want him/her to emulate my healthy habits, not my bad ones.
So here I am once again. Quitting Diet Coke. I know my track record hasn’t been great, but I’m hoping that this time will really be the time. That today I really have drank my last Diet Coke. And this time, I won’t look back.