Giving up diet coke

Luke and I made a deal over the weekend.

We agreed, that next year- if I can give up diet coke, then he will give up chocolate.

But why such a drastic deal?

This might seem ridiculous, but for us- they’re our two biggest vices, the things we love to consume the most… and they’re also horrifically bad for us.

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But how did I get here?

I’ve always had a love-love relationship with that fizzy silver can. I would think nothing of cracking open a can at around 9am and having that for breakfast instead of something nutritious. (I know…it’s shocking)

It was the partner to any meal and was always there for me as a quick energy pick me up at any time of day. I would even say that I consumed more diet coke than water most of the time. At my worst, I would be drinking a huge 2-litre bottle in a day… gross.

The fact I previously was absolutely obsessed with my weight also meant that anything that was 0 calories and would fill me up quickly was incredible. I think that this is much the case with many people with diet coke addictions. You think that this is a guilt-free ticket to still have something that tastes nice and doesn’t make you gain any weight?

Ok wrong.

Diet coke has been proven to increase cravings in the brain for real sugary treats, meaning that you’re most likely going to crash out and sugar binge at some point.

And sugar binge I did.

When I was 15 I developed an eating disorder. I’d starve myself all day whilst chucking back cans and cans of the supposedly ‘guilt free’ drink, then later crash and binge on whatever I could get my hands on, only to throw it up 30 minutes later… aided by, you guessed it; diet coke.

Looking back on it I blame my addiction to diet coke as part of the eating disordered behaviour. Everything becomes a numbers game when you’re suffering and 0 calories is a golden ticket for those who are trying harder than anything to get to their goal weight. It’s an all-consuming illness when you’ve got bulimia or anorexia, filled with ‘safe’ foods and ‘unsafe’ foods. And the diet coke, water and celery were the only things that kept me comfortable at my worst.

Unlike most other addictions, this one is a killer in more ways than one. As well as being empty calories, caffeine is one of the most addictive little bastards out there. People don’t judge you in public for glugging back a diet coke, unlike the response to cigarettes- and it’s a cheapish pick me up to grab wherever you go.

I’d managed to kick the eating disorder after starting university, with a lot of help from my boyfriend at the time and a new found confidence in myself and my own body… but my relationship with coke remained as solid as ever.

I knew all the scary facts about brain cancer in rats from the chemicals found in it, I’d already had to deal with the poor side effects of decaying teeth so that didn’t concern me. There seemed little to no motivation for me to quit. But in fact- I managed it.

For two-years after university, I didn’t touch the stuff.

I’d decided that enough was enough and I went cold-turkey.

Fucking hell it was hard at first, as not only did I have to have the willpower of steel, but I also had physical withdrawal from it. If you’re a caffeine addict, you’ll know all too well the feeling of a crash or a headache.

However, I ended up easing back in. I thought that I had been off the stuff for so long, that I might be able to get away with one can every now and then. But I was true to the word ‘addict’ and soon found myself back where I’d been before, obsessed and reliant on the stuff.

Now, let me just say that I’m nowhere near as addicted these days as I used to be as a teenager- but considering that I’m still drinking a bottle a day- that’s a whole lot of caffeine, fizzy and chemicals that I’m flooding my body with.

If you google ‘diet coke’ addiction- you would not believe the number of blogs, medical articles and ‘confessions’ that will come up, from people all across the world- who just can’t seem to get enough of it.

So, again- enough is enough.

I’ve made the deal and as of January 1st- I’m going to do my body, teeth and brain a favour.

Wish me luck!

Rach

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