Still Kicking the Coke

Back in November, I made the decision to stop drinking soda. By my calculations, I was drinking 420 ounces of soda a week at home. I made the decision to give up soda in my house. So – how’s it been going?

Well, the first week was the absolute worst, and I only cut out five sodas or about 100 ounces. I had major withdrawals which meant lots of headaches and extreme tiredness. It stunk.

After the first week, things started getting easier. I cut down to two sodas a day (or 280 ounces a week), and stayed there for three weeks. The first of the three weeks was when I reduced my intake. After that, it was Thanksgiving and then I traveled to San Diego. I didn’t want to reduce during those times. There was a lot going on, and I thought it was best to stay strong than fall off the bandwagon. For three weeks I held tight.

Now I’m back to reducing. Last week my goal was 12 sodas, but at the end of the week I had 9  1/2 (so around 190 ounces). I also had withdrawals last week, but I’ve figured out how to tackle them. See, I have reached a point where I hardly crave coke anymore. If I do, I can wait ten minutes and the feeling will pass. I was getting up in the morning and going on about my day and not drinking any soda. By early evening I was having withdrawal symptoms again. This went on for 2-3 days. Finally, I just started drinking a coke at breakfast. Problem solved. Drinking the coke first thing in the morning seems to keep the withdrawal symptoms at bay and I’m not having any issues with craving coke later on in the day.

Since last week was a bit rough, I decided to not actively reduce my soda intake this week. I’m staying at my allotted 12 cokes for the week, but as of today I have had five (which includes the one I am drinking for breakfast right now). I’ve got the withdrawal symptoms to disappear which means that next week I’ll be reducing again.

This process is a lot slower than I thought it would be, but I’m good with that. The point is to get myself off soda, and I’m definitely moving in that direction. I’ve already reduced by around half or a little less. It depends on how much soda I actually drink (what I allow myself vs. what I actually consume).

I’m currently not noticing any major physical changes although mentally I feel better with less coke (unless I’m having withdrawals and then I can’t think straight). My chocolate cravings went up for a bit last week, but now they seemed to have stopped. I went with it and let myself eat a bit of extra chocolate.

My advice to anyone wanting to kick a soda habit: Know that the first week (or possibly two!) will be rough, but once you get over that hump it gets better. Go slow. Set goals for yourself that you can do.

Goodbye Coke (Again)

Practice Bikram long enough, and eventually you will start to adjust your diet without anyone telling you. It’ll be something you just want to do because you know it’ll make your life and your practice better. For me, the time has come to ditch the soda – for real this time.  I am kicking my coca-cola habit. I tried to get it jump started before, but then I got all anxious about the competition and bottomed out a bit. I didn’t do too bad. It didn’t get any worse, but it also didn’t get any better. Now that the competition is over, I feel like I have the brain space to do this.

I started off by laying a few ground rules. First, at the moment, I get to drink two cokes a day. One coke is 16.9 oz so about 34 oz of coke a day. When I’m eating out (which is honestly once a week at best) I am allowed to have a coke, and it doesn’t count.  Why? My goal here is to first get rid of the coke within my house. I’m not going to worry about the cokes I drink when I eat out or go to a party or something like that. This is hard. I have to set some realistic boundaries.

I figured I would make it through the first week and then lessen the amount of coke I drank at home each week until I got down to zero. I promptly proceeded to modify my rules on day four (today is day six if you’re curious). Days 1-3 were fine. I drank my two cokes each day. I didn’t have any major cravings or freak outs. Then day four hit. My two cokes were gone by 1:00 (maybe noon – and I was gone for class from 8:00-11:00! What does that tell you?). I desparately wanted another one. So I did a re-evaluation of my coke program and concluded I could have another one.

Here’s what I figured out:

I’m used to drinking three 16.9 oz cokes a week or 21 cokes a week. By reducing my intake to two a day, I’d cut out 1/3 right from the start. Maybe that was too much. Maybe I had overshot a bit. No biggie. I decided I could refine my plan and reduce by one bottle a week. So for week one, instead of having 21 bottles of coke I would have 20. Easy. I made a chart that showed how many bottles of coke I had each day. For days 1-5, I have consumed 11 so I am way under my goal. In fact, I told Mark that if I had two cokes today (Day 6), that would put my total at 13 meaning I could have seven cokes on Wednesday.

Just kidding. Although it does sound like a nice reward.

Seriously though, I am treating this like I did when I made the switch over to being a vegetarian. I’m setting a realistic goal – although for the cokes it’s weekly and not monthly -and then adjusting at the end of each week. I think once I decided I could have 20 cokes this week – instead of 21 – I relaxed into it a bit because I knew I could accomplish that. I’ll see what I hit when I go to bed on Wednesday and then readjust my goal for the upcoming week.

No caffiene headaches yet, but I do know one thing. I will miss my coke. But the time has come. It has to go.