When switching over to a real-food, paleo diet, one of the things so many people really struggle with is giving up the soft drinks. They’re addictive, really addictive. An awful lot of people, almost exclusively, drink cans of diet coke during the day, switching to glasses of diet coke at home.
Years ago we were told it’s fine if it’s a diet soda. They have no calories! They have “diet” in the name. They’re virtually a health food.
I’ve already written a lot about why soft drinks are so bad for us (perhaps especially the diet versions) and might even result in violence, so today – let’s get practical. If you’ve been used to drinking soda after soda – how can you quit this habit?
Well, whilst it may seem impossible, it isn’t. Honestly, you’ve got this. Here’s my 7 step guide to giving up the fizzy drinks.
1) Commit. You’ve read the reasons why soda is bad – you’ve decided you want to stop. Now it’s time to get serious.
2) Get rid. If you’ve got some soda bottles stashed in your fridge, or some cans in your draw at work, it’s time to get rid of them. You’ve got to be kind to yourself and give yourself the best chance of success – keep fizzy drinks at arm’s reach won’t help you! If you hate to be wasteful, donate them to someone who’d appreciate them.
3) Work out an alternative. I highly recommend sparkling water, at least initially (you can even carbonate your own water). The bubbles will replace the bubbles you’re used to and make it far more interesting than still water. Add in a slice of lime for a bit more flavour. Herbal teas are another great alternative and don’t need any sugar or milk to make a great drink. Kombucha is a perfect alternative too – it’s got a slight fizz and sweetness and has the bonus of being incredibly good for you. Steer clear of juices – there’s no point in replacing one sugary drink for another.
4) Keep hydrated. Make sure you don’t quit the soda in isolation – you’ve got to replace it with another fluid to avoid dehydration! Keep a note of how much you’re drinking to make sure you’re having enough.
5) Expect withdrawal. Your fizzy drink of choice may have had a lot of caffeine. Expect your body to miss this regular caffeine hit. If you want to go cold turkey, expect headaches, and know that you will get through it in a few days. Otherwise, you might choose to replace the soda caffeine with more coffee or tea temporarily. When you’ve successfully ditched the soft drinks, you can start to reduce your coffee intake gradually.
6) As a mixer? So you’re doing really well during the week – but at weekends your go-to drink is a spirit with a fizzy drink mixer? Don’t slip back – try soda water, tonic or just ice as a mixer instead!
7) Off the rails. If you really really NEED a can of soft drink, if you just MUST have some – drink a big glass of water first, and take a five minute walk. If you still really need that drink, go ahead, have a small glass, but make sure you enjoy it and don’t punish yourself for it – you can get straight back on the wagon without sabotaging your amazing effort!
Are you a reformed soft drink addict? How did you quit?