Anyone with internet access has seen the articles slamming diet sodas. They list the negative effects in a way that feels like someone is driving a nail into your coffin with each symptom.
- weight gain
- joint pain
Despite having successfully lived without it for weeks or months at a time in the past, I found myself drinking 4 or more daily again this summer. Just in case you didn’t notice the complete lack of activity here for six months, I will tell you that our transition from active duty family to retired military life was long and stressful. Stress often equated to an increase in diet soda consumption on my part over the last few years, no time more than this summer. August arrived and once again I felt I just had to have those drinks around the home.
As a woman who believes strongly in my Christian faith, I don’t believe Jesus designed us for a life controlled by any food or drink. Even if you aren’t of the same faith, can you imagine living life to the fullest involves mandatory trips to the grocery store for a drink in order to function?
The third week of August began a truly new stage of our lives. We were living in a home we had purchased, our household items were out of storage and under the same roof as us, and it seemed like we had just stepped foot onto a new territory called Retirement. If there were ever a time to make a change for the better, I figured this was it.
So I quit. Cold turkey. No soda. Again.
But something was different this time. It was like this summer and all the change it involved hit this deep, emotional chord I didn’t know I had within me. Much like the season of selling our home in Pennsylvania, this summer forever changed me because of the emotions experienced in what should have been a very business-like transition. I’ll be writing more about it all since that story could fill a book in and of itself. The point is, I knew if I’d been prepared physically to take on the changes of retirement, it would have made even difficult elements less emotional and draining.
I committed that Thursday in August to making one change a week until I had baby-stepped my way back into excellent health. Without a doubt the first change had to be leaving the diet soda addiction in my past. After a month completely free of any soda, I had about 3 over the course of the following month (with popcorn on a movie date with my husband, etc). They actually tasted horrible to me, I was shocked.
So YAY!! I quit drinking diet soda but…my life still wasn’t perfect.
Shocking, I know. But in the world of social media shares, health do’s & don’ts, advice on every www – I think we begin to assume that something like giving up diet soda is the magic pill.
We think it will be the instant gratification, quick-fix, magic cure we have been searching for to make everything better.
I quit drinking diet soda and my life still isn’t perfect, but it was the first step on a journey towards more discipline and better health than I think I have ever lived. I want to encourage you if you are trying to quit. You can do it and it is worth it.
I will be sharing a little each week about the changes I am making that are working for me. I am no doctor or health professional, just a wife, mom, and writer who believes we can live our lives to the fullest when we are healthy.
If you have quit drinking diet soda, or given up something else you felt was controlling your food choices, I’d love to have you share in the comments below to encourage someone else!