Diet Soda & Chart Update

My friend Adam asked a really great question in the comments section of my post the other day about Food Logging.  He read how diet soda was one of the first things I gave up when I started trying to lose weight, and wrote:

“Can you explain the reasoning behind giving up diet soda? I’ve heard this before, but never understood why.  One explanation I’ve heard is that when people drink diet soda, they may subconsciously feel they are therefore allowed to stray from good behavior in some other fashion.  The explanation that makes more sense to me is that by drinking diet soda, one conditions himself to crave something artificially overly sweet with a meal, which is a bad trend.  Are either of those reasons what you’ve been told?”

I’ve heard, over the years, a lot of chit-chat about how terrible diet soda is for you, although I never thoroughly researched it myself.  A quick online search turns up a few scary things to consider (as well as articles articulating the two points Adam made while asking the question):

When it came down to it, Adam, I cut out diet soda because Richard Simmons suggested I make that change.  I wasn’t a diet soda fiend before – I drank, on average, 2 cans a day – but it seemed like an easy swap to make, especially when I was just starting out and the prospect of changing my entire diet seemed overwhelming.  At the time, I wasn’t sure how successful I’d be at losing weight, but I knew cutting out diet soda was something I could definitely work on, so the idesa of making progress in that small way seemed promising.  I also didn’t quit it cold turkey – I weaned myself off of it over a month or so, and used Crystal Light as a crutch.  I would buy the single-serve packets, where you’re supposed to dump 1 packet into a 20-oz bottle of water, shake it up, and voila! You have Crystal Light lemonade or fruit punch or whatever.  Except that I would dilute one packet into 1/2 gallon of water, so the flavor (and sweetness level) was much weaker.  I drank my weak Crystal Light for months before I felt ready to switch to plain ol’ water altogether, which is mostly what I drink now (with occasional milk, juices, and teas, and very occasional alcohol).

What I’ve found, now that I stopped drinking diet soda, is that I have far fewer sweet cravings than I used to have when I drank it, and I love that.  I can remember countless times when I used to feel thirsty at work, grab a Diet Coke, and then, 1/2 hour later, feel the desire for something sweet, and before I knew it, I’d be dipping into a bowl of candy.  The few times I have had diet soda in the past few months (I drank some Diet Sprite at a wedding, mistaking it for water; and have sampled some home-made sodas from my SodaStream because I was curious), I thought it was ridiculously, revoltingly sweet, and I love that I’m no longer accustomed to the taste – it makes saying No to diet soda so much easier.

A huge part of my weight loss success has been pinpointing when and where I get easily tempted to make poor choices, and finding ways to plan alternatives or avoid those situations.  Knowing that cutting out diet soda has squashed many of my sweet cravings is all the reason I need to continue to not drink it!

Before I move on, just a friendly reminder that if you have questions for me, then ask away!  I read every comment left on this blog, so you can ask that way, like Adam did, but if you’d rather ask me something anonymously, you’ll find my email address if you click on Contact at the top of the page.


I weighed myself yesterday morning, and… I’m down another pound! That puts my weight at 237 pounds, and my total weight loss at 165 pounds!  Here’s my updated chart:

I’m on a roll!

Lastly, I gotta share my Food Logs, like I promised I would the other day.  I didn’t do it yesterday, so I have two days to catch up on.  Here they are:

Food Log for Wednesday, March 16, 2011:
–Breakfast:  2 packets instant grits; 1 big bunch of grapes
–Lunch:  1 fake chicken (Quorn) breast; assorted raw veggies (broccoli, cucumber, tomato slices), 2-3 tablespoons honey mustard salad dressing for dipping; 1 apple
–Snack:  strawberries
–Dinner:   3 oz turkey jerky; 1 egg white; 1/2 cup pretzel crisps; 6 oz nonfat peach yogurt; 1 banana
–Beverages:  2 water bottles (64 ounces); 1 glass hot tea; 8 oz skim milk; 1.5 liters water; 1 liter sparkling water

Food Log for Thursday, March 17, 2011:
–Breakfast:  2 hard-boiled egg-whites; 1 apple; 1 banana; 8 oz orange juice
–Lunch:  Big Salad (mixed greens, tomato, mushrooms, scallion, red pepper, sprouts, radishes, 2-3 tablespoons light vinaigrette); strawberries
–Snack:  celery sticks; 8 ritz crackers w 1 tbsp peanut butter
–Dinner (Hugo’s Restaurant):  The Power Of Green Salad: spinach, green chard, broccoli, green beans, asparagus, dried cherries, sunflower seeds, 2 tbsp sherry vinaigrette dressing on the side.
–Beverages:  1 liter water; 2 water bottles (64 oz each); 8 oz skim milk; 3 glasses sparkling water; 1 liter water

Keep it up, David!

9 Responses to Diet Soda & Chart Update

  1. Karen says:

    That was a great answer to the question… as a regular drinker of Diet Coke myself, I really appreciate that Adam asked this and that you spent the time to answer so thoroughly and honestly. Very interesting… it seems so innocent on the surface but if it’s sabotaging weight loss efforts, it’s just gotta go! Thanks!

  2. Tara says:

    I too gave up diet soda when I started on this journey. Not cold turkey either. Swapped it out one can at a time. Then on to crystal light. Then fruit in my water and finally water. Its been 15 months since I’ve had a diet soda. I did it because it was something I could control. It gave me tangible goals to achieve. Then something funny happen: diet soda became a horrible taste in my mouth. I took a sip a few months back and it literally tasted like a dirty ashtray. The body wants water, not chemically produced liquid. Crystal light is like a party in my mouth when I have it to shake things up. But even that is too much after one glass.

    Nice loss my friend!

  3. claudia says:

    I had given up ‘real’ soda almost 3 years ago- tried crystal light, it just didn’t work for me…went straight to water. now i will occasionally have some soda- maybe 2x per year. and I cannot believe i used to drink it as much as i did- it doesn’t taste as good and wow- it’s so sweet! My mindset on it was, I’d rather eat my calories than drink them- a bit different than diet, but if they both sabotage your diet, they would both need to go.

  4. Jeff Shelby says:

    David, I love your blog! I, too, had wondered why you dropped diet soda. I’m hopelessly addicted. Two of my doctors have told me that if drinking a lot of diet soda means that I’ll avoid sugar soda, juice and other beverages with lots of calories, and if giving up diet soda makes me totally miserable, that it’s probably best to keep drinking it but try to reduce somewhat.

    So that’s what I’ve been trying to do. Specifically I try to replace diet soda with unsweetened iced tea or iced coffee, so that I can still get the caffeine I need to function. But the problem remains that I really don’t like the taste of iced tea or iced coffee very much, and I LOVE the taste of diet soda.

    I drink tons and tons of water all day long–at least twice as much water as diet soda–so I’m not worried about getting dehydrated.

    Frankly the idea of giving up diet soda entirely is so depressing to me that I couldn’t possibly do that and simultaneously cut way back on the bad foods I love (sausage, cheese, fries, fried chicken, etc.). So I’ve decided that diet soda is an “evil” that I’m going to live with.

    By the way, I’m down 17 lbs over the last two years. Very slow progress, but at least it’s in the right direction.

    Thanks for all your inspiring posts!

    • David says:

      Thanks for the comment, Jeff, and welcome to Keep it up, David! Also wanted to thank you for providing another viewpoint on diet soda – ultimately, it seems like you’ve found a system that’s working for you, and that’s great. Congrats on the 17 pounds, and KEEP IT UP!

  5. Great post David, congrats on that incredible WL!! I rarely drink diet soda but I totally agree that the more you drink it the more sweets you crave. Your food also looks on point! :}

  6. Elisabeth Cooper says:

    I am so glad I joined. Awesome progress and stick with-it-ness. Thanks for sharing this with us!

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