I got a question from a new reader named Allison, who learned about me from the Half Size Me podcast. Let’s see what Allison wants to know!
Did you have any food addictions that you had to get past on your journey? Caffeinated drinks are my kryptonite. They include Starbucks peppermint white mocha, Dr Pepper, and caffeinated Crystal Light. How did you reduce your caffeine intake?
Great question, Allison! When I started my efforts to lose weight, one of the big things that my mentor Richard Simmons pushed me to do was give up soda. I was drinking 6-8 cans of diet soda daily. Even though that added exactly zero calories to my system, there are compelling reasons to give up diet soda (and other beverages, like the ones that Allison mentioned). One is to help curb other sweet cravings – something I definitely have – and here’s another one: studies have shown that diet soda drinkers eat more calories on their plates.
I weened myself off of diet soda over the course of a couple months. First, I started drinking more water, to remove thirst from the equation. I had a half-gallon jug that I kept at my desk at work, and I filled it twice every day. Not being thirsty didn’t eliminate my desire for diet soda, though, so I satisfied that need by diluting Crystal Light packets much more than recommended. I bought the individual packets, but instead of adding them to a 20-ounce water bottle, as directed on the package, I would dilute them into one of those half gallon jugs. That way, I would get a bit of the added flavor, but it still felt like I was drinking water.
At first, I was drinking two half-gallon jugs of heavily-diluted Crystal Light, plus a can of diet soda or two in the evenings. After a few weeks, I was able to ditch the soda altogether. A few weeks after that, I switched one of the half-gallon jugs to straight-up water. A few weeks after that, I was drinking only water. When I really wanted something different, I would drink unsweetened iced tea.
I went a long time – a year, probably – during which I barely touched diet soda at all. I now have a much better relationship with it. I never buy it for my house. The only time I drink diet soda at home is when I make it with my SodaStream, maybe about once a week. I sometimes drink diet soda at restaurants (along with water, too), and I’m a sucker for the new Coke Freestyle machines that I see at movie theaters, convenience stories, and restaurants, because they have more flavors of diet soda in one place than I could ever imagine, so I’ll drink that, too.
I’d say 80-90% of the liquid I consume on a weekly basis is water. Plain water. And I still aim for a gallon of water a day, as well!
Chugging some water after my pool workout last weekend.
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Keep it up, David!