Every Day Should Be Champagne Friday

Because bubbles are more fun.

Somyr Perry

Somyr Perry
San Diego, California,
March 28
I love champagne. Well, I love alcohol, in general. Especially when I'm having a bad hair day.


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JULY 16, 2009 3:19PM

My Diet Coke Detox

Rate: 18 Flag




A few weeks ago a colleague and I were chatting over beers. At some point in the conversation about him spending time with his brother while traveling, he mentioned how he couldn't believe how much Diet Mountain Dew his brother drank. He said he often looked like hell, was tired all the time and seemed to generally feel poorly. He also said that his brother threw back diet soda like it was water ... all day long.

The "ping" of a light bulb turning on sounded in my head. I knew that fate was giving me an obvious clue: You've been feeling the same way, fate was saying.

I discovered Diet Coke in high school in the early '90s. I've never had much of a sweet tooth so the sugary tastes of Dr. Pepper and regular Coke didn't appeal to me. But that weirdly sweet flavor of Diet Coke just tickled my fancy. I've been drinking it on a daily basis ever since. Every day: a can in the morning, one for lunch and one in the afternoon or on my way home from work.

I stopped drinking Diet Coke once when I was dating a guy who was trying to lose weight, but it didn't stick. And that was many years ago when my body was still young enough to take a beating and still feel OK. I also stopped drinking Diet Coke while I was pregnant. But that only lasted 10 months.

Now my body is beginning to feel just a tad more fragile when I eat and drink stuff I shouldn't. Sleep has always been a very important health issue for me, and for several months I've felt sluggish, droopy and dreary all day until about 8 p.m., when I suddenly zinged to life when I should be winding down. Also, my digestive tract seems to have more specific requirements for regularity and feeling healthy; the more Diet Coke I drank the more bloated I was and it would last for several days. Clearly the sodium intake was a factor.

Almost two weeks ago I quit cold turkey. The first day was fine. The second day was rough; I had headaches and used ibuprofen to relieve the pain. The third and fourth days were heinous: headaches, severe fatigue, crankiness, insomnia and cravings. I didn't think I could make it through that first week.

Detox was hard and I still crave it every day, though I hope the cravings will subside in time. I'm not quite sure if my sleep has changed for the better yet, but my energy valleys and peaks have certainly flatlined and the bloating seems to have subsided after two weeks of drinking only water all day. My pants fit me better too; a tangible benefit that feels a little like a reward.

I don't know that I will never have a Diet Coke again on occasion, but that's not what it's really all about. It's about listening to my body and making better choices, more healthy choices, because it's the right thing to do. And I can't forget the impact on my pocket book either. I'll be saving a fair amount of coin by not buying bulk Diet Coke at the Costco.

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Verbal's post on how she "stopped fucking eating so goddamned much" was also a great inspiration.
I tend to drink 3 or 4 Diet Cokes a day also.

Of course the addicting part is the caffeine. I don't drink coffee so I suppose Diet Cokes throughout the day is my way of getting a jolt.

...been thinking of quitting, but haven't quite mustered the will.
I'll be forwarding this to my husband who is an awful Diet Dr. Pepper addict....
as a fellow Diet Coke addict, you have described all of my syptoms to a T! I am twirlled around the idea of quiting, have even tried a few times, but to no avail. I have promised myself that by summers end I will no longer depend on diet coke. We will see how that turns out...I will have to warn my family and my coworkers so that they dont have me committed during the withdrawl...
I'd been suffering from headaches and a bad stomach, so I quit Diet Coke last year for a good three weeks. I was never a huge DC drinker, maybe 1 or 2 a day. Though the withdrawal was hard for maybe 4 days, after that it wasn't bad. But I didn't get the effects I was hoping for. I still got headaches, and was still cranky in the afternoon. So I went back on the Diet Coke.

What's worked better for me was having smaller meals and more snacks throughout the day. I try to eat about every two hours. The headaches are caused, for me at least, by low blood sugar and being dehydrated. Drink a glass of water when you drink those DCs! Caffeine dehydrates you.

Even better, a nap in the afternoon when I can swing it is the real trick. Hallelujah, as I'm reaching 40, naps are my fountain of youth!
any post about succeeding with self discipline is a winner in my book.
reminds me also of a post by dana douglas about losing 100 lb!!!
it sounds like you may have been going partly through caffeine withdrawal. and think about that seriously-- lots of other stuff has caffeine in it, incl chocolate!!
so maybe caffeine is the thing thats messing up your nervous system....
I would suggest that anyone trying this to wean yourself gradually. Mix your diet soda with caffeine free diet soda and increase the caffeine free gradually. It worked for me with coffee. No headaches to worry about.
I weaned myself off of all things caffeine 15 years ago when my doctor discovered that it was the caffeine that was making my heart pound erratically. At that time I had already quit drinking coffee and tea - but I was drinking can after can of diet coke during the day.
It took me a full month of agony to get over this addiction to caffeine. I could barely wake up in the morning. I felt like a zombie at work - couldn't keep my end up in conversations, just sort of sat there while the social world went on around me. One of my colleagues actually took me aside to find out what was the matter because my personality had changed so radically. I couldn't help but compare this withdrawal process to quitting smoking, which I did over one week without much problem and no regrets, even though I had smoked 3 packs a day! Getting "off" of caffeine was so much more traumatic for my body!
Fifteen years later, I have no trouble popping out of bed and off to work every morning. The rest of the staff huddles hopefully around the coffee maker in the worker's lounge while I don't. And my heart has quit the erratic behavior. It was well worth it - but not easy!
This is interesting, Somyr. I drink way too much of this stuff, too. I had to stop drinking caffeinated coffee because of other health issues but I didn't think about the diet soda. Getting older is no fun!
Good for you. While the caffeine is problematic to your health, so is the artificial sweetner you are consuming. You may not be getting the calories by drinking diet, but you are still polluting your body with chemicals that eventually cause havoc with your liver and other organs.

I was lucky enough to grow up in a soda free household so never got into the Cola habit, but my daughter did and had to wean herself off when she started feeling sluggish from it (or was it just her nightowl lifestyle).

Caffeine is also found in green tea, but it's delivered differently. I heard it described once like this: Coffee/Cola drinks act like a spring and give you a jolt, while green tea/tea caffiene is more like an elastic band stretching slowly giving you a long term boost. It's the high/low that does us in!
My husband has a severe diet Mt. Dew addiction. I guess I should be grateful it's not beer, but his behaviors around it seem very similar to alcohol addiction to me. Best of luck to you in staying off the stuff! :)
I would rather to have a glass of white wine instead of dike coke.
I suck down way too many Diet Cokes every day and have one open on my nightstand every night. I've tried to quit several times but even when the headaches and cravings subside, I suffer without caffeine. I have an almost paradoxical reaction to stimulants -- my morning cup of coffee calms me and makes me sleepy -- and without it I can't get my thoughts to line up in an orderly fashion at all.

I do think the aspartame causes its own set of problems.
Good for you! As others have noted, the artificial sweeteners aren't good for you either in the short term (effects you describe) or the long term (do a web search for how they affect the brain, mood and other organs). And here's a news flash for those who drink them to lose or maintain weight loss: They don't work. In fact, they spur more eating, not less.

I've never drunk any kind of soft drinks regularly but would sometimes have a diet coke when I needed some caffeine and wanted it cold and/or that's all that was around. I always noticed it was followed by odd symptoms: first, more thirst not less (same as with sugared soft drinks), jangly feelings (different from just caffeine vibe) and bladder symptoms similar to early stages of a urinary tract infection! That stopped me.

Both coffee and black tea have some health benefits along with their caffeine (yes, coffee too - e.g. lower risk of Alzheimers and I believe pancreatic cancer as well). I have a cup in the AM and sometimes an ice tea at lunch in hot weather. I don't use sugar in either. I also make hot and iced herb teas. Mostly I drink tons of plain tap water, which makes me feel best of all.
I was fortunate to quit right after having surgery. I was drinking at least 8 diet cokes per day and after surgery I had no appetite for anything and took that as an opportunity to quit. The pain meds I was taking after surgery went a long way in helping with the withdrawal headaches and my sleep was erratic anyway. It was the perfect time to quit since I was getting up early and didn't have that "need" first thing in the mornings. It's been since February 1 and I have not had a diet coke but OH I do want one soooo badly still.
one of the joys of getting older is that we learn to listen to our bodies. we have to!
OK, my name is Patricia, and I'm a caffeine-free Diet Coke addict.

So it's not the caffeine. I drink a cuppa joe when I feel a migraine coming on, and just in general once in a while. I can quit coffee or tea caffeine with ease.

I truly believe it is the artificial sweetener. There is something it does to one's body chemistry. I don't know why studies don't show it is addictive. But my last box of DC is in the fridge right now, and I am going to quit. Cold turkey. I'll drink unsweetened iced tea or coffee or, best of all, water. You have brought it yo my attention again, and for that I am grateful.

Hey - I'm getting older too. Seems like a couple of age years every calendar year. What we put in our bodies must be a part of that equation, sight?
i thought this was a joke. really? addicted?
I had to detox from Diet Coke - I drank it like a fiend from age 20 to age 30. Then I quite cold turkey, had the same backlash you did from my body and my brain. I'm over it now, and can have one like once a month without it triggering the need to do it *all the time*.
Fins: If and when you're ready it will happen. Thanks for reading.

Bluesurly: Thanks for always reading and commenting; I appreciate the loyalty. Yes, I can imagine the Diet Dr. Pepper is just as bad. Doesn't it have more calories too? I can't remember.

ZZ: Lots of good luck to quit the DC when you're ready! Thanks for commenting.

Rosemary: Seriously, naps are a MUST for me. Too bad I only get them on weekends.
Incandescent: Thanks for the link; I'll check it out!

Vzn: Yeah, it's more my digestive system that the caffeine is affecting, but I know what you mean. So far so good, though!

717judie: I don't know that in this case weaning myself would have worked. Drinking DC is a habit for me; like when I get hungry I drink a DC, when I get thirsty I drink a DC. My mom used to get after me because there would be like five half-empty DC cans in various places around the house throughout the day. It was just a habit to grab one from the fridge and sip it all day long. Cold turkey was best for me.
Wyman: Thanks for the comment. Your story is a good inspiration.

Lisa: I'm not a fan of getting older, but gosh darn it I'm going to do it gracefully. Thanks for stopping by.

Peterpan: Thanks for the great info on the difference between coffee/cola caffeine and tea caffeine!
JLee: Thanks for the support. I agree that the artificial sweetener isn't an innocent ingredient by any means.

Grifftan: Ha! If I drank as much beer all day as i did DC, I'd be in bad shape! Thanks for stopping by.

Z: I'd take a glass of champagne.

Cruel: I hope you can find your way out of the clenches of the Diet Coke. It's a bugger. Hope you feel better too.
Silkstone: Thanks for the great comment.

Guera: Lucky you!!

Capt'n: That's the god's honest truth.

Hi Patricia: Thanks for coming out. There are more like us than I knew. I agree that the artificial sweetener isn't an innocent ingredient.

Dennis: Welcome to Diet Coke's Anonymous. It's no joke.

Sandra: I have faith that I'll get to a point where, like you, I'll be able to drink one or two occasionally. Thanks for reading.
Good for you. On top of the awful aspartame and the plethora of chemicals we are not meant to ingest, is the research that indicates carbonated beverages of any type are no good for our bones! Ironically caffeine may not be so bad in the wider scheme of things, but the delivery method must be chosen with care. In general one can't go wrong with plain water, and it appears that tea has many benefits and has so many variations in taste as to never be boring. The we learn about tea (of course this "knowledge" and reverance of the benefits of tea predates our discovery of the beverage by thousands of years), the better it looks. Black and green teas appear to offer so many benefits and such a palate of taste that I urge everyone who has not yet, to explore them.
Congratulations and keep up the good work. After years of diet coke addiction along with other diet drinks, I finally quit. Later I found out that aspartame converts to wood alcohol when digesting and poisons your liver. As a result, my liver was inflamed and being a recovering alcoholic, knowing that I was ingesting a form of alcohol was disturbing to say the least. These chemicals should have never been allowed to be in our food system. The only sweetener I use now is Stevia.

Thank you for sharing and good luck to you!
Ablonde and Hillensooz: Both great comments. Thanks so much for the well wishes; I'm doing better than I thought. The cravings are gradually waning.
From my mama in response to this blog. (By the way Uncle Sherm is no longer with us. "Shasta" might be a Utah thing; it's a brand of soda pop. I've never seen it sold anywhere else, but I'm not sure.):

Hi Somyr,
Yay for you; giving up Diet Coke is huge. I didn't realize that you were that fond of it, but you are extremely fond. We all have our addictions and/or things to purge from our lives. Don't you think you drank it in moderation only? I thought you did. I do remember the days of finding a lot of half-full cans/fountain drinks at home. I just thought you either forgot about it or just weren't that interested. Sounds like others have the same thing going on. Look at Uncle Sherm; he drank diet Shasta by the case full. Daily. He traveled most of the time for his work and his cooler was ALWAYS full of this soda. Didn't go on the road or anywhere without it. Ever. Look where it landed him.