Confessions Of A Diet Coke Addict
For some it’s the horror of drinking black coffee. For others it’s the thought of scrapping sugar. Many can’t imagine a month without alcohol.
That wasn't me.
The thing I dreaded most about starting the spartan Whole30 diet last year was the loss of soda.
Not just any soft drink: Diet Coke.
Whole30, for those unfamiliar with the fad diet, is a 30-day eating plan that eliminates everything delicious: dairy, sugar, grains, legumes, sweeteners and all additives.
The idea is that you eat simple, natural food for a month then slowly reintroduce the poisons that are killing you.
I figured it was the perfect way to start out 2017. After a month of Christmas cookies, rich foods and cheap champagne, I’d eat clean during January.
But I’d have to kick the soda habit.
I’m not proud of this, but there were days when I drained a two-liter bottle of the stuff. OK, there were days when I drank more than that.
It satisfied my sweet tooth, suppressed my appetite and kept me buzzed on an all-day-all-night caffeine high. I rarely slept.
Best of all, I loved the taste. Sweet, but not treacly like regular Coke. Thirst quenching and satisfying.
My heart would race every time my supermarket had one of those buy-two-get-three-free offers on cases of Diet Coke. I loved looking at all those silver boxes piled in my kitchen, knowing I wouldn’t run out of those beloved cans. For a couple of weeks anyway.
Away from home, I always kept quarters in my wallet in case I was stranded and had to get a soda out of a machine that didn’t take paper money.
Oh and it's hard to describe the rage and disgust I felt when I’d order a Diet Coke in a restaurant and a waitress would innocently inquire, “Is Diet Pepsi OK?”
I wanted to grab her by the throat.
No. Diet Pepsi is not OK. How could it be? It tastes nothing like Diet Coke. Might as well ask me if I want pork rinds.
I started the diet on a Monday. In place of soda, I drank water and unsweetened iced tea.
I was so tired, I went to bed at 7.
By Thursday I thought I was seriously ill. My head hurt. I was lethargic. My skin was clammy. I wanted to crawl onto the sofa and stay there.
But what I wanted more than anything was an icy can of Diet Coke and a straw.
It did get easier after that. And by the end of the month I felt terrific.
Then I gradually reintroduced the forbidden foods.
All but one.
I was terrified that a single swallow would send me back to that Diet Coke wasteland where I'd once again swill that delicious, nuitritionless chemical soup all day.
Look, I don’t know if the Diet Coke habit is chemical or psychological. But I do know this: I had lunch with an old friend this week and she ordered a Diet Coke.
As I watched the glass sweat and the bubbles drift to the top, I longed to grab it. My jaws actually ached. I almost asked for a sip.
But I didn’t.
My name is Kerry and I’m a Diet Coke addict. I’ve been clean for 445 days.