Kicking Coke (-a-Cola)
I'm almost 45, about 5'9", and about 215 lbs. I also have high blood pressure under control with medication. I've been commuting to work pretty regularly and eating a lot more vegetables. My one big eating issue is trying to kick the loooooong time habit of drinking sodas. Icy cold, tasty, refreshing! Fattening!
For those who have done so, how did you kick the habit? Please don't tell me just stop "cold turkey". Doesn't work. I've tried tappering off and have cut way down on how much I drink, but I still enjoy at least one 12 oz. can each day.
Help. I'm really open to suggestions.
BTW, I have never drunk alcohol or smoked.
As much as you don’t want to hear this, stopping cold turkey was what worked for me and what I advise to you. Sometimes the best advice is doing what you know needs to be done without taking shortcuts. Exercise your will power, you don't need coke (a cola) and there is no chemical addiction to it. It’s an oral fixation. Or to put it into perspective, if you substitute your can of coke for a glass of water you can have an extra 4 oz of chicken breast and still come out ahead.
Being one of those silly Catholics I decided to give up drinking soda for Lent. This was while I was working at a warehouse for PBG (Pepsi Bottling Group) that gave you all the free soda you could drink while on shift. We would suck down soda’s all night while racing back and forth with our fork lifts and building pallets of soda. Just imagine being surrounded by millions of cans of soda every day while at work and knowing you can’t have one. Thankfully they also gave out Aquafina water. After Lent was over I went a few more weeks before having a soda and honestly they don't appeal to me much anymore. Since then I have had very little soda, normally when making a high ball of some sort.
So, what about coke do you crave? The taste? The fizz? The caffeine? The convenience of it all? If it is sugar that you crave then switch over to sweet tea, then start cutting back the sugar until you are drinking unsweetened tea. It's also caffeinated!
Stay well hydrated too so that you don't ever really find yourself thirsty. Then one day when your at the grocery store just walk right past the soda isle. You won’t miss it.
One of the first things I did to lose weight was switch to diet soda. At first yeah it tasted horrible but now I love the taste, and regular sugared soda is what tastes disgusting to me. I know I probably have healthier alternatives, however I don't drink coffee in the morning and tea only occasionally, so I need to get my caffeine somehow. I would suggest giving cherry coke zero a try, I think it has less of that "diet" taste than other diet coke products.
Opinions on this are gonna vary! I'm a psych major, and I have slept at a Holiday Inn recently, so I think I'm reasonably qualified to comment on human nature. We're all creatures of habit, good or bad, to one extent or another. In a nutshell, this also means that almost all of us have our little vices. Smoking and drinking are well known, of course, but this also extends to more everyday, mundane 'vices' like.....soda pop. The mechanisms may be different (caffeine, sugar, carbonation), but the results are generally similar. I admit I never thought of oral fixation before.....sounds very Freudian! That's a thought!
I'm diabetic, and switched to diet soda without difficulty, but that never made any difference weight wise for me. I have, with varying success, managed to drastically reduce my diet soda consumption to the point where I'm not bloated due to excessive fluid retention, and that's been a good thing for me. I'm NOT to the point of doing without completely, as I am indeed addicted to the caffeine since I don't drink coffee. If I go without for more than a couple days, then the usual symptoms - headache, nervousness, irritability all rear their ugly heads.
Unlike nicotine, I don't think you absolutely HAVE to quit cold turkey and never look back. The human body can live completely without nicotine (and soda pop, too), but not without fluids (which includes soda pop - a subtle but important distinction IMO).
My advice is therefore try to increase your water intake and drink less, try to go without for a few days at a time, and when you do drink soda pop, do so in the greatest possible moderation; combined with other factors this should help greatly without making you feel miserable. I don't know if I could work in a bottling house like that - temptation is pretty tuff to resist! :)
PS: it may be all relative, but one 12 ounce can a day hardly sounds excessive to me! I suppose you could make do with one can 2-3 times a week though?
I used to down 2-litre bottles of Coke on a ride without any trouble and vaguely tasting only cold, fizzy water. After transitioning through "fitness waters" like Propel I was able to go to regular water and grapefruit juices.
Going straight from Coke to bottled water was a real problem. So I tossed money at the problem and kept buying cases of Propel at Costco (1/10 the sugar) and drinking it cold to wean myself off Coke. It's more expensive, but after a few weeks, when I eventually took a sip of Coke and no kidding, it tasted like thick syrup!!!
I now drink water, juices, raspberry iced tea and lemonades instead of Coke whenever I can.
The side benefits are less sugar, less carbonation and even eliminated incidents of acid reflux.
What he said, except for the silly part. :D
Originally Posted by bautieri
This is what worked for me. I still have one every now and then, but not like before, no way, never!
Wean yourself off with Coke Zero (it is basically diet soda, but tastes way better than Diet Coke)
thats what I did!
I am one of the cold turkey guys, but when I quit, I was already drinking diet. There are studies out there that suggest even drinking diet sodas can lead to obesity. Plus it has a lot of sodium in it.
I've seen a suggestions of mixing fruit juice and carbonated water together as a way to replicate soda in a healthier way. Not sure if that would work for you, but it is a thought.
Are you addicted to the caffeine part of the soda? That was the hardest part for me. Massive withdraw headaches for a few days, then I was good to go.
Obviously, don't have it in the house when you quit, what a recipe for disaster that is.
What the studies say about diet cola and obesity is not that diet colas directly CAUSE obesity. The claims mainly stem from claims that diet soda stimulates the appetite and causes people to eat more. As far as cola being loaded with sodium, 1 can of diet coke contains less than 2% of the recommended daily value of sodium. So unless you are downing a case plus a day sodium is not really an issue.
Originally Posted by </intolerance>
I think a lot of the diet coke causes obesity claims come from the fact people switch to diet coke and still eat extremely unhealthy diets because they see switching to diet soda as being a quick fix to weight loss, which it is not. It will certainly help the process though.
Fact is you want to lose weight you have to expend more calories than you take in. While there are a few tricks and tips you can follow on the way that is the basic formula, it isn't complicated. The ones who try to make it complicated are usually the ones making money off of people trying to lose weight. (or government grants like those diet coke studies)
Easy.. Be diagnosed as a type 2 Diabetic. How does that happen? Keep drinking the cokes and have a family history and you become one soon enough.. :(
Originally Posted by kjmillig
stop cold turkey.
hint: it works. if you don't step up to the plate like a grown up, then no one can
give you any advice.
just man up, grow up, and stop.
Stop cold turkey, don’t allow the stuff in the house. I had a hard time staying away from the vending machines when at work, (not just coke but snacks as well) my solution was to not carry any spare change or small bills with me.
I have to agree with mtclifford.
I stopped drinking coke several years ago, when I was at my absolute heaviest. I didn't stop with soda all together. I switched to diet. Didn't love the taste at first, but now anything other than diet coke seems too sweet. I cut out sugar almost completely and lost a boat load of weight.
Of course, I managed to gain it all back over the next couple of years, because I wasn't burning any calories.
Personally, if I'm giving up most of the foods I love (pizza, tacos, etc) then I'm not at all concerned with the 40 milligrams of sodium in a diet coke, because I'm not getting it in the rest of my diet. Plus with the intensity of exercise I've been doing for the last few months replacing some of the lost sodium is not a bad idea.
Tons and TONS of studies are showing that caffeine is good for you. It reduces the risk of a bunch of health problems. (check out the articles on webmd, and menshealth etc.)
In other words, I say, switch to diet. It's better than drinking high calorie sports drinks, and why suffer when you can have your coke and drink it too. :lol:
Here's another vote for cold turkey - about 18 months ago, I went from 8-10 cans of diet colas (Pepsi, Coke, it didn't really matter to me) per day to 0 in one fell swoop. The next three days were hell, with the caffeine withdrawal headaches, but now I've got the extra money from not buying the stuff. Even on sale at the grocery store, it's about 20 cents per can; from the vending machines at work, it's 55 cents per can. I figure I'm saving somewhere between $50 and $75 per month just by switching to tap water - that works out to $600 to $900 a year more that I can spend on my biking habit.
Cold turkey for me too, I just decided that the soda was not worth my health and made the switch to green tea, I drink green tea and water exclusively now, I say exclusively but I have a random beer or coke zero, random meaning 1 per 2 months perhaps. the green tea has some caffeine in it if that's whats got you hooked but a gallon has around the same as a cup of coffee has.
Once you get over the mental part of it cold turkey really is easy. I am down more than 200 pounds since Jan 2008 and yesterday I had a docs appt my blood pressure was 112 over 76, no meds just diet and exercise :) I also agree 100% with what bautieri said about being properly hydrated, stay hydrated and the cravings go way down, with that said I drink at least 1 gallon of green tea per day and between 1/2 and 1 gallon of straight H2o daily, so just about 2 gallons per day.
I wish you luck on kicking your coke habit.
Find something you like to drink more. I went from Sprites and Pepsis every day/every other day to drinking flavored water. Where I live, there's a local store that sells about 30-.5 Liter bottles of water for about $5. With that, I'd buy those little flavor packets from Crystal Light or some other company. Many have no calories no sugar, taste good, and have better flavor than the sodas. Honestly, the last time I drank a soda I gave it away. It just tasted bad compared to the waters.
I'm not a big fan of plain water, and neither are my uncles or my father. They've all done the same thing with the flavored waters, and they also don't drink soda at all anymore. My father went from a 2Liter of soda a day to buying the Brisk Iced Tea, and he drinks less and constantly tells me how much better he feels compared to when he drank Pepsi and other sodas.
Try iced tea or coffee as substitutes. You'd still be getting sugar and caffeine, but none of the harmful phosphates that weaken bones and teeth.
I had a bit of a scare a little over a year ago. I felt pressure in my chest and my heart would feel like it was gonna burst out of my chest with the rapid beating it was doing. I couldn't figure out what was wrong.
I went to see a doctor and they plugged me up to an EKG and found nothing wrong. I then went to have a physical and had some blood drawn. Apparently, I was near diabetic levels and what I was feeling were reactions to sugar. THAT scared the crap outta me.
At the time, I was drinking about a pot coffee every morning loaded with sugar. Think Cafe-con-leche style. It's what I grew up with and what my grandparents would give us to go to sleep. I still don't know how that worked. Aside from the coffee, I'd also have some sort of carbonated beverage for lunch and dinner. I was almost 300 lbs at the time.
And. I. Didn't. Care.
At least until that whole faux-heart-attack scare thing.
I had to learn to drink coffee without cream and sugar. Now I love it and WILL not give it up. I went from regular Coke to diet to none within a years time. The reason I've gone for none is that I started having, um . . . intestinal issues associated with gas. Now I may drink a full on "Mexican" Coke (glass bottle) during a weekend. You know, because EVERYONE knows that it has real sugar. And it tastes better than home-grown Coke.
So within about a years time, I've gone from about 300 lbs to floating (Ha!) around 250. The ONLY carbonated beverage I have now is beer. Arrogant B@st@rd, Stone, Sierra Nevadas Torpedo . . . I CANNOT give up beer. I'd rather eat brown rice and unseasoned chicken for the rest of my life, if only for the beer.
So, to conclude my story I've gone from:
a loaded pot of coffee a day to a medium size mug of black coffee a day (maybe two)
Carbonated beverages with lunch and dinner every day to water, tea, juice or beer (or coffee and an occasional "real Coke")
and most importantly from a vegatative lifestyle to actually looking forward to doing something active during and after work!
I went to diet cola years ago. Lately, I've been trying to reduce consumption of even that. Was going through 2 L a day easy, plus occasional cans and bottles at work.
What I like most about the cola is the flavor. Plain water doesn't have it. My crutch so far? Sugar free Kool-Aid. It's got good flavor and still zero calories, but not the same caffeine and phosphate issues... I still enjoy a cola now and then, though.
As someone else said, if you're down to one can a day, I wouldn't feel the need to quit. Maybe go diet soda to cut out the calories, but I would hardly say one can a day is excessive. I used to drink over 2 L a day...
Coke and Pepsi have about 150 calories per 12 oz. can. If your weight is stable and you have been drinking one can a day, a switch to diet soda without changing anything else in your life will result in a loss of about 15 lbs in a year. Every little bit counts.
Originally Posted by EKW in DC
2nd the Coke Zero to get you off the sugar. Once down to 12oz/day you can quit cold turkey (usually 3rd or 4th day will be the worst withdraw pains). Another soda alternative is the flavored carbonated water available in any grocery store. They come in flavors like Key Lime or Grapefruit and taste like a 'cleaner' version of Sprite. Crystal Lite lemonade is nice if you want something tart.
The big thing is that once you get off soda you will always want an alternative available as you travel (car, work, etc.). The big temptations occur when you stop off somewhere and the only option is soda.
Looking at your general weight vs. hight, you appear to be getting close to your ideal weight. I understand you enjoyment of soda. I personally can't stand diet soda. It tasts nasty and bitter to me. There seem to be enough studies that show that sugar substitures don't help with sugar craving and may actually increase them. I pretty much drink 4 things in a day.
Orange Juice with breakfast
plenty of water throughout the day
Milk at lunch
Pepsi at lunch
What I stive for is moderation in all except for water. For OJ I drink 8 oz. (I use Ikea glasses at home. Those european sized glasses at Ikea are 8 oz not the US normal 12 oz. That helps me not drink too much).
The milk is skim, and I carry it in a stainless steel thermos. I am not sure exactly what it holds, but I guess 12 oz.
for Pepsi I only have cans in the house. I absolutely will NOT drink more than one can of soda a day. I figure that the one can isn't killing me. I understand the sugar and caffine, etc that is in that one serving, but I can live with that. I will not get plastic bottles, because before I know it I'll be consuming 16 oz and that way more than I want to drink. I have no problem drinking only one can so I know this is not some terrible addiction. I don't drink any cofee. If I drink any tea, it is Green tea (hot) and definitely without any sugar. That is also mostly in the winter.
I just don't see one can being a big deal. If you think that you'll start to go back up, then by all means cut it out entirely. For me, it is my one bad indulgence for the day. Any yes for me it has to be Pepsi, not Coke.
I can only equate your battle with Cola to my battle with cigarettes.
Originally Posted by kjmillig
It was easy, I quit hundreds of times!! I rationalized all the money saved, health reasons, etc and each time I quit, tapering off seemed to be the easiest way to get it done. Then one day I realized I never really wanted to quit. Sure, I said I did, but I really didn't. As my high school footbal coach would say "Ya Gotta Wanna" but I didn't.
When I made up my mind that I was going to do this for me, no other reason, I just threw the open pack (and the rest of the carton) in the trash. Yup, cold turkey. And looking back, once I made up my mind it really wasn't that difficult. I still get the occasional craving to this day but it passes. (Oh yea, my wife still smokes but I can't get her to quit -- she doesn't wanna.)
After smoking for nearly 17 years, I haven't had a smoke since October, 1991
"Ya Gotta Wanna." When you do, you can and you will.
Changing nothing else... losing a can of pop/soda a day from the diet roughly equates to 15lbs in a year. Worked for me, I float around 145-155 now. Results may vary. I had to make an effort NOT to bring change to work for the machine and made SURE I had a cold water bottle on my desk.
Switch to iced tea. I prefer sweet, but since I make it at home, it doesn't have as much sugar as resaurants use. I refuse to try the artificial sweeteners, they're worse for you than real sugar.