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Welcome back, Dear Readers.

2015 is going to be my year for battling personal demons…and kicking their respective asses.

It isn’t going to be easy, but neither is making a living as a freelance writer, fighting in the ring, and writing six novels.

I figure I’ve got this.

I’ve talked about breaking this particular addiction before. Embarrassingly enough, that was in 2011, and if anything, it’s even worse today. Working in an office kept it in check, but now that I’m at home, I have almost constant access to this particular demon.

I’m talking about my addiction to Diet Pepsi.

Why am I still struggling with this? Well, there always seemed to be a bigger challenge I was facing. This gave me a built-in excuse.

“I can’t train for a fight and stop drinking Diet Pepsi at the same time. It’s too much pressure.”

“I can’t start eating healthy and stop drinking Diet Pepsi! The Diet Pepsi will be my treat.”

“I can’t write a novel in 30 days without drinking Diet Pepsi! I need that caffeine-laden, carbonated goodness to get me through the long nights of writing.”

You get the picture. There was always a reason not to stop.

Such is the way with addictions.

But each year I get more and more concerned with how much Diet Pepsi I drink. I know it’s terrible for my health, and the old excuse that it’s my only vice isn’t holding water for me anymore. What if smoking was my only vice? Would I still be so cavalier about it? In a word, no.

Since my mother was diagnosed with osteoporosis a few years ago, I became even more concerned about diet soda’s affects on my bones. I already know what it can do to the teeth. It’s scary stuff.

There are other reasons I want to quit. Here’s just a few:

  • All that money adds up. It would be better spent somewhere else.
  • I don’t want to be worried about finding my next “fix” when I’m traveling in another country.
  • I’m tired of feeling dependent on something that comes in a can.
  • It’s bad for the environment. Yes, I recycle my cans, but how much energy does that require? And what if the island we move to doesn’t have a sophisticated recycling plant?
  • It’s embarrassing.
  • Since I don’t have a vehicle, I often have to depend on the kindness of friends to haul my cases of Diet Pepsi home. (When it’s on sale, I go crazy!)

I’ve given up Diet Pepsi once before, but it was extremely short-lived. I got to the weekend fine, started craving it, and gave in to the suggestion that I have “just one.” That was enough to get me hooked again. Plus, I still had a lot of it in the house.

So, based on some extensive web research, here is my ultimate quitting plan.

This week, I’ll cut my consumption by 25%.

Next week means another cut–by 50%.

The week after that, I’ll have a can every other day until it’s gone. After that, no more.

I’ve made the difficult decision not to have it again after this month. Once it’s done, if I really want an occasional treat (and I do mean occasional), I’ll have a regular Coke. I’m not worried about getting addicted to Coke because of its calorie content. One of the reasons Diet Pepsi had me in its clutches for so long is the fact that it’s calorie free. And I won’t keep Coke in the house.

Yesterday was my first day, and it was easier than I thought, but I realize I’m still in baby-step mode. But I’m hopeful that, at the end of this month, I’ll be able to tell you that this particular monkey is no longer on my back. Wish me luck!

Have you given up a bad habit? How did you do it?

Thanks for reading!

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38 Comments

  1. Crystal

    Boy, giving something up isn’t easy, but I think you’re on the right track! Cutting down slowly is the best way to stop.

    I’ve never really been addicted to anything (chocolate doesn’t count). So, while I can’t give you any advice on what to do, I can give you support! I know 2015 will be the year you kick diet pepsi to the curb!

    Reply
    • J.H. Moncrieff

      Thanks for the kind words, Crystal. I think anything, even chocolate, can become addictive if you rely on it too much…if you struggle to get through your day without it. However, at least dark chocolate has some health properties. The same cannot be said for Diet Pepsi.

      Thanks for the support! I need all the help I can get.

      Reply
  2. Sydney Aaliyah Michelle

    I use a lot of those excuses my self, but for gummy bears. haha. Good luck with your journey.

    Reply
    • J.H. Moncrieff

      Thanks, Sydney. A lot of people are addicted to sugar. That’s a hard one to break as well.

      Reply
  3. Mary Aalgaard

    Good for you. Keep at it. It really is horrible stuff, and the “calorie free” thing is deceiving. Replace it with something else, flavored water, tea, eating oranges, whatever it takes. And, it does fit in with IWSG because we all get hung up on stuff that’s bad for us, whether it’s a soft drink or our self-doubts.
    Play off the Page

    Reply
    • J.H. Moncrieff

      Thanks, Mary. Although common knowledge says to replace it with something else–like flavoured water, etc., I want to get accustomed to drinking regular beverages like water and tea. I don’t want to switch one expensive addiction for another (unless you meant simply adding lemon or cucumber to filtered water). I like Perrier, but it is expensive.

      Reply
    • J.H. Moncrieff

      Good for you, Elizabeth! That’s awesome. I really hope this isn’t a daily struggle for me years from now. My bf used to drink a lot of pop, and now it tastes funny to him and he loves water. That’s the kind of success I’m hoping for.

      Reply
  4. SittieCates

    Giving up a bad habit is hard. At first. I find that continuously meditating on the results you like helps a lot. Good luck!

    Reply
    • J.H. Moncrieff

      Thanks for the suggestion, SittieCates. I honestly have no idea what kind of results to expect. I know DP gives me a boost in the mornings and allows me to get by on five hours of sleep and feel awesome.

      I’ve already noticed, just by cutting back to two cans a day, that I’m a lot more tired. Hopefully some good results will happen too!

      Reply
    • SittieCates

      I’m positive that good results will happen soon. Hang in there, J. H.!

      Reply
  5. Lisa S.

    That’s funny! I actually stopped myself from buying my usual International Delights coffee creamer in the store on the weekend – because it’s terrible for you. Switched to real cream for my coffee instead. We’ll see how it goes.
    Hope you can wean yourself off the Diet Pepsi! I remember you always liked iced tea – so maybe that would be a good substitute?

    Reply
    • J.H. Moncrieff

      Congrats, Lisa! That’s awesome. I do love iced tea, but that mix is almost all sugar, so it has to stay in the occasional treat category. I’ll be mostly drinking water, tea, and skim milk. I’m sure I’ll be fine. People have survived worse! šŸ™‚

      Reply
  6. Mark

    For me, it was quitting smoking. I tried quitting many times in the past. I tried to quit using nicotine gum, the patch and with Zyban with little to no success. It wasn’t until I quit via the “cold turkey” method that I was able to successfully kick the habit. Everyone is different when it comes to battling their demons, but for me, the only way I could quit smoking was to actually quit. Every other method that allowed me to slowly wean myself off of smoking just made it that much easier for me to start up again. I had to rid my body of nicotine completely. It was hellishly difficult, took a massive amount of self-control and the constant cravings for the first six months were an absolute nightmare, but I made it through. That was five years ago. Today, the cravings for a cigarette are gone.

    I know you can beat your demons, too, Holli. Keep at it! šŸ™‚

    PS: If you want something fizzy to drink that has some health benefits, check this out. I found about it through Reta. http://nourishedkitchen.com/water-kefir/

    Reply
    • J.H. Moncrieff

      Congrats, Mark! That’s amazing. I’m so glad you quit. It’s such a destructive habit.

      The reason people recommend the “weaning off” method for this kind of addiction is that if you go cold turkey, you can have some pretty nasty side effects from caffeine and aspartame withdrawal. I’m trying to avoid those so I can still be productive, but already I’m feeling a lot more tired than usual.

      However, if it doesn’t work, cold turkey will be my last resort. I’ve already resolved not to buy any more DP once what I have runs out. Thanks for the tips!

      Reply
  7. Michelle Wallace

    I’m really trying to cut back on my coffee consumption. It’s difficult when you crave that boost.
    I did it once, a long time ago, but I’m back to drinking too much of the stuff… *sighs*

    Some people are really brave – they go cold turkey. But it’s not for everybody.
    Hang in there! You can do it!

    Writer In Transit

    Reply
    • J.H. Moncrieff

      Thanks, Michelle. I’m not doing that because I want to avoid nasty side effects from caffeine and aspartame withdrawal. Plus, it will give my mind time to make peace with it. There’s a part of me that’s still convinced it’s “not that bad.” Addictions are very persuasive.

      Good luck as you try to cut back. Caffeine is extremely addictive. I’m already noticing that I’m more tired during the day, and I’m still allowed two cans. Next week is going to be hell! šŸ™‚

      Reply
  8. Lisa

    I can’t recall ever being addicted to anything. I used to think I couldn’t give up coffee…but when I got pregnant with my kids I gave it up each time until I had finished breast-feeding (so roughly a year and a half each time). When I did give it up it was relatively easy.
    My husband has what he calls an addictive personality. There are somethings he can’t stop eating if they are in the house (especially chips) I can pull 5 or 6 out of the bad and stop eating when I’m done.
    Reading the comments above I consider myself pretty lucky!
    Good luck Holli! You have a plan – this will be a breeze!

    Reply
    • J.H. Moncrieff

      Thanks, Lisa. You are very, very lucky never to have to struggle with this. I’m more like your husband. I cannot resist potato chips! The only way not to eat them is not to buy them.

      I wish I could believe it will be a breeze, but I think it’s going to be really tough. However, I’m determined, and I’ve admitted it’s a problem…isn’t that supposed to be half the battle? šŸ˜‰

      Thanks for commenting!

      Reply
  9. Tana

    Going to see if this will paste from FB, since I really hope more people are like you and will stop diet soda! It makes me sick that people don’t know how sick it can make them!

    If you need motivation to STOP drinking DIET soda, type into Google “How was aspartame approved?” Huffpost has a great article!
    Or watch a documentary on how many times aspartame was ***NOT APPROVED**** before the head of the FDA was FIRED and a high-up from Searle–the company that patented aspartame–was made head (this is an example of the studies they did under the new head. After every other study showed the adverse effects of aspartame which ARE STILL in documentation by the FDA itself, under the new head they said: “No tumors were found in lab rats” which they were able to claim AFTER THEY CUT THE TUMORS OUT OF THE SUBJECTS BEFORE documentation! In another study they allowed the bodies to decompose before compiling a report that “no tumors were found!” YES, BECAUSE YOU WAITED UNTIL THE BODIES WERE GONE. There was a whole mess of people who looked into this as a criminal investigation, and yet it was still allowed to happen).
    Aspartame is a cumulative toxin–so it builds up over time, and does result in terrible outcomes depending upon how much you intake– and the FDA’s own records prior to Searle’s takeover link it to MS (although it is a false MS that can be reverted), Lupus, tumors, and a myriad of cancers.
    And this doesn’t even get into the fact that it is 200x sweeter than sugar, and triggers FAT RETENTION! The chemicals phenylalanine and aspartate increase fat storage, AND THEY MESS with insulin levels, so yeah, diabetes too, and goodbye regulated metabolism!

    ANYWAY, DRINK REGULAR SODA if you have to drink soda! It is no where near as dangerous. Don’t let yourself be made sick!!! =-( Read the studies!

    Reply
    • J.H. Moncrieff

      You’re preaching to the converted, Tana,but thanks for all the information. šŸ™‚ Hopefully you’ve helped to convinced someone else.

      Reply
  10. Niki*

    My addiction is just food. Not anything sugary or fried just rally GOOD tasting food. Lol. Good for you for trying to quit! Look into water kefir which you can infuse with flavor or even plain soda water if you need a fix! You can do it! Xo

    Reply
    • J.H. Moncrieff

      Wow, so many people seem to be fans of this water kefir. It looks pretty complicated to me…not sure I’d ever get around to it. I’ll see how I fare with water, tea, etc., but I’ll keep it in mind.

      And if you have an addiction to food, you definitely moved to the wrong place. Everything in China is soooo good. Dumplings…street breakfasts….sigh. šŸ˜‰

      Reply
  11. Anita

    Diet cola (and cola in general) has been a personal demon for me, too, so I feel you on that one, but you’re definitely approaching it right by phasing it out because if you go cold turkey all at once then you’re going to want it even more and it’ll be even worse, so good luck to you! Diet cola and sodas are definitely a very difficult temptation not to indulge in šŸ˜‰ I’ve been good so far on stopping drinking coffee and soda, and I do find Perrier is a good substitute but you’re right, it can get pricey, so sometimes club soda does the trick šŸ˜‰

    Reply
    • J.H. Moncrieff

      Thanks so much, Anita, and thanks for commenting. Have you stopped altogether, then? Good luck to you as well!

      Reply
  12. Elizabeth Mueller

    My mother in law is addicted to Coke. It’s so bad that the doctor told her it is destroying her health. He told her to go onto dry soda, but she finds it disgusting and has gone back to her Coke. She won’t drink water! Nothing else. My hubby is hooked to Dr. Pepper and though he’s tried to quite, he always goes back. I’m sorry to hear that you’re going through this. šŸ™

    I used to bite my nails so badly when in high school! And suck my thumb until age 5–my dad told me he’d throw me down one of the holes in Carlsbad Caverns if I didn’t stop. I believed him!

    ♥.•*¨Elizabeth¨*•.♥

    Reply
    • J.H. Moncrieff

      Hmm…that’s one way to get over an addiction, I guess. šŸ˜‰

      People laugh when you say you’re addicted to pop or diet pop, but it is a real addiction, and pretty persistent. I just wish I didn’t like it so much.

      Thanks for commenting and sharing your story, Elizabeth! Much appreciated.

      Reply
  13. Georgina Morales

    Good for you! I stopped smoking about ten years ago, when I got pregnant with my first child. I went from a pack a day to nothing at all. It was hard but I made it and when I popped the baby out, I resisted the temptation of going back. That was really hard. The thing with beating addictions or bad habits is that when you kick them out, not only you feel better about your health, you feel powerful. If you managed to do this really hard thing, nothing can stop you, right? RIGHT! So, go for it!

    Reply
    • J.H. Moncrieff

      Wow, my hat’s off to you, Georgina. That must have been brutal. I admire you for quitting, and for quitting for your child.

      I can hardly wait until I’m through this too. I hope I do as well as you did, but this is my second try.

      Reply
  14. Doreen McGettigan

    I gave up eating and drinking diet anything when a research team looked me in the eye and told me diet soda killed my best friend. She was only 44 and had a very aggressive cancer that they say was fueled by aspartame. Diet soda was her only vice.
    I switched to regular Ginger-Ale. Low calories and it helps my cravings.
    Good Luck, you can do it you are a writer, we are a tough bunch!

    Reply
    • J.H. Moncrieff

      Thanks, Doreen. I love Ginger-Ale too, so that might work as an occasional treat. I didn’t know it was low-calorie.

      I’m so, so terribly sorry to hear about your friend. That’s so sad, and it’s really scary. I hope the same thing doesn’t happen to me.

      Reply
  15. Stephanie Faris

    You’re approaching it the right way. A little at a time. This looks like a plan that will work! They say it takes 21 days to break a habit. Just three weeks, that’s all!

    Reply
    • J.H. Moncrieff

      I hope you’re right Stephanie. I really appreciate the words of encouragement. I’m not looking forward to the final goodbye!

      Reply
  16. Steven

    I used to be completely anti-soda, then I lived in Central America and sometimes that was the only clean drink available. After getting back to the States, I tried to walk down the habit and was successful for a while, but then I was under a lot of pressure and I went crazy on the stuff. For me, the best thing I did was to just stop thinking about it, keep it out of the house, and drink lots of water. Here I am now, I have an occasional Coke when I’m out, but it’s very much an occasional thing. I’m sure everyone is different, but for me quitting cold turkey was key.

    Reply
    • J.H. Moncrieff

      Thanks, Steven. I’m glad you were able to quit! I find I drink a lot more when I’m stressed as well. It becomes a crutch.

      I guess I’d better not move to Central America!

      Reply
  17. Laura Best

    Good for you, Holli! I know for many people this is a big thing, and it is.

    And while you’re young now, your bones will thank you later. šŸ™‚

    Reply
    • JH

      Thanks, Laura! But I wish I’d done it a long time ago. The damage may already be irreversible. However, I figured NOW was better than NEVER. šŸ™‚

      Reply

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