How to Quit Diet Coke

How to Quit Diet Coke

This post originally ran in June 2012. I’m still off Diet Coke (yay!) but am re-running it today because temptation often comes in the form of Memorial Day picnics. 

I’m sorry to say that I have tons of experience with quitting Diet Coke. That stuff is addictive: I have a long history of giving it up, only to relapse a few months later.

I am not going to grab your Diet Coke can out of your hand and scold that you absolutely-right-now-must-give-up-diet-soda-for-your-own-good. But I’ve got good reasons for giving it up myself.

1 killer reason to quit, and 2 more pretty good ones.

Wanna hear my best reason for quitting? When I gave up diet soda, I stopped craving sugar. True story. That alone is enough for me.

But there’s more: my family health history is kinda scary, and I’m choosing to err on the side of caution. Maybe diet drinks won’t ruin my health, but there’s no way they’re helping it.

And it’s impossible for me to drink just a little Diet Coke: one a day becomes four in no time flat. (And four diet cokes a day starts to get expensive.)

I have so many friends who talk about how they should give up Diet Coke–they wish they could–but it’s just so hard. I know it is–I’ve been there! And I’ll share with you what worked for me to kick my own fierce Diet Coke habit.

Thinking about giving up Diet Coke? Here’s how to get started.

1. Quit buying it.

I used to buy Diet Coke–even after I quit–to have on hand for friends and family members. But if it’s in the house, I drink it. Luckily, this is an easy fix.

2. Choose a substitute and keep it handy.

Drinking plain water instead of diet soda sounds noble and all, but it doesn’t satisfy a Diet Coke craving on a hot summer day. My new go-to is sparkling seltzer water with a wedge of citrus.

I keep my fridge stocked with cans of seltzer water from the grocery, and I also brew iced coffee and iced tea in the summertime. There are plenty of cold drinks for hot summer days besides Diet Coke! On cooler days, I do hot herbal tea.

If I’m out and about and seltzer water isn’t on the menu, I’ll order iced tea, coffee, or even red wine. Just not soda!

3. Know your personality.

Decide if you need to 100% completely give up Diet Coke or if you can make it a special occasion drink. If you’re unsure, this quiz over will help you decide if you’re a moderator or an abstainer when it comes to giving something up.

4. Know your weak spots.

I crave Diet Coke on hot summer days and when I’m eating spicy foods. Now, the craving doesn’t catch me off guard in these situations: I expect it. Somehow knowing the reason why I’m craving Diet Coke makes me feel better–and helps me choose a different option more cheerfully.

5. If you are completely, hopelessly addicted, take baby steps. 

Maybe going cold turkey isn’t for you. That’s okay. Start by giving up Diet Coke for a week–or maybe just a weekend. Pour the first sip down the sink. Resolve to only drink Diet Coke when you’re out, not at home.

Focus on making progress, not on being perfect.

Do you have a beverage addiction? Tell us about it in comments.

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  1. CJ Shelton says:

    I recently had spinal surgery and after many years as a diet soda addict, I knew I had to begin some major healthy changes beforehand. I tried some of the tips in this post and am pleased to report that I have been completely free of any soda as well as cravings for 4 months. What worked well for me was keeping a huge supply of good bottled water as well as unsweetened citrus sparkling water always available. I rarely think about soda and when I do, it’s always a negative feelings in my tummy.

  2. Rachel says:

    I currently drink 3-6, 44 oz. fountain Diet Cokes each day….whew, it feels good to get that off my chest. A true addict here and after reading this, I feel that I can actually accomplish my goal. I’ve tried to quit in the past, but I didn’t really have a plan. Failure was imminent. I think I can do it!

  3. tracey says:

    I am on my 2nd day of no diet coke. I just looked at your website. and I like this article. I have tried before and quit for along time. many times. its my only vice as far as I can tell. and I seem to have more swollen joints and aches since I was back on it. so i’ll let you know how I feel soon enough. I’m off to get myself some sparkling flavored non sweetened waters, and other healthy substitutes. thank you for info and support-tracey

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