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For about a full decade of my life, I was a full fledged Diet Coke addict.

It was a part of who I was — I cracked open a can first thing in the morning, friends sent me about things only Diet Coke addicts could understand, I had a little Diet Coke keychain and a Diet Coke mousepad, and my family I would send each other level red, full blown SOS texts when the fridge was running low. I was drinking 2-3 cans a day, fountain (my preferred delivery of choice) whenever I could get my hands on it, and I really had no true interest in stopping.

Breaking a Diet Coke Addiction

And then, suddenly, I did.

On March 1st of 2016 I started a one month Diet Coke free month while in Thailand, and on April 1st I decided what the heck — I extended another two weeks until I flew through the USA. After six weeks, the spell was broken, and I no longer feel powerless over the pull of the silver can.

So why cut the cord? I admit, of the many reasons people kick Diet Coke habits, I did so for pretty superficial reasons. I wasn’t getting headaches, or staining my teeth, or having any negative health repercussions — yet, anyway. But I was trying desperately to lose ten pounds that had creeped on slowly, and the connection between diet sodas and out-of-whack metabolisms and insulin production are hard to ignore. The more I learned the more convinced I became that a trial period without it was something I needed to try.

But in addition to hoping to drop some weight, it was also at times a very inconvenient addiction and I hated feeling so beholden to a particular can of fizz. When I woke up in the morning, it was the first thing I drank, and I was cranky and irritable all day when I couldn’t source it — which was fairly often, considering I often travel to remote areas, and diet sodas are still rare in many corners of the world.

At the time, I searched pretty desperately for first-hand accounts those who were also trying to kick a soda habit, and came up surprisingly empty. So, my carbonation loving friends, here is mine.

Breaking a Diet Coke AddictionMy uncle — who once ran a Coca Cola museum! It runs in the fam!

How I Did It

I never intended to cut Diet Coke out of my life entirely. Drinking Diet Coke was so much a part of both my daily routine and my identity I don’t think I ever could have started had that been my intention. Yet after years of trying to casually “cut back,” I knew I had to do something drastic if I ever wanted to make it a reality.

Today, I am no longer addicted to Diet Coke and that is all thanks to the initial six week cleanse in which I did not consume a single sip (more about my current consumption later.) In fact, it started as just a month long challenge which I extended for two weeks based on how good I felt! That cleanse was completely necessary to sever my dependence to the stuff and allow me to start living with a normal, non-crazy person’s relationship with soda after it ended.

I should probably note that Diet Coke was the only soda I ever really drank — I think Coca Cola tastes repulsive and outside of the rare diet root beer or craft soda on some sort of special occasion (hello, artisanal sodas at a county fair!), Diet Coke and I had a pretty monogamous relationship.

Everyone warned me about the withdrawal symptoms I’d have. Aside from a few terrible headaches the first few days, I actually didn’t find the physical side-effects to be too dramatic. I attribute the ease with which this cleanse went to these steps:

Breaking a Diet Coke Addiction

Breaking a Diet Coke Addiction

1. I did a ton of research

Once I decided to do the cleanse, it was actually pretty easy in practice. And that steely resolve was inspired by research I did as part of my DIY Health Retreat.

Documentaries like  and books like  really spoke to the specific reasons I was personally looking to cut back — vanity, duh. They dove into how aspartame disrupts the body’s metabolism and craving systems and leads to unintentional weight gain, despite being zero calories. I was also recently recommended the documentary , which I plan to watch on the plane back to the US to strengthen my resolve for another addiction-free summer.

Also, I read several interviews with skinny people — LOL — who said that they never drink diet sodas, and message board accounts from those who dropped pounds doing so. In the spirit of full disclosure I also read a ton of comments and message board posts from those who quit and never lost a pound, but everyone who did so seemed to feel it had a positive impact on their life.

Now look, it’s not like until last year I was walking around thinking Diet Coke was this super healthy product that I was treating my body like a temple by consuming. Not in the slightest — I knew Diet Coke was bad for me and I literally did not care, at least not enough to make me change. Thankfully, in this case, my desperation to lose a few pounds led me down an unlikely path that has had a holistic and positive effect on my life.

Breaking a Diet Coke Addiction

2. I told my friends

So strong was my resolve that the only serious cravings I had in those first six weeks were the two times I was tragically hungover. And because I had already told my friends what I was doing and they knew how important it was to me, they stopped me from giving in, reminding me how proud I’d feel when I hit the four — and then six — week mark.

3. I replaced it with something else

One of my primary concerns going into this cleanse was that Diet Coke made up the vast majority of my beverage consumption. Like literally, what was I going to drink?! Because in those days the only water I consumed was what I had while I was working out. Well, I now drink tea like it’s going out of style, as well as one or two carbonated waters per day and a TON more straight up tap water than I’ve ever drank in my life. Let’s get into each of those:

Tea

I have never been a tea drinker and so I did a bunch of research to find out which teas had caffeine — which I wanted — and which I would actually like. I absolutely loathe black tea, still to this day (sorry, Brits) but found green tea sort of tolerable, so I started out by putting one green tea bag into a mug with another herbal flavor that I enjoyed more, like lemongrass. For the first week or two of my cleanse, I sweetened my tea with local honey, though I quickly phased that out and I now drink my tea straight up, no sweetener.

A year later, I am a complete and total tea fiend and start every day with a mug of green tea rather than a Diet Coke, and usually go for an herbal tea over ice in the afternoon. I love trying new flavors —  is a recent obsession.

Water

I have struggled my entire life to drink water. My cleanse kick started a new habit in which I drink more than ever. I generally try to drink a full 17 oz. bottle between breakfast and lunch, between lunch and dinner, and whenever I work out. Combined with my carbonated water at meals and my morning and afternoon tea, I now easily exceed the recommended 64 oz. per day without too much trouble.

My recommendation? Get a fun, easy-to-drink  that you love and will want to take everywhere, and have a jug or filter in your fridge so you have easy access to cold, ready-to-go tap water anytime. If you live somewhere with great water you can literally just use , if you live somewhere where drinking tap water isn’t advisable — like I do — I highly recommend this , which filters all bacteria, viruses, and other no-nos.

Breaking a Diet Coke Addiction

Breaking a Diet Coke Addiction

Carbonated Water

Or seltzer, or if you’re here in Thailand, soda water. To this day I can’t stand to drink straight up tap water with meals, it just doesn’t feel right. Seltzer is literally just regular water infused with air, and is to drink as regular water (though studies do show it can be slightly more filling, and does have some extremely mild effect on dental health.)

So I now have unflavored seltzer with pretty much every single lunch and dinner. When I’m in the US, I sometimes go wild with the naturally flavored ones. I drink so much of the stuff I’m thinking of getting  like my mom has at home, and bringing it with me back to Thailand.

4. I did it somewhere away from the USA

I know this probably isn’t exactly replicable for most people, but it was a huge factor towards my success. Doing the Diet Coke cleanse in Thailand, where I’m not a fan of the local formula, made it so much easier than had I tried it stateside. If you can find some way — any way! — to shake up your routine, I think that will make all the difference in helping you to snap out of deeply ingrained habits.

While you may not want to mar a trip or vacation with withdrawal symptoms, starting a few days before you leave and your enthusiasm is still strong and arriving in a new destination just as your willpower might be wearing off could be the perfect way to distract yourself. (And ya know, now that I added this, it’s totally relevant fodder for a travel blog! Nailed it!)

5. Make a calendar

I actually didn’t do this, but if I started to struggle or stumble I would have bought or printed out a calendar, and marked off each day I made it without Diet Coke. I always find tracking and visual aids to be incredibly effective in helping me meet goals and stay strong through a challenge.

Breaking a Diet Coke Addiction

Breaking a Diet Coke Addiction

What I Learned

I have always considered myself to have an insane sweet tooth and ravenously consumed candy, desserts and all kinds of sugary goodness on a near-daily bases. Very quickly after giving up Diet Coke, those cravings all but disappeared. I still loved my sweet treats but I noticed that I didn’t HAVE to have them, and so throughout the course of my cleanse they were more of an actual occasional treat instead of a daily obsession. I even noticed my cravings for/consumption of things like bread and pasta subsided.

It was somewhat disorienting to realize that this thing I thought was just a core part of who I was was actually induced by a chemical I’ve been consuming daily for the last decade and a half. Some researchers believe artificial sweeteners like the aspartame in Diet Coke actually fuel the brain’s desire for the real thing, and after six weeks, I agreed with them.

Today, recognizing that my cravings are at least partially a result of choices I’ve made has actually been incredibly empowering. When I’m perusing 711 for snacks before a late night work session, I can no longer grab a bag of M&M’s with the excuse that, “Well I’m just a sweet-tooth having, sugar-loving fiend and there’s nothing I can do to change it!” Instead I think, “Well, I’m craving candy right now because I made the choice to have Diet Coke with my lunch. I can choose to go for it, or I can choose to have a banana instead.” It actually feels really good.

No, I didn’t drop a dress size. But I did find a new awareness of what was fueling my cravings. And as someone who considers herself to have like, zero willpower, it was kind of cool to set such a lofty goal and not just meet but exceed it.

Breaking a Diet Coke Addiction

One Year Later

Like I said earlier, I never intended to give up Diet Coke entirely — and I didn’t. Some warned that after six weeks I wouldn’t be able to stand a sip of the stuff, and I can assure you that did not happen. But I do feel like I have a normal, non-psycho person’s relationship with Diet Coke now, and that is a beautiful thing.

For the most part, I probably average about a can a week. When I’m extremely stressed and sleep deprived, I definitely fall back into a can a day. But that has only happened a couple times and within a few days I actually now see it as a big red flag I’m waving at myself — whoa girl, pull in the reigns on your life. Something isn’t right.

Breaking a Diet Coke Addiction

Breaking a Diet Coke Addiction

I split my year between Thailand and the US, and I admit that it’s much easier to go without here in Thailand, where I never even really liked the local formula but drank it out of pure dependence. In the US, I still love the taste of the stuff, especially the fountain version, and so it is much harder to avoid — especially because when I’m stateside I bounce between staying with various family members who are all still hardcore hooked.

What I tried experimenting with last summer was not allowing myself to drink cans at home, and instead only treating myself to fountain Diet Cokes when I was out and about running errands. Therefore it felt more like a special treat that I savored every second of, and less like something I was mindlessly downing out of habit. If I’m staying in a house where I have any input over what’s in the fridge, I keep it Diet Coke-free to avoid the temptation.

While there are definitely certain locations that tempt me to spiral out of control again (hello, my mom and dad’s houses!), overall I feel incredibly free from my old aluminum shackles. It kind of grosses me out now to think that in the past I would drink Diet Coke out of a plastic bottle, or even, heaven forbid, the occasional fountain Diet Pepsi at a restaurant — thing I literally don’t even like — just because I was so hooked.

Breaking a Diet Coke Addiction

It feel so good to go to a four day festival where there’s no diet version of Coke and not lose my shit. It feels so nice to stay at a resort that stocks Pepsi (gross) and not freak the flip out. It feels very freeing to no longer wake up in the morning, bug out that the fridge is empty, and disrupt my day by sprinting to the closest minimart to stock up before my dang morning can start.

While breaking my Diet Coke addiction didn’t make me the size zero supermodel I had hoped — just kidding, there are no catwalks in the future of this 5’2″-er — it was one of the best things I’ve ever done for myself. It made me feel empowered, it removed a frequent hassle from my life, and it was a major game-changer in the healthier lifestyle I am always trying to cultivate.

Are you a current or reformed diet soda addict? Tell all in the comments!

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How I Kicked My Addiction to Diet Coke
How I Kicked My Addiction to Diet Coke

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Please note I know there are a lot of different opinions out there about food and addiction and if you happen to disagree with what I write here, please know it isn’t meant to offend you — I’m just sharing my own personal experiences and thoughts, and I respect that other people’s will be different! Feel free to share your own experiences in the comments.

Want to learn more about the science behind Diet Coke addiction? is a good place to start. 

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61 Comments...
  • Hey – good for you! I am not a diet soda addict, I’m a regular soda addict – Mt Dew, which is possibly the worst. When I’ve tried quitting in the past (usually before a big backcountry trip) I have taken Green Tea pills for the caffeine and also Water Joe…caffeinated water! Alas, I think it’s more about the sugar than the caffeine for me. Not even ridiculous dental bills seem to deter me!
    Leigh | Campfires & Concierges recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      April 26 2017

      Whoa, I’ve never heard of Water Joe! Yeah, giving up caffeine wasn’t a priority for me so teaching myself to like green tea was the perfect solution. And now I really do love it — but mostly the hybrid kinds, like spearmint green tea or jasmine green tea. Or if I can’t find those, I blend them myself by using two bags! I feel like for me it was a combo of caffeine (I don’t drink coffee so it was my only source), sugar, and just the ritual of it.

      And I FEEL YOU on the dental bills. I’ve had an embarrassing amount of cavities.

  • Noel
    April 25 2017

    Congratulations on kicking a bad habit! I know soda isn’t very expensive to buy, but with the amount you were drinking, it had to add up to a decent amount each month. Nice to get on a healthy track and save some money. I rarely drink soda, but I’ve always HATED all things diet, I feel like they taste so artificial. I’d go regular Coke any day, but the only time I ever have a soda craving is when I’m hung over; and agree that fountain sodas are the way to go! Keep up the good work!! 🙂

    • Meihoukai
      April 26 2017

      Absolutely, that is a factor. Considering I now buy a ton of tea and soda water, I still do spend money on beverages, but it’s certainly much cheaper! (Soda water is about half the price of Diet Coke here in Thailand.) It’s funny that hangovers seems to kick off cravings in so many of us, why is that?!

  • Jennifer Small
    April 25 2017

    Thanks for this post! I’m always struggling with my Diet Coke habit and am taking this as motivation. I’ve been trying to limit myself to one a day, but it’s a hard craving to kick. Congrats and thanks for the encouragement!

    • Meihoukai
      April 26 2017

      Thank you! I know how hard a habit it is to kick, clearly — good luck!

  • Patrice Meihoukaiander
    April 25 2017

    Hi Meihoukai, Thought you might be interested in a green tea I have been drinking. I’m not a soda drinker but I am trying to lose 10 lbs as well. The country of origin is Thailand, too. It really helps tame cravings and aids in weight loss. It’s called “Integra Tea”. The company is Immortalitea. It is one of their Wellness Collection teas. Check out their website. I drink it iced. I think you would really like it. It is light and refreshing and very satisfying. congratulations on kicking the Diet Coke addiction! 🙂

    • Meihoukai
      April 26 2017

      Thanks Patrice! I’ll check that one out! Now that I drink tea I love checking out new types 🙂

  • Dad
    April 25 2017

    Congratulations! well it’s going to be hard to keep my fridge Diet Coke free when you come for a visit but I will do my best. Weaning my self down on the volume I consume but not intending to ever go Diet Coke free….I mean really. Love Dad

    • Meihoukai
      April 26 2017

      Well we can’t deny ourselves all joy in life 😉 I will tell you I think I enjoy and savor them more now that they are a more rare treat. And I still have my Diet Coke keychain! When I was dogsitting Tucker last summer I just never put the Diet Coke in your fridge and that was enough deterrent, since I feel like it goes flat if I put it over ice from a can. But I DEFINITELY got some every time I went through the Chipotle drive-through!

  • Marni
    April 25 2017

    Kudos to you!! That takes a lot of hard work and willpower, and I know that first hand. Years ago, I noticed I was eating a LOT of chocolate (far more than necessary), so I gave it up for a year… for one, to prove I could break my addiction of it, and two, to complete another New Years Resolution (‘stick to at least one New Years resolution for at least one year’). I managed it, broke my addiction to it, and eat far less than I once did. It was a very empowering feeling to last the year and prove to myself I was strong enough to do it.
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    • Meihoukai
      April 26 2017

      Nice, kudos to you too Marni! It’s really nice to still enjoy the treats we love and not feel powerless over them.

  • Gemma
    April 25 2017

    What an interesting read. My name is Gemma and I am a sugar addict. I’ve never been one for fizzy juice but man alive I make up for it in jelly sweets, chocolate and biscuits. Every now and then I get a grip and have a week off then gain control again but it’s tough. I like your view about the m+ms, it really is just (bad) habit. Can I recommend liquorice tea! Also for hangovers, I’m loving these hrydrarion tablets you drop into water, got me through Snowbombing.

    • Meihoukai
      April 26 2017

      Girl I feel you! That will be another post I hope someday because I too am a sugar addict 🙂 Cutting down on Diet Coke definitely helped curb the compulsion, but I still LOVE sweets. I try to go for coconut water instead of Diet Coke these days for a hangover but… sometimes it ends up being both 😉

  • Kathryn Allen
    April 25 2017

    OK, since Dad is going to keep his fridge DC free, I guess I will, too. Thanks a lot, JB!

    Really, this topic hits home. Today I was out of DC and it was messing with my day…Not good! Having a seltzer maker does help. I realize that the carbonation is part of what I itch for.

    Keep up the healthy focus, great work!

    • Meihoukai
      April 26 2017

      That is the worst! Honestly, I was so sick of my days being ruined because of a can of soda (or lack thereof). It shouldn’t be a make or break-er!

  • Cate
    April 25 2017

    Good for you for quitting! I’m not really addicted to any drink, although I do love Chai Tea a few times a week. I actually recently read an article that Diet Coke in excess could cause dementia and brain defects later in life- good thing you are diet free now! I admit that I love coming home from school on a friday and grabbing an ice cold Diet Coke to enjoy.
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    • Meihoukai
      April 26 2017

      Ha yeah I’ve seen all those articles and how sad that it was the thought of dropping a size that actually got me to cut down so drastically. Lol. Well, whatever gets you past the finish line!

  • Jo-Anne the crazy lady
    April 25 2017

    You did good, took me a while way back when to stop drinking Coke
    Jo-Anne the crazy lady recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      April 26 2017

      It can be quite the habit to kick! I’m grateful that I pretty much snapped out of my addiction in one try, though like I said I occasionally backslide, it hasn’t been anything I can’t snap back out of again.

  • Erin
    April 25 2017

    I wasn’t a tea drinker until I did a cleanse too! Now I like to buy fruity flavoured teas and leave them in the fridge overnight and drink them. Some are so sweet already they taste like juice and no sugar! ?

    • Meihoukai
      April 26 2017

      Me too! I always make my morning cup and then immediately make my afternoon one and stick it in the fridge so it’s ready to go for the mid-day Thailand heat 🙂 Two-years-ago me would DIE OF SHOCK to hear that today-me drinks tea straight up, no sweetener!

  • Tessa
    April 25 2017

    I never realized you were so addicted to it. I cannot stand Coke- regular or diet – only have it after an endurance event like a half marathon or 100km cycle race or if severely hungover and have a hockey match in Hong Kong summer. Then I can’t usually finish it.
    Well done on kicking the addiction ! Not to mention no longer tossing away a bunch of cans or plastic bottles into the bin every single day!!! That’s my biggest driver for drinking tap water. I have no waste after

    • Meihoukai
      April 26 2017

      Indeed, that was always nagging on my mind (I used to joke that my future home would have a soda fountain installed in the kitchen). Of course, I do everything possible to recycle but you can never be 100% sure where things end up, and it’s wasteful to produce in the first place. The soda water I drink here in Thailand comes in glass bottles that are re-bottled, so I feel a little less guilty about that. The packaging on some of the tea I buy here though is really ridiculous and wasteful.

  • PM1
    April 26 2017

    Your article on Diet Coke hit close to home. I was also addicted to it (one can a day). I hate Pepsi, Coke etc. but love Diet Coke. I’ve managed to drop down to 3 cans a week. Being in Asia has made it easier as many restaurants and vending machines are Pepsi only. But I’m on my way back to the States – let’s see if I can still maintain the pace of 3 servings a week.

    • Meihoukai
      April 26 2017

      Good luck to you! I agree it’s easier in Asia… I literally can’t believe that even McDonald’s in Bangkok doesn’t have fountain Diet Coke! (Can you feel my indignation?! Ha ha.)

  • Nadine
    April 26 2017

    I just love how many diet coke/coke photos you seem to have amassed over the years 🙂 And congrats on making this healthy change, isn’t it the best feeling when we set our minds to something and then achieve it?
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    • Meihoukai
      April 28 2017

      Lol — the funny thing is when I was putting this post together I was like, this doesn’t seem like NEARLY ENOUGH Diet Coke pictures considering all my years of loyal fandom!

  • Ijana Loss
    April 26 2017

    Great job Meihoukai, that’s a huge thing to do!! Improving your nutrition is always hard, and as someone who has the exact same attitude towards sugar and carbs as you say you do, I completely understand xD I’ve noticed that you quite often dive into challenges that you consider yourself “not good at” or “not who you are,” and I think that’s really awesome, you’re doing the hard work to make yourself better and not just accepting that you’re a certain way. That’s a good ethic to have!

    • Meihoukai
      April 28 2017

      Hey Ijana, thank you for saying that about me challenging myself to things I don’t consider myself good at — I hadn’t thought of that pattern before and I think it’s a great compliment, so thank you for pointing it out to me!

  • Elizabeth
    April 26 2017

    I can’t imagine it being easy, I’m impressed! Good job! I consider myself lucky because I never liked sodas (or pop), my parents had a glass every night for dinner so it was always around but it made my nose tickle haha!

    • Meihoukai
      April 28 2017

      Ha, my parents are TOTALLY hooked on the stuff and that’s where my love came from… I remember as a little kid begging to drink “just the foam!” whenever they poured a glass. It’s our family vice!

  • Kendal
    April 26 2017

    Currently trying to kick a food-related addiction and it is proving to be much more difficult than suspected. Every day is a new day and a new chance, so that is always a motivating thought for whenever I cave. It is never too late to jump back on the wagon. Congratulations on your success!
    Kendal recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      April 28 2017

      So true! And while weight loss and some results can be really painfully slow to achieve, I find that when I make positive diet changes I do FEEL IT almost immediately. Instant gratification for good choices 🙂

  • stephanie
    April 26 2017

    Great article. Very funny too.
    I can imagine that in Thailand it is much easier to drink water instead of diet coke.
    x
    stephanie recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      April 28 2017

      The heat alone is definitely quite motivating!

  • Lindsay
    April 26 2017

    Long time reader, first time commenting. I kicked a Diet Coke habit last fall because I didn’t like feeling like I had to have a Diet Coke everyday… and I feel so much better not craving it anymore! Thanks for writing such inspiring posts – I’m constantly adding destinations to my bucket list because of you!

    • Meihoukai
      April 28 2017

      Hey Lindsay! Thanks for saying hi! I agree that for me the worst “effect” of being hooked on Diet Coke was the craving itself. I hated feeling so beholden to something! Kudos to you for doing the same 🙂

  • Jessa
    April 27 2017

    Love this – so many things I can relate to! The comment about a resort only stocking Pepsi (seriously, can’t drink the stuff) made me laugh because I definitely had a moment like that at the resort I stayed at in Mexico this year. Thanks for all of the tips! 🙂

    • Meihoukai
      April 28 2017

      It’s like… why?!? I absolutely love the righteous indignation of soda addicts when a destination stocks the wrong drink. Lol!

  • Rekha Devarapalli
    April 27 2017

    Hey Meihoukai,

    Congratulations on becoming more independent now! I have never been into sodas, so I never realized how serious this addiction could be until I read this.
    Rekha Devarapalli recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      April 28 2017

      Count yourself lucky, Rekha 🙂 As you can see from the comments, it’s not an easy habit to kick!

  • Daniele
    April 27 2017

    Good for you Meihoukai! And props on waiting a long time to share… sometimes one wants to make sure it sticks.

    I did a holistic wellness diet in 2009 to figure out my food issues (all I knew was that I felt sick to my stomach multiple times a week, and often brain foggy) and it is hard.

    Sugar and wheat have never come back into my life in the same way. In the US there’s so much sugar in everything… My current Modus Operandi is “The closer it is to the sun, the better”. This actually helps me when I travel.. keeps me away from overly processed stuff that ultimately makes me feel crappy later. Mind you… I eat bread in Paris, but it’s Good Bread. Which apparently makes a difference…

    I’m rambling. Short of it is: little changes lead to bigger ones. Good for you, lady!

    • Meihoukai
      April 28 2017

      Thank you! And yup, I was so excited about this I wanted to write about it the minute those six weeks were over but in retrospect I’m so glad I waited; I had so much more to share about the journey a year later.

  • Chantae
    April 28 2017

    Kudos on quitting! Any advice on quitting sugar in general – I’m a total addict!!! Also — be honest, is this the reason Coca Cola just laid off a few thousand people 😉


    Chantae recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      May 11 2017

      Ha! Oh my gosh — I actually didn’t know about that. Though yeah, I probably drank enough to keep at least a few people employed… hope they find new work soon.

  • Cami
    April 28 2017

    The juxtaposition of your quitting journey and your many (many!) Diet Coke-lovin’ pics had me laughing out loud. Good for you, girl. I fear I’m shackled to Red Bull for life…

    • Meihoukai
      May 11 2017

      Red Bull makes me feel like I’m having a heart attack! I used to drink it with vodka frequently… but it really doesn’t feel nice on the ‘ol ticker, lol.

  • Chad
    April 28 2017

    As a raging Coca-Cola addict myself, you inspire me. Thanks … might have to try to kick my habit again now!

    • Meihoukai
      May 11 2017

      Good luck Chad! It’s nice not to feel shackled to any sort of habit!

  • brossie
    April 29 2017

    I relate to your post as I gave up Coke Zero cold turkey two months ago. I had a serious addiction of 2-3 litres A DAY and have drunk Diet Coke or Coke Zero for 20 years. Anyone who knew me knew I loved the stuff! I tried cutting down several times but this time I gave up completely. I now drink soda water with a dash of Robinsons sugar-free concentrate to flavour it (I live in Bangkok). It’s good to not be addicted anymore….I think!

    • Meihoukai
      May 11 2017

      Kudos to your girl! I cannot BELIEVE how my taste buds have changed, to go from honestly kind of loathing green tea and tolerating plain soda water to craving and loving both. It makes me wonder what other changes my body and taste buds are capable of. By the way, I LOVE the crazy carbonation in Singha soda water! It’s like, the most carbonated beverage I’ve ever had anywhere in the world, ha ha. Oh, Thailand!

  • Justine Lopez
    April 29 2017

    Congrats on kicking the habit Meihoukai! I’m not a diet soda drinker but I am an insane seltzer water drinker. Back in California I had my own seltzer machine, and it was literally my favorite thing I owned. I drank copious amounts of it all day long. And could even make it extra fizzy! I loved that machine. I miss it dearly here in Asia. I even considered moving it out here with me, but I’m not sure I how would refill the canisters. And I didn’t have room to pack a ton of them with me… But at least there’s canned carbonated water at my local corner store here in Beijing 🙂
    Justine Lopez recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      May 11 2017

      Ah, good point about the canisters. I didn’t think about that when considering bringing one back here with me in the fall, ha ha. I guess I’ll just have to enjoy one while I can this summer!

  • becky hutner
    April 30 2017

    My fellow recovered addict!! I have always admired your ability to run at challenges so BRAVO for doing it once again.

    It sounds like you’re well aware of a lot of the issues with diet coke. There is so much scary information out there about artificial sweeteners and processed food in general that I am personally only comfortable staying as close to nature as possible these days. Our food system looks nothing like it did 50 years ago & is unrecognisable from our diet 100 years ago. I think it’s pretty clear the health issues that have risen to epidemic levels — cancer, autism, alzheimer’s, ADHD, food intolerance, type 2 diabetes, auto immune diseases, obesity — many of which were extremely rare just a generation ago, show us our lifestyles and all we’re exposed to in modern industrial life are having disastrous consequences. That said, my dad is a lifelong diehard diet coke drinker (guess where I got it from) who thinks nothing of swigging at a 2 liter plastic bottle right before bed & is the literally the healthiest, most energetic 70 year old I have ever met!

    We’re all different with varying abilities to cope with the potentially toxic agents we consume. I think it’s easy to shrug off an article about potential health risks when we’ve never been sick ourselves. I was that way for much of my life. Then I got hit with a mysterious chronic health condition that made me examine everything. Did diet coke contribute to my predicament? Who knows! Because our food system is so new, we’re just in the beginning stages of understanding how all of these chemicals, additives, excess sugar, excess omega 6 fats etc. are affecting us. Plus, causality when it comes to illness is such a complicated thing. You read an article that says “Aspartame linked to Alzheimer’s” & think well, aspartame must cause alzheimer’s, I’ll just avoid that and be good. But from what I understand, the recipe for illness has many, many ingredients including your own genetic and bacterial makeup and lifestyle along with everything we – and the world – add to our systems. So in light of this, going back to my original point, what seems like the safest route – FOR ME, at this present time, because we’re always evolving – is to stick with a whole foods, plant-based diet that’s low on the pesticides & high in healthy fats (coco oil, olive, oil, avocados etc)…

    PLUS the odd pint of course! God, what kind of a puritan do you think I am? Basically, we do what we think is best with the information we have at the time! It’s such a complex world, in some ways more so than ever before. Good luck out there Meihoukai. Beware of slipping into those DC binges during times of stress. Reading this reminded me of my many relapses during stressful periods before actually quitting FOR GOOD. And I look forward to more health-related posts! x

    • becky hutner
      April 30 2017

      One more thing! (let’s be honest, I have 20 more things but trying to restrain myself here) Like you, I also started replacing the fizz with way more water AND while you took up tea, I took up coffee though not at all as a conscious replacement. In retrospect, I guess it was. While coffee has its own controversies, it also has a ton of health benefits which one cannot say for our naughty friend!

      • Meihoukai
        May 11 2017

        Girl, I agree with you on so many points. There is no way to look at our health crisis and health care crisis in North America and not link it with what is clearly a deeply broken food system.

        Also, you make a good point about our abilities to process and cope with various toxins. I never, ever had any negative side effects from drinking Diet Coke — no headaches, no sore stomach, nada — which made it easy to shrug off for so many years. Unfortunately/fortunately, I have the same reaction to sugar: none. I could eat a piece of cake and go to the gym. I almost wish I had some immediate consequences… it’s harder to correlate the longer term ones like weight gain the next time you see a delicious slice.

        I do admit though, that while my doctors VEHEMENTLY denied it, I always wondered if there might be some correlation between my fibroadenomas and my Diet Coke consumption. I guess I at least have one less thing to blame myself for if another one appears.

  • Kaitie
    May 1 2017

    I could’ve written this post myself…up to the quitting part. The worst is waking up in the morning and feeling like you have to run to the nearest store for a cold can. The weird thing is, if I’m out of town, I rarely drink it because I’m either drinking water or wine since I’m on vacation. So it seems like a “home” thing, and I could still drink it at a restaurant or special occasion if I wanted to. I have a few more left in the fridge but think this could be the push I need, so thanks for writing about it!

    • Meihoukai
      May 11 2017

      Haha, I love that on vacation you’re drinking “water or wine.” Yup, the early morning run to the corner store is the worst. Became such a hassle so many times in my life, I swear that was one of my biggest motivations to quit. Laziness. Ha ha. Well, whatever gets your to the finish line I guess!

  • Mario
    May 9 2017

    Congrats Meihoukai!
    I also decided to stop drinking soda as a “preventive measure”, and can proudly say that I haven’t had one for over a year (the last one I drank was in Vietnam while traveling, and only because it was included on the menu).
    I’m no longer tempted to drink soda but the sound of an opening can *PSSSST ACK* still triggers me. lol
    Now, more than craving to drink a coke again, I want to see how far can I get by without touching one.
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    • Meihoukai
      May 12 2017

      Kudos, Mario! I’m not interested in giving it up long term, but it’s so nice not to be addicted any more. Very impressed by all of you who have given it up totally.