© David Gallaher | Dreamstime.com
Sodas and diet sodas are highly addictive and difficult to stop altogether, but we have some practical guidelines to help you. If you’re wondering how to quit drinking soda or diet soda for good, start here.
How to Quit Drinking Sodas—6 Steps for Success
1. Assess your current symptoms. Make a list of your current symptoms or health problems, if any: high blood pressure, high cholesterol, low bone density, overweight, depression, daily aches and pains—what ails you may be affected by what you drink.
2. Identify why you want to quit drinking sodas. Find a specific purpose for why you want to quit drinking sodas. Start by reviewing 7 serious health effects of soda consumption; choose the health incentives that apply to you specifically and write them down: weight loss, blood sugar control, osteoporosis prevention…. In addition to your health goals, try and find a truly valuable motivation—something that is precious to you. Here are a few examples: “I want to feel better and have more energy so I can enjoy my time with my friends,” or “I don’t want my family to worry about taking care of me because I’m in poor health 20 years from now.”
3. Throw away your sodas and diet sodas at home. If you want to quit, quit now. It may seem like a waste, but it’s not! That soda is better down the drain than in your stomach.
4. Substitute sodas and diet sodas with healthier drinks. When you’re craving a soda, reach for a healthier alternative instead. For example, try carbonated water with fruit, smoothies, tea, or plain water.
5. Be persistent. When you first quit drinking sodas and diet sodas, you might experience withdrawal symptoms—headaches, anxiety, mood swings, or inability to concentrate. Some of these symptoms may be purely related to a caffeine withdrawal. Try drinking tea or green tea (with caffeine) or take B vitamins to help ease your symptoms. Remember, these withdrawal symptoms are temporary and will generally subside within a week, so don’t give up on giving up the sodas.
6. Reward yourself. Set different times to reward your good efforts: two weeks from now, one month from now, three months from now, and so on. Buy yourself a gift, go out to a nice dinner, spend a day at the spa, get a massage, or whatever special perk you enjoy. When you’re craving a soda, think about your motivating purpose and your reward.
Have You Already Quit Drinking Soda or Diet Soda?
Have you recently quit sodas or diet sodas? How did you do it—what motivated you? Did you experience any withdrawal symptoms? How do you feel now? Has your health improved? Tell us your experience in the “Comments” sections below. By sharing your advice on how to quit drinking soda—the tips that worked best for you—you’ll encourage others who are looking to achieve a healthier lifestyle of their own. Let’s help motivate each other!
Originally published in March 2013 and updated.