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A Guide to Quit Drinking Soda a (no 12-step program required)

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If you need some extra help and accountability, please feel free to sign up for my Quit Drinking Soda Challenge at the bottom of this post!

When I was a single woman in the workforce, I consumed 6-12 cans of Dr. Pepper a day. No, I'm not exaggerating. I drank it like water (unfortunately, I actually drank it instead of water). When I got pregnant with my first child, I cut back on caffeine because I read that it wasn't good for the baby. “Cutting back” wasn't really enough, though, and I soon realized that I couldn't get through the day without a can of soda.

Adding five kids, homeschooling, and working from home to the mix, I found myself inventing excuses to run out so I could hit up a fast food drive-thru and get my soda fix. I purposely wouldn't buy it, or keep it in the house at all, but I still wanted one every day.

It wasn't until I started eating the Trim Healthy Mama way that I realized I needed to give it up for good. Since then, I've found that if I have just one soda as a treat for my birthday, it turns into ten. A “special occasion” soda leads to an “I finished my project for work” soda, or “I got through the school day without losing my mind” soda, and so on. I imagine that some people can have the occasional soda and not slip right back into their bad habit, but I am not one of them. So I invite you to join me as I retrace my steps of quitting soda for THM, and commit to no sugary or diet soda at all.

Tip 1: Admit you have a problem. Just kidding, that's not really tip one. But I seriously do have a problem. I'm definitely addicted. The REAL tip one is to read this article from Wellness Mama: Ten Reasons to Avoid Drinking Soda. Disturbing, right? Those are pretty good reasons to quit.

Tip 2: Set goals. Weight loss goals, general health goals, whatever floats your boat. I quit soda to lose weight (and I did! 30 pounds gone with Trim Healthy Mama!) and I'm sure that giving up soda was very beneficial in my weight loss journey. But I also noticed that when I have soda, I develop twitches and other oddities. I generally feel much, much healthier without soda, and I have a feeling you will, too.

Tip 3: Have an accountability partner. When I tell my kids I'm quitting, it's a great motivation to stick with it. I don't want to set a bad example for them, and when they say, “Hey, mom, I thought you were giving up Dr. Pepper?” it's a shameful kick in the pants. Friends, co-workers, and family members can all help with accountability.

Tip 4: Stock up on the good stuff! Replacing just one soda a day with one of these will be a huge step in the right direction. These are my favorite THM-friendly thirst quenchers to keep me away from the hard stuff (Dr. Pepper, not alcohol). I am not a THM purist, by any means, but these beverages can ease the craving for sure. They are low-carb, low-sugar, and mainly sweetened with stevia or erythritol.

Of course, plain water is the best option, and you need to make sure you're getting plenty of it every day. I aim for half of my body weight in ounces of water every day (for example, weighing 124 I try to drink 62 ounces of water per day). My “rule” about these special drinks is that I can definitely have one if I'm feeling like I'll cave and have a soda, but I generally make myself drink my daily allotment of water before I have one of these drinks. That makes them more of a special treat and more like a reward…but a much healthier reward than a can of soda!

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These are not in order of favorites:

1. Perrier sparkling water (lime flavored) which is now available at Costco. I could drink five a day. I don't drink five a day, because I would go broke, but they are really satisfying and give me the soda feeling of drinking a carbonated beverage out of a cold can.

2. Zevia soda sweetened with stevia (check the ingredients, because I've read rumors of Zevia switching to Monk Fruit sweetener).

3. Bai fruit drinks. Sweetened with stevia and erythritol, these are low-glycemic life savers! They have sparkling flavors, too. They are perfect for the Trim Healthy Mama diet because they are naturally sweetened and won't spike your blood sugar.  I get these at Costco, too, for a cheaper price-per-drink than my local grocery store, and I REALLY love them. They have a yummy fruity flavor. My favorites are Costa Rica Clementine and Brasilia Blueberry. Unfortunately the Costco boxes only include four flavors, so I can't get my other favorites (Panama Peach and Congo Pear) and Costco, but maybe someday! Update: Now they have watermelon, and it is my favorite! I always buy mine on Amazon, because it's the best price I've found, but if you find cheaper I'd love to hear about it! 

4. Blue Sky Stevia Soda

5. Vitamin Water Zero

6. True Lemon Raspberry Lemonade drink packets

7. Honest Fizz soda (not pictured, my local Target just started carrying these for $6.99 per six pack, which is pretty pricey, but it's helped me to stop drinking the bad stuff so I'm willing to splurge occasionally)

If you were only going to buy one or two of these suggestions to start, I would definitely grab Bai drinks and Perrier water first.

Tip 5: Exercise. A lot of it is mental for me, but when I exercise every day I have a really hard time drinking the standard ten teaspoons or so of sugar in a can of soda and negating my hard work. It's a great motivation to step away from the sugary drinks.

Tip 6: Measure your progress. If you are measuring lost inches, charting an increase in good health, or marking days off of a calendar, those visible results will spur you on and motivate you to keep going. Don't give up! Shoot for thirty days of no soda to start with, or ask friends to participate in a soda-free summer.

Even if you take some of these steps you will be on a great path to better health! The key to quitting soda successfully is to get out of the habit of drinking it. Start making a new, healthier habit of always drinking water when you're out (or whenever you're most likely to indulge).

Have you quit soda – or anything else that's bad for you? Do you have any ideas on quitting for good? Please share!

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25 Comments

  1. I am trying to cut out diet sodas now, again…I know how bad they are, but among some health problems I have, caffeine seems to be the only thing to keep me going. None today, so far, yay! Trying THM again as well, it has been tough. So many of my friends have done it, but I have had difficulty with it. I am also trying to record my meals on myfitnesspal.com for extra accountability.
    Just found your blog and I love it. I have 4 children recently graduated from homeschooling, so we have some similarities. Thanks for the helps from THM.

    Always Experiencing Him,
    Jody

    1. Thanks for commenting, Jody! Yay for no soda today! I honestly think the first two weeks of no soda are the hardest, but it definitely gets easier after that. I’m heading over now to check out your FaithFamilyFarm blog!

  2. I just found your blog and I think we are separated twins! LOL. I love Dr.pepper and would have about 5 or 6 a day in college. I’ve only had 1 or2 a day for a few years now, but I’ve known I need to quit for a long time. I found Dr. Zevia back in the spring, but it’s still been hard. I swear sodas are like an addictive drug! I’m just now starting thm and their various drink recipes are going to be a big help. Thanks so much for sharing, I’m looking forward to reading more of your menu ideas for g-free thm.

    1. Ahhh me too! It sounds mean but I’m kind of glad it’s not just me. πŸ™‚ Every time I quit, if I let myself have even a sip of Dr. Pepper I regress back to my old ways! I have to stay off of it for good.

  3. Thank you for posting this article! I could relate to so much that you said. I agree that sodas can become a true addiction, and I can’t have ‘just that one’ without it turning into a habit again. One question: do you drink Sobe’s Lifewater? I really enjoy those and I believe they are on plan. They have nice light flavors.

  4. I have found one or two cups of chai tea (or some kind of flavored, caffeinated tea), with stevia, in the mornings helps me with my Dr Pepper cravings. It hits the need for caffeine without the sugar.
    It’s good to know I’m not the only one with a Dr Pepper problem, too. Thanks for the encouragement.

  5. Hi! Just stumbled upon this while looking for THM-safe drinks. πŸ™‚ I grew up on pop, and while I don’t have a “need” for it, I do still like it. I found Zevia to be a good replacement, but upon checking my 3 flavors, they do have the monk fruit in it. (Last ingredient listed) Is that bad?

    1. Monk fruit isn’t approved for the THM plan, but I’ve still had Zevia and haven’t gained any weight, so it may fall into the “personal decision” category.

  6. My addiction was Cherry Coke. Sigh. The desire may never go away. The sound of a can opening and the carbonation, the smell even, can make that craving go into overdrive. Kids are a good way to quit. Just ask for their ‘help’ and their reminders of your good intentions are a good way to snap you out of a craving haze. Keeping track of how many days/months/(hours) you’ve successfully gone without can help. But if you do slip and have a soda, don’t give up! Start that clock over and just keep swimming! You can do this! (Though it really helps if your husband does it, too, just to keep it out of the house!)

    1. Those are great tips, and I can REALLY relate with what you said about the can opening! I use sparkling water cans to help me get over that, like La Croix or Perrier. It helps a little, but I definitely know what you’re talking about there!

  7. Hi Jen. My addiction was Diet Coke. About a year ago I had surgery and after that I just couldn’t stand the taste. Lucky me. It was easy to give them up. If it wasn’t for that I’d probably still be drinking them. My new favorite drink is sweet tea however I am in the process of eliminating the sugar and drinking it plain. Occasionally I will use a sugar substitute but it is easier to just go without. I’m too lazy to try to get it all dissolved!

    1. Wow, good for you for quitting! Have you tried liquid stevia? I use that in my unsweetened tea because I don’t have to wait for it to dissolve (I hear you on that one, I’m not a fan of chunks of sweetener in my glass).

      1. What brand of liquid stevia do you like? I have not tried any. I’m afraid it will have a bad taste.

  8. Just joined your 21-Day Quit Soda Challenge. I’ve had a terrible time giving up Diet Coke. I was able to do so for a couple of weeks, but my problem is that I rely on it for the caffeine to get me going. I actually feel better when I drink it. It also helps when I’m feeling nauseated. I can’t drink coffee, and tea doesn’t seem to have the same caffeine boost. I tried the Oolong, but it felt like I was drinking burnt ashes! Any suggestions??

    1. Yes! So you have two options here – you can quit caffeine, or you can substitute.I had to quit caffeine for health reasons, and it was hard, but once I get past the first month or so I felt so much better – I didn’t even realize it was affecting me so negatively!

      If you don’t want to quit caffeine, I would recommend replacing Diet Coke with a cup of coffee for caffeine. Bai 5 drinks also have a decent amount of caffeine, so those work well for me.

  9. I have heard that monk fruit is ok, and approved, limited though, for those who have allergies or other issues with xylitol, erythritol, and stevia.

    Another pop option is Virgil’s Zero.

  10. I signed up for the quit soda challenge, but I am only receiving every fourth email. I checked my junk mail, and didn’t see anything. I’m sure it is a problem on my end, but I thought I would ask in case it was something others are having a problem with. Sorry to bother you! Thanks!

    1. Hi Jackie, I’m sorry about that! I haven’t heard that from anyone else. I’m not sure what the problem could be, but I’m looking into it.

      1. I think I’m having the same or similar problem. I have received the initial get started email and Day 4 email.

        My weakness, too, is Dr. Pepper! It’s the only thing I drank before getting pregnant, then I dropped to one can a day while pregnant and breast-feeding. Four and a half years and five kids later (!!), I was back to full-time DP! I actually quit last year and then had that celebratory soda. Now I’m right back where I was. SO frustrating!! πŸ™‚ Thanks for getting the challenge together — it has been a great motivator to get back to a soda-free life!

        1. I think Dr. Pepper must be the most addicting – I get more comments about that than any other soda! I’m sorry to say this, but I double-checked and it looks like all of the emails are showing “delivered” to you. πŸ™ I’m not sure what else I can do – you could try checking your spam folder, searching again, or unsubscribing and re-subscribing. I’m so sorry! I wish I could fix it for you!

  11. THM Good Girl Moonshine without the ginger helps me fight the Dr Pepper want. It’s sweet but has a bite like carbonated drinks. Dr Pepper is my stress drink. I tell myself that drinking the ones with pure cane sugar isn’t as bad. πŸ˜‰ It has been the hardest thing to give up.

  12. I love the Bai drinks and mix it with a tablespoon of acv with the mother. A great way to have a good girl moonshine.

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