Saturday, 30 March 2013

It was never about the Diet Coke

I've said it before and I'll say it again.

Sometimes I do stupid things and I don't know why.

Who decides to put a stop to a supersonic Diet Coke addiction on the Easter weekend?!
(ex) Diet Coke loverrrrrrr
Seriously - I don't make things easy on myself, do I?

Well, that's what I have done.  I am no longer a Diet Coke drinker.  I don't drink that stuff.  "Diet Coke?"  "No thanks."

It's been 8 hours and 2 minutes......................

I won't bore you with the ins and outs of my addiction - if you're interested you can read this post: My name is Kate, and I'm a Diet Coke addict  But just take it from me - I've been hooked for years, and up until 7am this morning, I have been drinking around 6-8 cans or bottles of Diet Coke a day.  It's been an addiction in every sense of the word.

Ever since my first 12WBT finale weekend, I've been aware that maybe this is something that I should consider stopping.  When you throw yourself head first into a complete health revolution
with a group of people doing the same, it's inevitable that they are going to have some
Last Diet Coke in the car
kind of opinion on your addiction to aspartame poison. :)  There's been many a sidewards glance across the dinner table from fellow 12WBTers, and many times I've physically hidden Diet Cokes from them - once I actually put a blanket over a carton of Diet Cokes in my car, just to avoid a lecture!  I know this has all been out of care - not that it makes it any easier to order in front of them! :)  It's not just 12 weekers though.  My family and friends are very intimate in the knowledge of my addiction.  So many of them do a shy little grin when I go to visit: "I bought you some Diet Coke."  Bless them.  Anyone who's been inside my car with the 10 cup holders can see the evidence themselves.  One of my friends felt the evidence once when the dregs of one 'empty' can dribbled on her toe when we were on our way out!  (Sorry, Leisa). My earliest memory of Diet Coke was going out for breakfast with my Auntie.  It was years ago and she was (is) my cool, closest to my age, Broadway actress, understanding, big sister type Auntie.  She ordered a chocolate chip muffin and a Diet Coke.  FOR BREAKFAST!  Awesome!  I'll have the same, thanks!  I knew she was cool!  Since then, over the years, that one Diet Coke has developed into a full blown habit.  The cool factor of course
Bye bye Diet Coke :(
lasted for that day - the addiction it turned into was something a lot more.  But my Aunt and I, we were the Diet Coke girls - we loved the stuff.  Interestingly enough, she gave it up a couple of years ago - something about a health problem - something I never bothered to ask more questions about - of course it wasn't ignorance.... But that's how it's been.  I drank it at 4:30am when I woke up, in the car, with every meal, before I went to bed, constantly at my desk, every time I went out for 'coffee', instead of alcohol - it was my coffee and my vodka, my food replacement and my right arm.

On Tuesday night this week I was out at dinner and somehow I made a promise to a friend, Ruth.  That this morning, at 7am, using parkrun as an event to mark this, I would stop drinking Diet Coke.  In essence, I was stuck on this goal that I had procrastinated for so long and this night I made a decision.  Well, to be more accurate,
a promise. #whydoesruthknowmesowell?!

So that meant 3 days of OD'ing on my last Diet Coke carton, prior to 7am this morning.  People were awesome in the lead up - a whole stack of 30+ers -- amazing women -- have made pledges to also give up soft drinks, specific food, and cigarettes today.  One of my workmates is giving up sugar this weekend - and another is trying to decide what he can stop just so he can join us in quitting something!  People have been lovely and supportive and it was a really nice lead up.

However..on Thursday afternoon I posted on Instagram a photo of my last Diet Coke bought from the work vending machine.  My friend Sarah commented on the picture, just an innocent, normal comment, but it sent me spinning.  She asked WHY I was doing this.

The handshake that sealed the promise!
Hmm yeah...well it's all nice and exciting until someone asks why! :)

I seriously stopped - I was stumped.  I DIDN'T KNOW!  "Because I promised Ruth" didn't seem to be a valid response.  Nor was it, of course, withstanding.


I truly, honestly, didn't know.  I spoke to some friends and they gave me some good reminders.  I spent an hour or so on Google last night and read about aspartame...phenylalanine... blah blah blah.  To be honest?  Nothing jumped out.  I just glossed over it.  I was still going to do this though!  I'd put it on Facebook!  I had to now!

But I needed a real reason.  It would never last unless there was a pretty damn good point for doing this.

Last Diet Coke from the work vending machine
My issue was - I know that it's bad for me.  I've been told why.  But do you know what?  I don't know that.  It's like when I quit smoking.  I knew that was bad for me, sure.  But could I see any effects at the time?  Not really...a few...but nothing like the gross pictures and scary stories you hear about.  It was the whole immortal teenager syndrome - I can't see it, so it won't happen to me.  I had to have faith that what I was being told - that smoking can kill - was true.  Fortunately I had the faith and I quit!  But I guess I am the type of person who needs pretty punchy reasons to do something.  I have felt no ill effects from drinking Diet Coke!  None whatsoever!  (Ok, my bank balance takes a slight knocking).  But really?  I've happy in my own little Diet Coke doesn't hurt, it doesn't make me sick, it doesn't give me yellow teeth or cause me to cough my lungs up....

I guess I had to treat it like when I quit smoking...just trust that when I'm told it's bad for me, that
7am today - it's time!
it's true.  Even if I don't feel any effects right now. But something wasn't sitting right.

Up until last night / this morning, I still didn't know exactly why I was doing this.  The promise to Ruth and the public statement on the 30+ Facebook page weren't enough to hold this up.  Yet I still decided to do it.

At 6:55am I finished my last Diet Coke.  I ran parkrun.  And then I was officially a non Diet Coke drinker.

The reason I did this, and the reason I have been crying on and off since 7am this morning, was something else that I have pieced together since last night.

I've got this friend who has been so supportive of all of this you see...she's smart and she's lovely and I respect her a lot more than she probably knows.  She said to me last night that she suspects that my addiction may be emotional rather than only physical.  <Insert-head-strong-no-way-is-this-emotional-what-are-you-talking-about-as-if-it's-emotional-teenager-rant-here>  But, ummm, that was it!

After I allowed myself to be honest and rationalise this, I realised that, that was the exact point.

Yes my addiction was physical and it's been a pretty good 'everything' replacement for so long - and giving it up I'll get headaches and withdrawals but I'll get through that.  But the real fear factor
Courtney and I at parkrun.  Court gave up Coke Zero too!
was this was my one last 'thing' left! Years ago I stopped drinking alcohol.  I still drink occassionally - but it's no longer a thing I turn to, I just enjoy it now and again.
Last year I quit smoking.  I no longer turn to cigarettes.
And of course I have been curing myself of emotional eating - I no longer turn to food.
And now I can't turn to Diet Coke??

What am I supposed to turn to now?


That's it!  That is why this is so big.  And that is why I had to do this.

It's just Moment #357 of this journey that I am on.  

I didn't cope well today.  I'm embarrassed to say that I turned to food.  But just for today.  I felt lost and naked and like I needed something to fill that void.  That was until I realised that I have a void!  Now that I realise this, I have to be brave and let it go.....

I've been sitting here reassessing my goals and reflecting on where I have been.  Alcohol,
Throwing the last can in the bin...
cigarettes, food, my beloved Diet was never about the Diet Coke or any of the other stuff. :) It was about me using and overdosing on stuff when really I need to be turning to myself.  Getting rid of each of those things, one by one, is all part of making me the best, healthiest and happiest person that I can.

My journey is about this girl below: raw - with no addictive poisoning overconsumed products to mask her anymore.

And very exciting.

Just me now.


  1. Kate... another thing we have/had in common. I used to start the day with a diet coke routinely. And I would take my own in my handbag to friends houses if I knew they didn't have any. I was totally addicted. And I thought I couldn't lose weight without it.
    It was to me as the feather is to Dumbo!
    Of course I can lose weight without it!
    I've found some other "things".
    I stopped on 4th January! And it was tough. But now I don't have any active addictions. I still have issues being in front of a plate of chips but I certainly don't cook them up for myself on a daily basis.

    There are so many health benefits which you are about to experience, but mostly I am so glad not to have to cringe when I BYO diet coke everywhere, run two blocks at lunch breaks at courses if there was no diet coke, Ask for a diet coke on the coffee round and make a joke about never quite leaving adolescence. I am just Bek. And I can fly! Without my feather!

    GO YOU!

    1. Thanks so much Bek :) That makes me feel less alone - we are so similar! Wow I thought I was the only one who felt a bit awkward when orders are being made: "coffee...chai latte....caramel latter...flat white...Diet Coke..." --- doesn't have quite the same tone does it? :) I hope I feel some benefit coz at the moment I'm just feeling like I'm getting rid of it because it's an addiction rather than it being for my health. Thanks for the support and encouragement :) xo

  2. Ahhh Kate, one thing I've come to realise about you through your blog is that you don't take the easy way out, and that includes the end to your diet coke on this tough weekend. And that dear girl, that hard work in giving it up, is what is going to make it worthwhile.


  3. I hear you, how are you going? I was quitting on Thursday, yet on Sunday I bought yet another case of diet coke. I'm a 4 + can a day girl, I'm known for taking 3 cans to work, 2 through the day one on the way home, and one for breakfast. I try not to drink it after 5.

    My diet coke addiction brought another addiction with it, to mersyndol, so I can sleep at night. Now I have two things to un addict from. You are doing one better than I am. I wont be taking any diet coke to work this week, if I really really have to have one I'll have to walk for it down to the service station.

    We can do this together.

  4. Go you girl! I gave up when my front teeth started flaking off so it really is worth giving away.