Confession time – I’m sat on my couch with my laptop and an ice-cold can of Diet Coke by my side. There is always Diet Coke by my side. For 18 years it has been my fizzy companion and I’ve loved it with all my heart.
If I had to choose between the brown liquid – or chocolate, booze, cake, pasta… I’d pick Diet Coke over all of those sweet treats I adore. But when I really think about it, I’m not really sure why.
This is how bad I am (and I’ve been worse in the past) – I drink at least four cans of diet coke a day. I can get through a 1.5l bottle in a day easily. If I’m out drinking, I’ll choose vodka and Diet coke.
When I was at university, I would wake up and have a glass of Coke for breakfast, and even drink a can in the middle of the night if I woke up.
If I don’t have a supply in my fridge, I start to panic and can’t relax until I stock up. If I’m going on a train or am out for a day – I have to buy a bottle to keep on me so I am constantly sipping on the brown liquid.
The idea of not being able to drink Coke after a few hours/days is actually quite upsetting to me.
So yeah, I’m embarrassed to say it, but I drink A LOT, and even then I feel like I’m holding back.
I think my addiction peaked a couple of years ago I discovered a Diet Coke glitch at Tesco. I literally bought hundreds of cans of Coke for £15. I had boxes and boxes of coke that filled up my hallway, towering over me.
It was the kind of amount most people wouldn’t drink in their lifetime – I got through it all in six weeks.
The problem with my Diet Coke addiction
If I had a penny every time some smart-arse told me that the aspartame in the Diet Coke is bad for me/puts holes in my brain/is going to give me cancer – it would probably cover the cost my Coke habit.
If you were addicted to lettuce or yoga – it wouldn’t really matter right? And drinking a lo soft fizzy drink doesn’t seem like it should be a problem, but it really is.
When I think carefully about why I like Diet Coke, I can’t figure out why. I don’t even know what the taste is – and I’m not a fan of other fizzy drinks, so it’s not the bubbles I love – I don’t really know what the draw is. I think there is a chemical, actual addiction.
The two main problems with my Diet Coke addiction are: the money it costs and how it affects my health.
My tooth confession
I’ve always associated looking after my body with dieting. I’ve never managed to win at the whole weight-loss thing (who really has though eh?) but have been in slimming clubs since I was about 13 years old.
Something these groups tend to recommend is the consumption of diet drinks because there are no calories in them. So I would find that instead of picking up a chocolate bar – I’d get a cold glass of fizzy coke and I was just as happy(ish) and I wasn’t putting on weight.
Now, I’d pride myself on my smile. I like to think I have nice, white teeth – but the truth is, two of them are completely fake (I have a brilliant and expensive dentist who hides my sins) and I’m terrified to go to my appointments, because every time I go, ANOTHER thing is wrong and he tells me it is because of my diet coke consumption.
At 19 years old in university, I bit into a slice of bread (A BLOODY SLICE OF BREAD) and my tooth crumbled. Like, disintegrated. And the thing is, they don’t look rotten – the coke had just hollowed out the middle.
AND I STILL KEEP DRINKING IT. It’s mad right?
I’ve spent thousands of pounds on Diet Coke
I think it would be very fair to say I have spent £3 on Diet coke EVERY DAY since I was 13 years old – and that’s a conservative estimate.
Ok, so a bit of maths. This means I have been drinking it for 18 years (JEEZE).
So, £3 x 365 days is £1,095 a year x 18 = £19,720.
Writing that down has made me feel a bit sick.
How I am going to give up
I’m going to give it up. I have to. There are lots of things you can say about drinking Diet Coke, but I KNOW two things. It’s ruining my teeth and I’ve spent £20,000 on my drug of choice.
I tried to give up last year. I went three days without it and I have NEVER experienced anything like it. I had headaches, stomach pains and was in the worst mood.
I’m also not a stranger to addiction. I used to smoke. I spent a lot of time giving up and then starting again – until I discovered Allen Carr’s Easy Way to Stop Smoking, which is the best £7 you will ever spend if you are a smoker. I can personally attest to five heavy smokers who easily quit once they read this book and have never smoked since – years later.
The book tries to get you to really look at why you like cigarettes. Once the addictive substance is out of you (which is an awful process), there is nothing left to make you want to smoke, apart from the habit which is just all in your head.
I’m going to take this principle and apply it to drinking Diet Coke. The caffeine is what I think is the addictive aspect in Diet Coke (please let me know if you know differently). So I just have to wait until that is out of my system – which will mean a few days of headaches and general unpleasantness.
After that, there is NO real reason for me to pick up a Diet Coke. So whenever I go for one I’m going to ask myself these two questions:
- Do I like the taste of this? Why am I drinking it? I’m going to really think about the taste – because honestly, I don’t actually think it tastes of anything. (Does anyone actually know what flavour Coke is?!)
- Is this satisfying my thirst? Again, why am I drinking this? Am I thirsty? If I am trying to quench thirst – then is this the best choice? Is it REALLY as satisfying as a glass of cold water.
Am I alone in this? If you have a Diet Coke problem – let me know in the comments!