Cut the Soda Challenge- How It Could Save Your Health and Your Wallet

I’m writing this while I’m chugging a Coca-Cola? Why? Because the stuff tastes so dang good, makes me feel good, has a fun bubble, comes in a pretty red can, and is addictive. But then again, that’s no surprise. Half of Americans drink soda every day. Once again, I have come to the conclusion that I have to stop drinking soda, and it’s a bitter-sweet goodbye. I just want to grab it and say “No! Not that! Anything but THAT!” But alas… my wallet (and my body) tells me that it is something that needs to be kicked to the curb. So here is my Ditch the Soda Challenge. I hope you will join me on my journey to a soda-free, healthier, and more frugal life.

ditch the soda

Motivation!

So do you need motivation to kick the soda habit? Me too! There are many reasons to quit drinking soda, but the two most important and probably the most influential are health and money. I’m One Broke Mom. You didn’t think I would skip the frugal issue, did you?

Okay, so first thing’s first: health. This is the most obvious and important reason to kick the habit. We all know that soda is bad for your health. But do you know why? Sugar? Sure! Caffeine? Yes! Sodium? Well, of course. But what can soda do to your body? Do you really know what these ingredients can do?

sugar in soda

Sugar:

  • It is filled with calories that are stored in your fat tissues and can cause obesity
  • Can rot teeth
  • Lowers the immune system
  • Causes wrinkles because it damages collagen
  • Attacks your nervous system and can cause anxiety, depression, schizophrenia, and hyperactivity caused by insulin and adrenalin.
  • can cause diabetes, kidney and heart problems
  • It’s empty calories that makes your body steal vitamins from your vital organs to help digest it.

Caffeine: 

  • Blurs vision and causes dizziness
  • Causes drowsiness (yes, the opposite of what you thought!)
  • Makes you thirst (ironic?)
  • Causes confusion, irritability and insomnia
  • Attacks the muscles and causes tremor
  • Increases heart rate
  • Causes gastric problems such as nausea and aches
  • Can cause increased urination and ketones in urine
  • And my favorite: Can cause diarrhea! Sexy.

Sodium:

  • Causes dehydration
  • Creates water retention
  • Hypertension
  • High blood pressure

Phosphoric Acid:

  • Weakens bones
  • Rots teeth
  • Dermatitis
  • Pain
  • Blurred vision
  • Difficulty swallowing or breathing
  • Gastrointestinal problem

aspartame diet soda

Artificial Sweeteners:

  • Addictive- makes you crave more (yep, it’s not just the caffeine!)
  • Memory loss
  • Retain fat
  • Cause headaches

Caramel Color & Food Dyes:

  • Tainted with carcinogens (a substance capable of causing cancer in living tissue)
  • Impairs brain function
  • Creates hyperactive behavior (not just the caffeine & sugar)

formaldehyde 2 formaldehyde 1

Formaldehyde: 

  • Also a carcinogen– it is not added to soda HOWEVER when you digest aspartame (the artificial sweetener in diet sodas) it breast down into two amino acids and methanol- formic acid and formaldeyde

High Fructose Corn Syrup:

  • Increases body fat
  • High cholesterol
  • Increases triglycerides
  • Makes you hungry

Potassium Benzoate:

  • Can be broken down into benzene which is a carcinogen

Okay, okay, I get it Carrie! It’s bad for you. Like… really bad for you. But it’s not really all that expensive, right?

Wrong.

saving 2

Pretty penny?

How much soda do you drink? Let’s assume that you drink cans of soda. A case of soda usually costs about $7. I am giving you the benefit of the doubt that you shop sales sometimes because it can get up to $8-9 a case here in West Virginia USA. Each case has 24 cans in it. Think of how many (on average) cans of soda that you drink a day. Put it into this equation:
(7/24) x 365 x (# of sodas you drink a day)

I drink about 2 cans a day:
(7/24) x 365 x 2 cans a day = $213 a year

How about if you only buy a bottle of soda at the gas station in 20 oz bottles? The average cost of a 20oz soda is about $1.50. The equation would be this:
$1.50 x 365 x (# sodas you drink a day)

For me, I would drink 1-2 bottles a day. So I will say 1.5 to be fair.
$1.50 x 365 x 1.5 = $821 a year

For one, if you have no intentions of quitting soda, at least do the frugal thing and get cans, right? That’s a big difference! But this post is about quitting all together. How many cans or bottles of soda do you drink daily? Here’s the quick math solutions. You’re welcome.

AVERAGE YEARLY COST OF SODA:

Daily #               can               bottle
1                         $106             $548
2                         $213             $1095
3                         $319             $1643
4                        $426            $2190
5                         $532             $2738

If you drink any more than 5 bottles or cans of soda a day, I believe that if nothing else you are in desperate need to at least half that… for your body’s sake AND your wallet’s sake! I will be honest that if you drink more than 5 bottles of soda a day, this challenge may take a couple weeks longer for you. It WILL work, but it might take 6 weeks, or even for some up to 8 weeks. I urge you to try it, and if the 4 weeks do not work for you, continue for 2 more weeks.

challenge

ACTION!

Now that you have motivation, it’s time for the action. How can you kick the soda habit? I have broken it down into 4 weeks. That’s all it will take to kick the habit. Take the soda challenge with me!

Before I break down the weeks, here are a few steps to take before you really jump in.

  1. Make note of how much soda you drink. You can measure it in any way you feel best–cans, bottles, oz, glasses… it doesn’t matter.
  2. Make note of the places where and times when you drink the most soda. Is it at work? During meals? In the evening? Afternoon? Now choose ONE place and ONE time that you crave it the most. For most people, it’s dinnertime. That will be your special moment every day where you can enjoy a sip of soda (until the challenge is over, of course).
  3. Think of other drinks that you enjoy besides soda. It’s best if it’s something that doesn’t have caffeine such as tea or coffee, but if that’s all you can think of, it’s better than soda so go with it! DO NOT however drink anything with artificial sweeteners in it aka “diet”! It will make the process harder for you. Focus on drinks that are low in sugars, if you can. Think fruit juices, milk (even chocolate), or good ol’ water. I have noticed that most people who drink entirely too much soda do not like water. By the end of this challenge, you will love it (or at least, most people do anyway.)

Now for the good stuff!

Week one:

CUT THE SODA– How much soda do you drink? Cut it in half. You only drink one can of soda a day already? Great! Be creative on what to do with the other half. Give it to someone who already drinks soda (or encourage them to join you on your challenge!) Pour it out of a bottle instead. Pour the rest down the drain. I know it’s not frugal, but it can be psychologically empowering to know that you are throwing away something you love, but that is harming YOU. Just watch the nastiness go down the drain!

FIND A SPECIAL PLACE & TIME– Where is your special place and when is your special time that you noted above? Focus on this time and place to have your soda. If you already drink 4-5 cans of soda a day, and you have broken it down into 2 – 2.5 cans, you will obviously not want to drink it all at once. So go ahead break it down into 2-3 during the day.

WATER, WATER, WATER– I know that I said to make note of what you would rather drink, but either way you HAVE to drink water also. This will help detox and flush out your system. Even if you have to chug, chug, chug, drink one glass as soon as you wake up and one glass right before you go to bed. Sorry if you hate water, but again you will get to where you love it. If you like water, drink as much as possible. If you hate it, it’s best if you stick with the two glasses a day at first. It will only make you hate it more if you force yourself to drink it all day every day. What helps is to tell yourself as you’re drinking it (in your head of course) “This is good for me. This will help me. This water is awesome!”

BETTER DRINKS– Substitute with better choices. Any time that you want a soda, pick up something better instead. Juice, milk, water…

Week Two

CUT THE SODA– Cut your soda intake in half again. For those of you who are down to 1/4 of a can’s worth or less, I would definitely suggest to go to bottles or just watch that nastiness go down the drain. Isn’t empowerment wonderful?

FIND A SPECIAL PLACE & TIME– Stick to focusing on your special place & time. It will give you something to look forward to each day.

WATER, WATER, WATER– Continue to drink a glass in the morning and a glass at night. If you find that water isn’t repulsive, try to drink more during the day. If you still hate it, stick in there with the two glasses a day. This is where it starts getting really hard. Hang in there trooper!

BETTER DRINKS– Substitute with better choices. Any time that you want a soda, pick up something better instead. Juice, milk, water…

Week Three

CUT THE SODA– Cut your soda intake in half AGAIN.

FIND A SPECIAL PLACE & TIME– Stick to focusing on your special place & time. It will give you something to look forward to each day.

WATER, WATER, WATER– Continue to drink a glass in the morning and a glass at night. Even if you still hate water, drink another glass mid-day. Set a timer if you have to. It’s time to detox that body! If you haven’t started to crave water yet, you have not detoxed enough. Water is power. Remember that!

BETTER DRINKS– Substitute with better choices. Any time that you want a soda, pick up something better instead. Juice, milk, water…

Week Four

CUT THE SODA– How much soda are you drinking as of week three? Just because I have been using cans as measurement, let’s stick with that. If you are drinking 1 can or less a day, good for you! Cut your soda in half again. Here’s the catch! You are only allowed to have it on day 1, 3, 5, and 7 of this week. If you started on a Sunday, for example, you will NOT drink soda on Monday, Wednesday or Friday. If you are drinking more than a can, as of week three, it will be more difficult for you will more than half your intake. You will drink half a can or less on day 1, 3, 5, and 7 as well.

FIND A SPECIAL PLACE & TIME– Ignore your special time and place. You are NOT allowed to have soda during this time and place, at all. Instead, find another time to do it. However, do not plan on it. Just randomly drink your soda whenever you feel like it during the day, other than your special time & place. During that time, you will probably be missing it, however you may find that you completely forget about it all together during the rest of the day and even skip one of your days that you’re allowed to have soda. That’s awesome! If you do, however, you are not allowed to drink one on your off-day to make up for it. No cheating. :) Remember, your goal is to QUIT, not to treat yourself with soda. Rejoice if you skip a day. Days 2, 4, and 6 are still no-no days.

WATER, WATER, WATER– Continue to drink a glass in the morning and dinner. During the day, drink at least two more glasses of water. Again, set a timer if you have to. This is very, very important!

BETTER DRINKS– Substitute with better choices. Any time that you want a soda, pick up something better instead. Juice, milk, water…

success

In the weeks to come:

This method is not fool-proof. It is to help you to get a jump-start on your healthier lifestyle.

There may be days that you just can’t stand it and HAVE TO HAVE A SODA! If you can find an alternative, I urge you to do so. If not, try to drink only a small little bit to ease the cravings. It’s an addiction, and it can be rough!

Do not drink more than HALF a can a day for here on out.

Do not drink soda more than 1 day in a row (if you have one today, skip tomorrow). Give yourself AT LEAST a day in between.

Continue to drink at least a glass in the morning and at night. This will help your body to continue to detox.

Reward yourself with things other than soda when you find that you are doing great. Instead of saying “I’ve been a month without soda. That’s great! I’m going to have a coke” try the approach “I’ve been a month without soda. That’s great! I think I’m going to have a girl’s night or guy’s night out!” Is it your 3 month anniversary of ditching the soda? Figure out how much you would have spent in 3 months and buy yourself something special with that money. You might be surprised that you don’t have that extra spending cash all at once because you have spent it as the weeks went by. So even better, for each day that you do not drink soda, put the savings in a piggy bank for a special trip or a new wardrobe, since more times than not you will lose a little weight.

Don’t beat yourself up if you slip up now and then. Instead give yourself a pep talk on how great you have been doing and how you can continue with this lifestyle. The goal is to never drink soda, but it is not the end of the world if you cave a little. Stress will make you need comfort, and your body has previously used soda for comfort. Just relax and enjoy a glass of OJ.

Eventually soda will start to taste nasty to you. Friend, family, and even I have said that it tastes too “syrupy” or sweet after we quit soda. The bubbles start to become unpleasant also. Your start to get a rush that’s not so great when you drink very much of it at all. It might give you a stomach ache or headache. These are just ways that your body will help you to stay away from soda. Water will sound more appealing, and you will actually crave it because that’s what your body really needs.

I hope that you have enjoyed this blog. If you are planning to do this challenge, please feel free to ask any questions you like or comment below and I will be there to cheer you on! If you have participated in this challenge or quit another way, tell us your story. How are you doing? Are you feeling healthier? Do you have more energy (ironically)? How does drinking soda sound to you now? Do you miss it?

Thank you again and have a happy, healthy and frugal life.

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5 thoughts on “Cut the Soda Challenge- How It Could Save Your Health and Your Wallet

  1. 2momsnaturalskincare Jan 18 2014 / 9:05 PM

    For the water something I have found that really helps people (like my husband) is to chop up different fruits like lemon, oranges, strawberries, cantaloupe, etc. and put them in the water so the water gets a little flavor. I have been soda free for about 4 months now and I feel great. I recently broke down and had one because I have had a cold and sore throat and the carbonation feels great on my throat. It was a bad idea my stomach felt awful afterward.

    Like

    • onebrokemom Jan 19 2014 / 8:49 AM

      I used to put lemon in my water, but never thought of putting other fruit in it. I bet I would like strawberries. Congratulations on your 4 month soda-free anniversary!

      Like

  2. Mess stress and fancy dress Feb 19 2016 / 3:57 PM

    I have seriously cut down recently, but that makes depressing reading! I really ought to go the whole hog. I have a coffee addiction, but at least I manage how much sugar goes into that! I feel well educated now thank you. x

    Like

    • Carrie Bostic Feb 19 2016 / 4:01 PM

      You’re welcome! I also have a coffee addiction. I don’t drink soda very often anymore because I don’t buy it at the store. If it’s not there, I can’t drink it.

      Like

  3. Life Love and Dirty Dishes Feb 21 2016 / 4:33 AM

    I think I could give up alcohol easier than my diet coke! Although I do limit myself to one bottle a week. Thanks for linking up to #FridayFrolics

    Liked by 1 person

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