My soda addiction progressed to an extreme level when I was in college. I barely got any sleep and was always exhausted, so I used diet soda as a crutch to stay awake. This was in the late 90's- early 2000's, so all these different flavors of diet drinks were becoming popular. Diet Dr. Pepper! Pepsi One! Diet Mountain Dew! I guzzled them down, often times straight from the 2-liter bottle.
My most recent soda of choice was Coke Zero. My husband Matt and I both drank a TON of the stuff, often going through two 12-packs a week. I figured that Coke Zero is calorie free and it tastes delicious, so it's a great choice.
When one of the women in the group said that she never drinks soda, you could almost hear an audible gasp coming from the rest of us. Of course the usual questions came up- Why? How do you do it? What do you do for caffeine? Her answer was that not only is diet soda filled with artificial ingredients, but it is full of acid and terrible for your teeth. Hmm. I had never thought about diet soda ruining your teeth.
Of course I had to do some further research, and I found articles talking about how acid in soda wears down tooth enamel, exposing teeth to a greater possibility of cavities, sensitivity and discoloration. There is even this recent article that claims diet soda erodes teeth as much as meth. Warning, there are pictures in the article and they are really gross!
Slowly wean yourself off the soda:
I didn't go cold turkey, I started by reducing the soda to just one a day.
Find helpful substitutes:
If drinking fizzy beverages is what you crave, try switching to seltzer water. Make sure it is labeled as seltzer and only contains carbonated water and natural flavors- the sweet flavored waters (of course!) contain artificial sweeteners. Using seltzer as a way to transition away from soda was a huge help for me.
Get your caffeine elsewhere:
I never could have kicked my soda addiction without coffee. I always have one huge cup of coffee in the morning, and sometimes an iced coffee in the afternoon.
Brew up a cup of herbal tea, or make some unsweetened iced tea and keep it in the fridge. Tea helped me with my soda addiction because it was a good option if I was craving a flavored beverage. If you haven't checked out the tea aisle in your grocery store recently, I think you will be surprised at all the options. I love tea that has flavors of raspberry, orange, vanilla, or lemon.
It really took awhile, but I am finally to the point where I don't even want soda anymore. And the money savings are incredible- I freed up about $30 a month by not buying soda every week! I think that justifies a $3 iced coffee from Starbucks, don't you?