questionsany suggestions on how to give up (or reduce…

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I drink mineral water instead of soft drinks, you get the same carbonation without the calories/sugar. You can also add a few drops of fresh lemon to give it a fresh flavor.

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don't go cold turkey.
always have an option with you so you don't get into the "caffiene is the only drink available) position.
reduce your intake by limiting when (i went to only at work or when away from home for long periods of time)
then start reducing how much you can have (1 bottle a day instead of 2)
then start slowly adding water to your soda. (mix 1/4 water into it, then make it half water) until eventually you won't miss it.

i couldn't give up the flavor. (water taste bad-even bottled) so i started koolaid and crystal light (both are available in low cal and sugar free. and both have several flavors available)

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Iced tea.

My personal preference is unsweetened, brewed with a mix of "regular" and flavored teabags to give a little variety. It's cheap, easy, has a modest amount of caffeine (depending on the tea you select, of course), and keeps you hydrated without being as bland as just plain water.

Also has the advantage of avoiding all the unnatural diet-soda chemicals.

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Crystal Light and low sodium seltzer.

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I got a SodaStream so I could make my own seltzers and sodas. When you decide what goes into it, you suddenly become very aware of and interested in using high-quality ingredients that buy you a lot of flavor with a minimum-to-zero penalty. I haven't tried the iSI system but I've heard good things about it too.

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It doesn't take much caffeine to avoid the headaches; a single can of soda should be sufficient to avoid them if the headaches are due to a lack of caffeine.

I'[d suggest going with something healthier than soda to get your caffeine, either coffee or tea (both are much healthier than soda).

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Another option, if you really need a strong hit of caffeine: the Crystal Light "Energy" drink sticks. Mixed with a 16-20 oz bottle as per the instructions, it tastes like kool-aid but with all punch of an energy soda. Mixed at 1/2 to 1/3 strength, it makes a nice flavored water (a.k.a. summer-camp kool-aid) without as much of the caffeine jitters.

Even better than Crystal Light though, is the Wal-Mart knock-off version. More flavors to choose from, at a significantly cheaper price.

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Flavored seltzer. When they are on sale 3 for a dollar stock up on cases.
I recommend black cherry and lemon lime.

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I prefer the Arizona Sweet Tea. Gives me the caffeine minus the tummy ache from carbonation.

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I recently gave up soda. I first found a diet drink that wasn't too bad (this is key). Then I switched completely to just that. After about a week, I was so sick of Dr. Pepper 10 that I couldn't stand the thought of drinking another sip of it. I now drink primarily water. I didn't have any of the headaches that some people claim they get, but I did really want a Pepsi so bad I couldn't stand it for the first few days after I stopped completely.

My reasoning probably has something to do with why I was able to give it up so easily. I'm closing in on 30 and with the history of diabetes in my family, I didn't want any reason to worry more than I have to. I'm now in the process of changing my diet to include less red meats and more chicken, turkey and fish, and of course more vegetables. So far it's going well, but we'll see how well I'm sticking to it in a few weeks.

Good luck!

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Buy 2 liters of diet and caffeine-free diet. Start with a glass of 3/4 caffeinated and 1/4 caffeine free for the first week. Switch to half and half the next week, and then 3/4 caffeine free and 1/4 caffeinated the third week. By the fourth week you should be okay on the caffeine free soda. Then you can enjoy other drinks like ginger ale and root beer, as well as sparkling mineral water and fruit flavored seltzer without missing the caffeine. One of the ways i convinced myself to switch to caffeine free was to recognize that caffeine is not naturally in soda, it is a drug that is added to it. I figured why take a drug I do not need. I purchase only caffeine free soda and seltzer for home use, although when I am out in the world the caffeinated version is usually the only one that's available.

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I quit cold turkey about 4 years ago (I've probably had 2 sodas since then like at the movies and once when it was the only thing cold on a hot day). If I had tried to just reduce my soda intake, it wouldn't have worked at all. I couldn't get myself to drink water if I had soda in the house and paying for soda at a restaurant is one of the biggest rip-offs I regularly encounter.

In my experience, I find that drinking soda isn't really a problem (diet soda anyway) but drinking mostly water is what is good for you.

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If its caffiene you want to give up, definitely don't go cold turkey. Limit when you drink it to only before noon or something like that so you can get out of an evening habit, then slowly drop the amount and replace with water or even sparkling water.

If its just the soda you want to get rid of but keep the caffiene, I switched to just coffee and sometimes tea. Diet soda is a once in a while thing now. I still try to limit when I drink coffee to before noon or one and then water the rest of the day.
Good luck either way! They're both hard things to kick!

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+1 on what @moondrake says - I switched to caffeine free Diet Coke several years ago. Now instead of being addicted to caffeine, I'm just addicted to the carbonation (lol)

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Those Mio water flavors are good. You can put alot or a little in water!

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Water. I find that having a bottle of water, or water is a "special glass" helps to get past the soda.

I drink little soda at home but when I'm working and driving I go through a lot of soda.

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@turken: so true, diet soda is terrible for you

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I'd strongly suggest staying away from diet sodas. The artificial sweeteners are actually worse for you than regular sugar. They convince your brain that you're getting a carb load, and then when it doesn't materialize you get carb cravings.

I cut back to a single 16oz diet coke per day for about a year, and then went completely to unsweetened tea. All the caffeine with none of the calories.

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I switch between diet coke and caffeine-free diet coke depending on whether I want an caffeine. I personally don't believe all the claims about artificial sweeteners, so don't worry about that (haven't for the 20 years since I switched to diet)

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I just told myself over, and over, and over again that soda pop tastes like maple syrup. Now, after drinking mostly water with some iced tea here or there, it really does taste like syrup.

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Substitutions.

@wootmango22 beat me to one of my first suggestions; but I add lemon & lime too. Tasty stuff. AND it hydrates you a hell of a lot better than sodey-pop.

You should keep in mind too how bad for you diet soda (and regular) is too.. Here's the stuff that makes it "diet":
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aspartame
There's quite a few positions on it, but then general consensus is: it's bad :)

Juice, tea, water, etc. Find a few things you like and go with it.

I've actually found some awesome "healthy" sodapop recently that I've switched too. Instead of processed sugar/aspartame it's made from pure, unprocessed cane sugar and Stevia. It only has 50calories per can too.
The downside is, it can get kinda spendy.. I usually get it on sale though for about $3/8-pack.

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@mortar235: So it is caffeine that you're trying to give up? Or just soda/pop in general? Is caffeine still an option?

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I use Pelligrino and orange juice. It's like a non-alcoholic mimosa...

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If you are trying to give up on caffeine then you can cold turkey it and try and pull through, though I suggest keeping some Excedrin on hand, as it contains caffeine and should help ease the headache from withdrawl. If you reduce the amount you take if you absolutely have to take them, I think it would be easier to take say, 1 pill then half a pill etc. as needed to slowly adjust.

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Cold turkey is the way to go. The first few days will SUCK but your body will adjust. Just replace every can of soda with a bottle of water. It'll get a little easier every day, and before you know it, you wont miss it.

Good luck!

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it has to be a concious choice. when you start to drink something if its a soda.... don't drink it. teas are better but not perfect youre still getting caffiene and possibly a lot of sugar if its sweet tea. make yourself drink cold water. i'm lucky to work at a pepsi plant 20 ounce aquafinas for a quarter baby !

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I really like iced tea as well. One of my favorites is Celestial Seasonings Cold Brew Tropical Tea:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0017T2OSO/ref=cm_cr_mts_prod_img

it's easy to make, caffeine free and delicious.

I also like celestial seasonings uncaffeinated tea and peppermint tea. They aren't cold brew though.

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Figure out how many pops you drink a day. Assign an average monetary value to each pop. (example if you only buy pop on sale .25, or if you buy it from a vending machine that sells them for $.50.) Figure the average number of drinks a day you have. Every day only carry around your daily amount of pop change in you pocket. At the end of the day drop the extra change in a jar.
Do not quit cold turkey. After a few months count the money in the jar. (I bought 2 computers kits with my jar money.)

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@drchops: Really I'm ok with moderate caffeine. I'd just prefer to find a natural drink that doesn't have many calories that gets rid of any food tastes (which water doesn't). It would be nice to stop ingesting so many artificial thingamabobs.

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Thanks everyone for the advice! I really didn't expect so many replies. I will definitely put your suggestions to good use.

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@portezbie: FYI, you can make cold brew ice tea out of regular Celestial Seasonings herbal tea bags too - it just takes a bit longer. A neighbor brews up big pitchers of it overnight in her fridge all summer long. She mixes and matches different kinds, sometimes adding black or green tea to a batch. It comes out pretty darn tasty! (I keep thinking I should brew some for myself, but she seems to invite me over for a tall glass of her brew every time I get a hankering.)

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@caffeine_dude: That's an awesome idea that would work for many daily habits. That "pocket change" money could really add up for someone with an addiction to overpriced vending machine snacks, or fancy Starbucks drinks, or ciggies, or ...

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@mortar235: Dunno if you have a Safeway in your area, but if you do check this stuff out, it's called:
"Refreshe Natural Soda" (Safeway brand)
They have "Cola" flavor, Rootbeer, Kiwi-ish stuff, Lemon Lime.. probably more.

Nutrition info:
http://www.myfitnesspal.com/food/calories/safeway-refreshe-natural-soda-root-beer-10237704

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One of the major key things when giving up or reducing something is commitment. Stick with it!
As for advice, I'd suggest slowly reducing how much pop you drink. Try other alternatives like tea, water, or something that contains small amounts of caffeine.
Good luck and I wish you the best :)

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Diet drinks are still like drinking sugared drinks regularly, so I'd avoid that. According to google and other sources, plus I kind of see it myself too.

Caffeine is like smoking cigarettes, so your body craves for it if it's not getting any and you get withdrawal symptoms (most likely headaches). My suggestion to that is to slow down on how much soda you take each day (so if you do like three cans a day... do two a day for one week then one a day for one week).

Drinking water DOES reduce the headache and you should be drinking at least 2-3 liters of water a day depending on what you do. Since you're working out.. I'd stick with like 3 liters. If it's that bad you could take some tylenol or something to relieve the headache.

Also, remove everything in your fridge that has soda and caffeine as you're more than likely to be tempted to drink soda more often.

I go with green tea lipton from Target and its been working with me.

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@ginawoot: To help not 'cheat the jar' (wife and kids do not have as much self control as I do), I bought a jug and punched a small hole in the lid with a small screw driver then I carefully tapped a quarter into the hole making it bigger (just big enough for the quarter) then I super glued the lid on the jar. I even offered $20 for the person who guessed the amount closest. We had almost $700.