What Happened When I Stopped Drinking Diet Soda For Good

28 Dec

A few months ago, on a mid-September, Saturday morning, I woke to an odd, gnawing pain in my left side. As the pain progressed, I cancelled plans and took a nap. By mid-afternoon, the pain vanished, so I took in an Atlanta Braves baseball game. I’ll do just about anything to hear the crack of the bat on a warm, fall night in the south.

Sunday, fine.

Monday, fine.

Tuesday, death.

The gnawing pain returned, times ten. Honestly, pain isn’t even the right word. More like anguish, torture, or agony. I’m not being dramatic here. #truth

My primary sent me to urgent care, urgent care sent me to the hospital, and the ER doctor sent me on a morphine high. It took the edge off but the pain was very much still there. A short while later, a surgeon came by to tell me I wasn’t going home and that I needed emergency surgery. That’s where things quickly got foggy. I don’t know who took my clothes off, who took my phone, or how family figured out details. The last thing I remember was…#idunno #idontcare #wentblank #gonnadie

By days end, Dr. Nazia Bandukwala removed a 6 mm kidney stone blocking my left ureter, likely, since Saturday. I’d fully recover about two weeks later.

As health scares often do, I took stock about my choices. Dr. B suggested replacing diet soda with water or sparkling water, saying diet soda can cause chronic dehydration. Dehydration can prevent your kidneys from cleaning your blood and removing toxins from your body. Chronic dehydration, in combination with a high protein diet, can set you up to be a visitor in Dr. B’s office.

Here’s a good read. https://www.kidney.org/atoz/content/kidneystones_prevent

Thankfully, I only had one stone, though many people form multiple stones. Here are some numbers:

Kidney stones affect 7% of women

Kidney stones affect 13% of men

The average ureter is 3 mm to 4 mm

Stones range in size from a sugar crystal to a ping pong ball (just kill me now)

Most people can’t pass a stone bigger than 5 mm

Kidney stones aren’t generally life threatening, but can be dangerous to the overall health of your kidneys and passing them is extremely painful. The pain is caused by the rough edges of an oversized stone scrapping along RAW nerve endings. It’s even worse for men, at least according to my brother, an ‘expert’ with multiple stones. I believe him.

Here are a few more numbers I’ve worked for you:

I’ve downed more than 27,000 diet sodas since I was 20.

I’ve spent more than $30,000 on diet soda.

My kidney stone emergency surgery and aftercare cost more than $40,000.

Water costs $0.

Turns out, my diet soda habit was more expensive than I’d imagined. I’m proud to say I kicked the habit in September and wonderful, unexpected things happened.

Benefits of Ditching Diet Soda

I immediately lost weight! I lost 8 pounds within three weeks and have kept it off. I no longer crave sugary, salty sweets and am instead scrounging for sources of protein.

My stomach flatted out. Bloat be gone along with the doughy, lumpy, thick feeling I carried around…and I couldn’t be happier. Goodbye bloat. I hated you.

My stomach feels happy! I no longer feel like I have sludge in my tummy. It feels calm, happy and healthy. I prefer chicken, fish, and veggies over processed foods and sugar.

I found yogurt! I challenged myself to like yogurt because of all the health benefits. I mix two parts Fage Greek yogurt with one-part Dannon Oikos (coconut and banana). Delicious. Filling. Healthy. Great digestive bennies.

Sparkling water is delicious. Who knew?? There are no calories, sugar or citric acid in sparkling, club or seltzer water. Many come in lots of yummy flavors. Generic brands taste just as good and sparkling water has the same benefits as regular water. Soda water at restaurants is usually (but not always) free. Dr. B said to put a lemon-a-day in drinks to further help the kidneys.

More energy! I have much more energy and have incorporated a 7-minute HIIT workout at home. I feel like a younger, fresher me!

My equation goes something like this:

Scary day + lost control + needles + emergency surgery + watershed moment + commitment + good choices – diet soda – junky craves + veggies + sparkling water + protein + yogurt = happy and healthy!

What’s your equation?

What do you need to ditch in 2018?

Do the math.

Make the choice. 😊



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