As an avid Diet Pepsi drinker, I definitely would say I have a little bit of an addiction. I probably drink two big bottles a day. And while I didn't think it was doing anything to my body, recently I've been noticing a lot of extra bloating and discomfort. I started doing my research and began to realize that maybe it was all of the chemicals in my favorite drink that was doing this to me! And, since I'm trying to make March a month of mental and physical health, I decided to give it a try.

That said, I have made a few guidelines to make sure that I still enjoy the process as much as possible. You may say it's cheating, but I say it's knowing your limits. I know it would be impossible for me, a college student, to go caffeine-free for 20 days. Plus, I would hate every second of it due to caffeine headaches.

Still, I want to limit what I drink as a way of knowing what's in my body. I came up with the following: coffee, tea, skim milk, and water. That is what I'm allowed to drink until I board my plane for spring break on March 25th. I'll be documenting my experience every few days; keep reading to see how I'm doing!

Day 1:

I woke up with a need for caffeine. While there was an open Pepsi bottle on my desk, I chose instead to empty the rest and throw it away so I wouldn't be tempted to drink it. I made a cup of coffee. It hasn't been much of a struggle yet because I drink coffee most mornings anyway, so we'll see how I do later on. Overall, I'm not even sure if this challenge will work because I still use artificial sweeteners in my tea and coffee (Splenda), but they aren't the same sweeteners in my diet soda, so we'll see! So far so good!

Day 2:

Is it sad that I already miss the carbonation? This article was almost really sad because I caught myself walking to the vending machine when I got home, automatically searching for my next sip of caffeine. But I caught myself before it was too late! Instead, I went home and filled up my water bottle.

Day 5:

I've been noticing I tend to not drink anything instead of replacing when I would drink soda with water. I wouldn't say this is a conscious choice, but I need to make a better effort of choosing to drink water, even when I don't feel super thirsty.

Day 8:

Today was the first day that was actually a huge struggle for me. I definitely missed the carbonation and the sweet chemical taste of artificial sweetener! It was a real struggle, especially when I went to the vending machine for a snack and had to resist a delicious-looking Diet Pepsi staring at me through the glass!

Day 14:

I felt a bit uncomfortable today because it was the first time I went out to eat since I started this challenge! I wanted something other than water, but because literally, all I drank was Diet Pepsi, I ended up picking flavored water. It wasn't at all what I wanted, but I'm sticking with the challenge!

Day 17:

My throat has been sore the past couple days, and I can't help but think of how nice the carbonated drink would be to clear out my throat. But because of this, I have been drinking a lot of water, so it is actually probably better for me!

Day 20:

I am proud of myself for finishing up this challenge and sticking with it the entire time. I have definitely noticed that I feel a lot less bloated and have a flatter stomach when I'm sticking with water.

Overall, this would be a great experience, and while I don't think I will continue to never drink soda, it has moderated my perspective. Clearly, drinking so much of that processed substance was harming my body, so in the future, I'll make sure to really cut back on that. Not because it's trendy not to drink soda or because it's a conversation starter, but because it makes me feel better and is better for my body.