Ruining the world, one drink at a time


“You ruined it for me!” The whiny voice on the phone was my husband who was driving home from work. “You ruined it.”

I wasn’t about to apologize until I knew what I’d done, so a little unsympathetically, I asked, “Ruined what?”

“My Pepsi. I waited all week to have one, just one. Well… I thought about it all day and I’d had it in the fridge at work and about 3:00 pm I went to get it. I’d been thinking about it all day and couldn’t wait to enjoy it. You know I love Pepsi, right? You know I’ve ALWAYS loved Pepsi!”

Yes, we had wanted it served at our wedding reception because he did love some Pepsi. When we were dating, I always had some in the fridge for when he visited. After we married, I’d stock up when soft drinks were on sale. In fact, I learned that soft drink sales were cyclical. I’d stock up at all of the major holidays — Super Bowl, Easter, Memorial Day, 4th of July, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s. Apparently bottling companies count on consumers buying soft drinks for gatherings and parties. I quickly learned just how many cartons to buy to keep us well stocked from sale to sale.

Even before low-carb, I worried about the calories in his Pepsi habit. I was drinking the “diet” versions, so that was entirely “safe”, right? To limit portions, I started buying the canned soft drinks after I had noticed him guzzle down a 2-liter soft drink in one day. After we had children, I really didn’t want them drinking soft drinks, so he often drank them at work. We had a small fridge in the garage and more than once, I’d catch him “cleaning” the garage or working in the yard and sneaking a can or two while the kids weren’t looking. The kids caught on, so we sometimes let them have a soft drink as a treat, which included any time the grandparents were nearby.

As my husband and I had negotiated HIS following a very low-carbohydrate diet, his Pepsi habit was the hardest. He willingly gave up bread, except for the one time we were out to dinner with friends, and he took his turn at the bread basket in spite of my wifey “put-that-down-now” look. He just locked eyes and gave me the classic husband look “oh-yeah-make-me”.

Anyway, forgoing bread and pasta were actually pretty easy for him, but living without some sugar was harder, especially Pepsi and Nutella. Pepsi was especially hard. Our compromise was that one day each week, he would treat himself to one can of Pepsi. It wasn’t what I preferred, but marriage was made of compromise.

‘Ruining’ Pepsi

Here he was just a few months into our new “diet” when he declared I had ruined Pepsi. “Okay, so what do you mean?”

“Well, I’d been thinking about that Pepsi and saving it for when I could savor it. At the perfect time, I went to get that Pepsi. I was almost skipping down the hallway! I took it back to my office, closed the door, popped the top, took a big swig and thought, “’Yuck!’ Honey, it didn’t taste good. It was too sweet! I tried another sip, and I couldn’t even finish it. You ruined it. I’m so mad at you!”

I never apologized. Nope, I gloated. I celebrated. I congratulated him! We spent the next few minutes laughing about how wonderful that was. It was a huge change for him. And for me. I had spied a sale for soft drinks for that very weekend! I was hesitant when I asked, “So… should I not buy those for you anymore?” He took a deep breath. I held my breath. “No. Don’t buy anymore. I don’t think I want them anymore. It might help me.” I breathed a huge sigh of relief. This new “diet” was working, and he had realized it without me badgering him.

As I had continued on in my own low-carb journey I had already stopped drinking diet soft drinks. I found that water was the only thing that satisfied the thirst that came with weight loss. In addition, I learned that when I did have an occasional diet drink, I was often more hungry afterward. It was only by eliminating it for several days and then reintroducing it that I was able to notice a difference. Those differences, less hunger and increased weight loss, made it easy to kick the habit.

When people ask me now what I drink, I tell them, “Water, coffee about once per day, and maybe an occasional glass of wine or a low-carb cocktail” (mojitos, lemon drop martinis, and a margarita are my favorites!).

Nearly every time, I hear “I could never give up diet soft drinks!” I smile because I used to say that too. Then I think about the strong addiction my husband had and I suggest, “Try cutting down to one serving per day. Have that one serving when you think you will ‘need’ it most. Once you’ve been able to go to one serving per day, see how you feel. Pay attention to how you feel AFTER you drink it. Are you hungrier later? More agitated? Thirstier?

Eventually, you may want to consider going several days without any. Try just three to five days without any soft drinks. Then, when you do reintroduce it, really pay attention to how you feel. If you don’t notice a difference, then it may not be a problem for you. What I learned was that diet soft drinks made me feel hungrier afterwards. Also, after enduring a long stall, I actually lost more weight by eliminating them”.

More than one person has come back to me to say, “I hated it when you told me that the diet soft drinks might be holding me back. I hated it! But, you were right. As soon as I stopped drinking them, my scales went down. Thank you, but I’m still really mad at you for being right!” I smile. I celebrate with them. I’m learning to stop gloating. Well, I’m trying to stop gloating, but I will never stop congratulating them for finding their way to better health!

Kristie Sullivan


How to Lose Weight: Avoid Artificial Sweeteners


A Keto Low-Carb Diet for Beginners

Earlier with Kristie

The Vault

The Sound of Silence

How a Pumpkin Pie Spice Muffin Can Mean Freedom

Mastering the Waves of Ketosis

My Miracle Oil

Low-carb basics

Weight loss

About Kristie

Obese for nearly all of her life, Kristie Sullivan, PhD, is passionate about helping others learn about all of the health benefits from eliminating sugar, grains, and starches. She focuses on eating whole, real foods that everyone in the family can enjoy.

You can learn more about her at her YouTube channel, Cooking Keto with Kristie. She also published a cookbook, Journey to Health: A Journey Worth Taking to help others discover how delicious and healthy a low carb lifestyle can be. Join her (and several thousand others) on the low carb journey at her closed Facebook group, “Low Carb Journey to Health (Cooking Keto with Kristie)”.


  1. Mariangela Barbosa
    I really love Kristie's words. I love reading about those amazing stories. Thanks for sharing.
  2. Juan
    20 years ago I cut out soda for about 7-8 years. After quitting I would dream about drinking a big cold glass of soda. One Thanksgiving my grandfather wanted some A&W rootbeer for his Thanksgiving meal, so I bought him a 2 liter. I decided to have some and it tasted very bitter and acidic. I forced the glass down. There was still some left in the 2 liter so I figured "I shouldn't let it go to waste" and I finished it off. By the time I was done with the 2 liter I was hooked again to sodas and sweet teas.

    I tried Body For Life and on my cheat day I would swell up like a tick after soda/sweet tea. I would go out and eat cheesesteaks on my "cheat day" and each time I would drink soda/sweet tea, my stomach would get all bloated and hard. It would take 3-4 days for my weight get back to where it was before the cheat day.

    I went keto about May 10. I went on a little 5 day bender, food not alcohol, about 2 months later. My weight loss had stalled and I was really missing my old foods. Most of what I ate was fried fish and chicken, some tater tots, ice cream, but I drew the line at sodas. I refused to drink any sodas or sweet tea. I knew if I did I might fall of the wagon completely.

    While on the bender, most of the foods I missed did not taste as good as I remembered. The only things that still tasted as good as I remembered was the cheesesteak, tater tots and ice cream.

    Now on keto my stomach is not flat, but it is not bloated any longer. I have a long ways to go to lose the weight I need to be healthier, but I have seen most of my numbers improve since starting. Fortunately I was never diabetic or pre-diabetic, however it runs in the family and had I persisted with the lifestyle I was living I would most likely have ended up there.

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