A Challenge for Teens: Give Up Soda and Sugar


Can you give up soda for just one month?

This past Christmas my sister, Lisbeth Prifogle, came home for the first time in forever. While she was home we had a ton of fun, but she also taught me the dangers of sugar. When I heard all the dangers of this deadly substance and the changes she went through after cutting it out of her diet, I knew I had to change my lifestyle. My sister came up with a challenge for me to take on in 2012. First, give up soda for one month, then give up candy, next no processed breads, and so on until I completely cut sugar out of my diet. She wanted me to keep a journal of all the changes I started to notice in my body. When she told me I could lose weight by only cutting out soda and sugar, I felt it was worth a try. I had no idea what was going to happen and could have never predicted what really did.

I thought it would be easy, but after the first couple days I started having withdrawal symptoms. I started to crave soda all the time at school, home, and even in my sleep. I would dream about gulping down big glasses of different kinds of soda. I also started to get headaches all the time from not having caffeine everyday. I was craving sugar and before long I actually wanted candy for the first time in my life. I would go home and drink tons of water to fight off the addiction. Libby told me whenever I wanted to drink soda, just drink water instead. It was weeks before the cravings went away, but after they did it was like I was someone completely different.

I started noticing the changes in my body right after I stopped drinking soda. A couple days after I quit cold turkey my energy levels went up significantly. I could make it through the whole day without getting tired and needing more caffeine and sugar in the afternoon for the first time in my life. When I went to dance class I noticed it was much easier to make it through the class without being exhausted. I have always had horrible periods. I noticed after one month of quitting soda that my periods were completely different. They were much lighter and I didn’t have cramps, acne or any other symptoms I had before. I used to get sick right around my period every month, which made me really worried something was seriously wrong. Now, I no longer get sick. It was incredible all of my problems had simply gone away. This was the point when I decided I would never go back to drinking soda ever again because it has completely changed my life.

My attitude has also changed after giving up soda. I am no longer as irritable as I was before. I no longer have a ton of nervous energy bottled up inside giving me anxiety problems. I noticed that I am happier and laugh more than I did before. My life had truly changed for the better. As I give up more and more foods with hidden sugar, I can tell a difference in the way my body feels and how I act. I have also lost a significant amount of weight since the beginning of the year, which is just a bonus. I notice that I am starting to become more toned in different areas like my abs. I’m more aware of what I eat and trying to make healthier choices day by day.

I’m a high school senior. It was hard making this huge life change when all of my friends still drink soda and eat candy around me. I try to live by example and hope that they will see the changes that have occurred in my body and attitude and change their diet as well. It could make a world of difference as teenagers consume more soda, energy drinks and candy than other demographics. This would help balance their hormones and help fight teen obesity. Anyone who reads my story will see the difference that cutting out something as simple as soda can make. I want to make it a worldwide challenge for all teens to give up soda for one month and see how they feel. Who knows maybe it would change the whole world, it definitely has changed mine.

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Lisbeth Prifogle, MFA

Lisbeth Prifogle is a freelance writer, Marine officer, and globetrotter currently in San Diego, CA. She earned an MFA in Creative Writing from Antioch University, Los Angeles and a BA from DePauw University. Lisbeth spent six months in Iraq and is working on a memoir about her experiences. She keeps a blog titled The Next Bold Move www.lisbethprifogle.com and her work can be found in the 11th issue of Poem Memoir Story, The Splinter Generation, and In the Know Travel. Lisbeth has had problems balancing hormones since she was a teenager and is constantly researching and exploring natural remedies including diet, exercise, and alternative medicines.


  1. Thanks for the post. I’m forwarding this to my 17 year old who passed out at a resturant because of low blood sugar (she had eaten nothing but cola snd goldfish all day).

  2. Congrats becca!!! I think I just found a challenge to take on to help me lose weight and be a bit healthier!!! I hope I can endure it like you! As a college student I think it will be interesting to see how this goes!!

  3. Cutting out all sugar is an incredible feat! Congratulations! I have read that cutting out soda alone can reduce your weight by 10 pounds, which demonstrates what a remarkable impact one item can have on your health. Question: If you eliminated processed breads from your diet, do you have a substitute? And if so, what is your substitute? I’m curious, because the bread I eat is made fresh at home – is that still considered processed?

  4. I told my boys when they were 9 and 11 if they gave up fast food for a year, I’d take them to Hawaii on the money we saved. They did, and I did. Confession (I ate at In-n-Out twice without them).

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