Soda, the sweet syrupy siren, pop or coke are other names it goes by. Flavors, varieties, caffeinated or not, it is every where. Easily available, vending machines accepting credit/debit cards, stores, vendors, restaurants giving it away with your meal. When I put giving it up, permanently, on my 30×30 list I thought I was ready. I knew it wasn’t great for me. I saw the Pinterest science experiments where Mountain Dew glows or how to use Coke to clean toilet bowls. I knew Coke could clean battery acid. I often thought if it can clean battery acid what is it doing to your body? My battle with soda is like my battle with most things, breaking the habit is the easy part. Sticking with the reasons, resolving to keep it without giving it to the social pressures, well that’s never been my strong point. Even though, I’m inherently stubborn. My journey with soda started when I was a child like many life long habits do.
My parents are avid drinkers, soda drinkers. We never had alcohol in our house growing up, but multiple 12 packs of soda rotated between the garage and basement. The variety astounding, to this day, my parents keep a selection between brands, diet and regular. I often drank cans throughout the day never questioning what I was drinking. I liked it. This habit continued through college.
2004 I decided to give up soda for the year. I succeed until NYE, when my well meaning friend passed me a drink containing Sprite. Still I considered the year a success. This was also around the time I decided to start working out more and became a vegetarian. I lapsed being a vegetarian on a Chipotle chicken burrito. I also started drinking soda again. Again, convincing myself I was successful. I stuck with it longer than any one else I knew. I mean, I gave it up for a YEAR. I did it. Wasn’t that enough?
Since I’ve been on and off it, telling myself it was fine as long as it was diet. I knew that regular soda had empty calories and high fructose corn syrup. I also started running more and realized how much better I did when not chugging diet soda. Google it. Seriously. The biggest thing I wanted to push forward with was how after drinking a Diet Coke, I wanted something sweet, always. There are studies showing this is not limited to me. Once again, Google it if you don’t believe me. I try to remind myself, soda is weird chemicals, sugar and water. It doesn’t contain health benefits. Coffee, wine, even juice all have health benefits that can be supported. Soda, often the only study is about how it’s bad and why you need to stop drinking it. I started listening to Jillian Michael’s podcast. She hates soda. I started reading more health blogs and taking more interest in health overall. Almost any weight loss article, improve your health, help your teeth, live longer or anything along those lines recommend to stop drinking soda. There are plenty of reasons, it’s expensive. It contributes to weight gain, even diet soda because it often made me want something sweet like a cookie. My health is my greatest wealth and there are enough things challenging it, why add soda to that list?
But in the last two months I’ve drank it, twice. Why? It’s every where. My resolve against it is shrinking. People around me, friends, family and strangers are sipping it. I get it free with meal purchases. It’s just another thing that makes me different from everyone else. It’s tiring, explaining why you don’t eat or drink something. Lately, I’ve started doing something as a way of reminding myself why I shouldn’t. Yes, I drank a soda to remind myself what it tasted like, hoping it would end the curiosity. It didn’t. It made it harder. I missed it. I liked it, it tasted good. But it worked, it ended the curiosity. It wasn’t that I didn’t like it, it was that I knew it wasn’t something I wanted in my life. It is easy, getting caught in what is easy. But easy isn’t what I want.
My 30×30 list is proving difficult. I put lofty goals on it. Giving up soda permanently, is something I want in my life. While I will relapse or make excuses. It is the second hardest thing on my list. Yet, I’m ready. I’m ready to give up the excuses and just do what I feel is right and that means no more soda. It doesn’t matter what everyone else is drinking. It doesn’t matter how many free sodas I get. It doesn’t matter how many times I have to say “No, I don’t drink it”. Ultimately, it’s my choice. Sorry, I’m not sorry. I’m giving it up.