In the seventh grade, we did a stock market simulation exercise in Mrs. Migliaccio’s math class. I picked Coca-Cola as my stock and I had the best returns in my group. I picked Coke because I loved the brand. I still do, even though I never actually drink Coke. I do, however love me some Dr. Pepper, root beer, Cactus Cooler, Cherry Coke, orange soda, grape soda, cream soda…you get the picture.
My husband also used to love soda, a little too much. He told me that as a kid, he had thoughts of swimming in a pool of Coca-Cola. My dad used to pack a can of coke in his lunch bag every day for probably 25 years. At our house, it was Always Coca-Cola! My brother and I used to freeze ours overnight so that it would be cold and slushy when we took it out of our lunch boxes at school. Moms was thrilled when we’d forget and then it would explode. My first business was even soda based. My dad bought me vending machines in high school and I was responsible for stocking and maintaining them. I used to drink a cherry coke or a Dr. Pepper on my way to school everyday. Did I mention that was in college? Oh and grad school too. It’s a wonder I’m not obese with rotten teeth. This stuff is just so prevalent in my life.
I don’t know if it’s fantastic marketing or the addictive qualities of sugar and caffeine, but soda has done a number on me. I have a sweet tooth as it is and soda is like liquid candy. There’s really nothing natural about soda. It’s really like drinking chemicals. And yet I could use a fountain Dr. Pepper, extra ice right about now (mostly because I’m tired and frustrated today. I’m an emotional eater). How can I hate a product that was represented by such incredible ads such as these:
I think that last one is my favorite. I remember that campaign from my childhood – truly outrageous!
Define the Problem
From what I can tell, sodas really have no redeeming health qualities other than they can provide calories if you were dying of starvation. They are often delicious, though. More than anything, sodas are bad because of the high refined sugar content. It is highly acidic, which oxidizes everything it comes into contact with, and soda also leaches calcium due to the high phospherous content. This is especially fantastic for me, the daughter and granddaughter of women with osteoporosis. Yay. It dissolves your tooth enamel (talk to my hubby about this one. His teeth were super sensitive til he quit the coke habit), and there is a ridiculously high correlation between obesity and soda consumption. It makes you fat. I once saw a mother pour coca-cola into her baby’s bottle and hand it to him. Shocking! I was disgusted yet I don’t hesitate to put this in my own body. Let’s do the math:
12 oz of Dr. Pepper = 150 calories (by the way, on the Dr. Pepper website, they provide the nutritional content for 8 oz. But of course they usually sell cans in 12 oz quantities. Sigh, so disappointingly sneaky). Start again:
A 12 oz can of Dr. Pepper = 150 calories
If I consume one can per day, I will consume 54,750 calories in a year.
3500 calories taken in roughly equate to 1 pound of weight gained, so in a year’s time if I make no other changes to my diet, I will put on more than 15.6 pounds in soda alone!!!
Turn that to the positive side and if I stopped a daily soda habit and not make any other changes and not work out, I could lose 15 pounds in a year’s time.
Luckily I no longer have a daily soda habit. I probably drink no more than 3 per week. But really, that’s 3 too many. Like all the other bad foods I am drawn to, I tend to want soda when I’m stressed, tired, bored or upset. I also don’t usually need a lot to satisfy me. I could probably be satisfied with 6 oz or so at a time. It’s usually so sugary that it leaves a gross taste in my mouth.
The goal is to break the soda habit and only enjoy them occasionally. Ok let’s get specific. I’d like to limit my soda intake to one soda a month. This can be a glass at a restaurant, a can, or a small size from a convenience store. I like soda from a fountain with lots of ice, so I think that’s how it’ll be.
I do think I need to define what a soda is because knowing me, I’ll find loopholes. My definition here should include anything that comes from a soda fountain, including Hi-C punches, lemonades, and brisk teas. I also will include sweet teas from places like McDonalds and Chik-fil-e. Teas that are brewed separately are ok. Sprite used in a cocktail should count too, although I don’t want it to because I like getting flavored vodkas and Sprites. However, club soda or tonic is not considered a soda by my definition.
How I’m going to get there
I think I can kick this pretty quickly, without too much pain. The last time I had a soda was September 17th so tomorrow it will be a week already. For me, it’s just a slippery slope. If I have one today, then it’s ok to have one tomorrow. I think I’ll put myself on the same schedule as the fast food…one soda per week through October. In November, every other week, and in December and beyond, once a month.
Geez. I guess I’ll just by saying Water is It! Have a water and a smile! I’m a water, you’re a water, wouldn’t you like to be a water too? I’m part of the water generation. Sigh. It’s just not the same. But it’s better for me.
September 25 – No soda this week! Success!
October 2 – Had a Dr. Pepper this week. It was delicious. And refreshing. But I had just one, so I still stuck with the plan.
October 9 – Had a Dr. Pepper this week. It really hit the spot but I didn’t drink the whole thing.