The Best Part of Waking Up…

…is Diet Coke in the Can!

Or is it?

Earlier this year (March? April?), I gave up soda for 30 days. At work I was drinking two sodas most days. I was drinking bottomless glasses while eating out. And I was drinking it at home, too often.

I know that cola is bad for you, and that diet probably isn’t much better. And honestly, I wondered if my constant need for dental care was related to my love of soda. I like my dentist, but I like my wallet more. I wanted to know if I would feel better.

The entire month, I was counting down to the end of the month. I couldn’t wait to get back to drinking Coke Zero at home and Diet Coke at work!

***

This summer, I was amazed at how much soda Dad drank daily, and I think it influenced me negatively. I drank even more pop than normal.

At the same time, I wasn’t eating a normal diet (because out kitchen was out of commission), getting regular sleep, exercising regularly (because we were working on the house nonstop), or drinking enough water.

I decided I needed a reboot, so when Dad left, we finished up the last of the soda and didn’t buy more.

***

A week later, work started. I held off buying any pop until Thursday. I was tired. I did what I usually do on a work day: I headed to the vending machine, put a buck in, and waited for my Diet Coke and my quarter.

I heard two coins hit the return slot. That’s weird, I thought. I fished them out.

Fifteen cents?

I glared at the pop can. I glared at the vending machine—85¢. I rolled my eyes at the coins in my palm.

This was too much. It was one thing to spend a buck and get a false “freebie” with the leftover quarters every fourth time. Now I was going to have to have to buy six cans to get that false freebie, keep track of twice as many coins, and have a nickel left over.

Furthermore, I only keep quarters in my purse. Dimes, nickels, and pennies all get thrown in the pink plastic piggy bank on the office bookshelf.

As I walked up to my room, I considered that if I got into the habit of buying a soda during the first weeks of work, I was going to be in that habit the entire year. I also realized I was going to spend enough money over the year on the price increase alone to buy a fruit tree for our backyard. I mentally tallied up the total cost and realized I could make an orchard in our backyard with the total money I would save if I quit drinking soda.

Tooth decay, the possibility that fake sugar screws up your sweetness receptors, possible bone loss, the massive waste of money, the company’s union busting ways—none of that was enough to stop me from drinking Coke. It was that ten cent price increase that set me over the edge!

***

I haven’t had a single drop of soda since then. That’s more than five weeks without soda.

The headaches from caffeine withdrawal are completely gone. I don’t have to talk myself out of getting a soda when someone else drinks them. I haven’t been tempted to get soda when eating out.

There are other side effects I didn’t expect. Since I’m no longer going into the break room for soda, I’m no longer picking at the junk people leave on the tables. I’m no longer tempted by the candy/snack sugar/salt vending machine since I don’t see it. At our twice weekly grade level meetings there is always candy. I used to eat too much of it. Other than a few during an all-day meeting, I haven’t had any candy since the first week of school. It’s almost as if I don’t crave the sugar as much.

Do I think I’ll never drink soda again? No. I remember a Cuban restaurant I used to live near in Atlanta that had a great ginger beer I enjoyed as a treat. I want to drink soda like that—as a treat, not a habit.