We all have one- some of us even have a couple. I know I do.
But the one I am talking about today is… soda. Oh god, soda. Hands down, one of the worst things you can put in your body. It has incredible amounts of sugar, no nutritional value, and plenty of artificial ingredients. There has even been a lot of viral ‘news’ stories going around saying it’s more addictive than cocaine. Now, I’m not sure if I buy that, but still, it’s a pretty strong message.
Soda is bad for you. Period.
But dang, does it taste good going down.
As a kid growing up in the late 90’s and early 2000’s, we didn’t really know about how bad soda was for you. My mom always had an ice cold glass of Coke sitting on a napkin on the edge of our kitchen peninsula. I can vividly remember like it was yesterday how I would stand on my tippy toes and bend the straw down so I could get a few sips. I wasn’t too keen on water, and soda tasted so much better, so little me stuck to that and juices or powdered drink mixes. Not the ideal image of healthy, right?
Well something clicked in me as I got older. I became more educated about what a healthy diet actually was, and how things in excess (i.e. sugar) are very bad for you, and my general diet shifted towards more natural foods and I tried to be as healthy as possible. I even had a two year stint as a pescatarian (like a vegetarian, except I ate seafood, because hey, who can resist salmon??) and got super into quinoa. Soda was close to the top on my list of dietary sins.
I didn’t touch the stuff for years, aside from the occasional glass of soda when out to eat, as a small treat. However, all of that changed this past summer. When I got home from school, my sister got me a job working on her food truck. Food trucks are just tiny kitchens, and probably more stressful than a full sized kitchen, because every person working it has to wear multiple hats. There were countless times when I just didn’t have time to eat for hours because we were way too busy. I also am the absolute worst at waking up early, so I usually had to skip on breakfast before early shifts.
So I turned to snacking on french fries, which is bad enough, but to add to that, I picked up my soda drinking habit again. It was free, there were always some on hand in the cooler, and it was a quick way to get my blood sugar up and fill up my grumbling tummy when I didn’t have time for real food. Literally, it was the most unhealthy thing I ever could have done. I can admit it. There are so many better solutions I could have turned to, like packing fruit or granola or nuts as quick easy snacks instead.
Just like that I fell back into my habit.
My mom started buying sodas, and I found myself craving them- particularly late at night. Then, whenever I’d go out to eat with friends or family, I started ordering sodas. It seemed like I was drinking one once a day, and it was terrible. I felt terrible. Not only because of all the sugar I was putting into my body, but also because I knew this wasn’t what I wanted. I wanted to be healthy, and daily soda was not apart of that equation.
I told myself I was going to stop.
Tonight, however, I found myself slipping. I was just dying to drink the last cold Root Beer in the fridge- it was absolutely calling my name. So I caved. And as I took that first sip, and as the carbonation burned that familiar burn down my throat, I realized… it didn’t taste nearly as good as I thought it would.
I’m not sure if it was sheer willpower, or just the fact that I had gone a few days without drinking one, but whatever it was, it worked. I had to force myself to finish it (only because I can never bring myself to waste food).
So there’s step one in my journey to a healthier me, I guess! There’s still a long ways to go, but baby steps gotta lead the way.
Now I’m curious though….
What guilty habits are you in the process of trying to break? What techniques have you used to break guilty habits successfully in the past?
Update: It’s been a week since I published this post, and so far, so good! I split a bottle of Dr. Pepper with someone, but besides that, I have managed to stay soda free!