No more soda, sorta…
Wednesday, January 23, 2013
Three year ago today, on January 23, 2010, I quit drinking soda. It was a momentous day for me. Soda was my vice. It was my sole beverage. It was what got me through my days. When I was stressed about something I’d just have a glass of Pepsi and all my worries would just melt away. For me, soda was like a drug and I was addicted.
At the same time I quit drinking soda I was also embarking on my first major weight loss journey. I attribute my nearly 50 pound weight loss to my giving up my beloved soda but, at the time, I felt better. I had more energy and while I didn’t love water I drank it in gallons. I felt good about myself and was so happy to shed my addiction. The day I quit drinking soda I set a one year goal for myself. If I stayed soda free for 1 year, my husband had to buy me a Coach purse. On January 23, 2011, I got my Coach purse. I stayed 100% soda free, much to the surprise of my family, for 1 year. While my weight started to fluctuate, I stayed firm in on my soda free lifestyle.
Then life changed…
In July, 2011 my family and I, which consisted of both my parents, my husband and I and our two daughters, along with 4 dogs and 2 cats, made a cross country move from Arizona to Tennessee. It was quite the adventure but we were all so excited by what lay ahead of us. Since this blog isn’t about that move I won’t go into details other than to say in retrospect it was probably the biggest mistake of our lives.
On February 17, 2012, after just over 2 years of being soda free, I took my first sip of Pepsi. Understand, however, this was not a decision I entered into lightly. Just over a month earlier my dad had walked into the hospital with stomach pains which turned out to be pancreatitis. Four days later he was on life support. For weeks we watched him fight for his life in a battle he could not win. On February 14, 2012, Valentine’s Day and the 43rd anniversary of when my parents had met, we were told there was nothing more the doctors could do and that his pancreas was all but gone. We may the decision to respect my dad’s wishes and on Friday, February 17 we removed him from life support. The hospital he was at provided us with a palliative care package which consisted of cookies, crackers, and soda for us to have while we sat and waited for the inevitable. I was thirsty but didn’t want to leave my dad’s side so I made the decision to see if I could handle some soda. Really it was almost an experiment at the time for me to see if I could control that one thing I had years before had no control over. To see if I could have some little bit of control on the one, single worst day of my life that was completely out of my control. On that day I not only said goodbye to my Daddy but I drank a small, not so great tasting cup of Pepsi.
In the following weeks, I had a little soda here and there. I remember being in a restaurant that didn’t serve bottled water and had horrible fountain water that I just got the Pepsi. My husband gave me a weird look but said nothing. It continued like that. Over that summer my mom and I took a mother daughter trip to Europe where, in most cases, it was easier and cheaper to get a coke than it was water. All in all, since that day last February, I’ve had soda a couple dozen times. Maybe once or twice a month. It’s not a daily thing. It’s not allowed in my house. It’s just something that, on occasion, I have. What I learned back in February was that my two years soda free did leave me with control over the addiction however it wasn’t without its flaws. I did crave it on occasion and while I did not always give into that craving the feeling was still there which scared me because I know how badly dependent I was on it before. But life also threw me curve balls. I mentioned our family’s decision to move as being the worst decision of my life. That is no understatement. Not only have I lost my dad but I’ve lost my career and am not literally living day to day with no job and my husband’s job only being enough to buy groceries and put gas in the cars. (Before moving I was a teacher. I was a good teacher. I had my bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education and I had a solid steady career. Since moving I’ve had 2 job interviews. Yesterday I applied at a fast food restaurant. Like everywhere else, I doubt I’ll hear back from them. ) I say all this because the depression I am carrying makes many of my food related decisions not so great. In the last year, I have gained 20 pounds. All total, I’ve gained back 30 of the 50 I’d lost just three years ago. I attribute a lot of my weight gain to the way I have handled the circumstances of life. Fortunately, I do not place any blame on my soda consumption as I do believe I have control over it but I also know how easy it is to lose control, especially when one is fighting most days just to get out of bed.
Today I write this blog not only to commemorate the three year anniversary of when I gave up soda and to remember that I did it then and I can do it now, and to once again declare myself soda free. This time it isn’t about struggling to give up my addiction to my beloved Pepsi but this time it is a step towards taking control over an element of my life that I can control. To take a stand and move in a step that is a positive one for me. I have to lose the weight I’ve gained. I’ve got to pull myself out of my depression. I’ve got to take control over some element of my life because it all seems to be spiraling out of my grasp. My first small step will be to let go of soda. I have to do this for me. I have to do this for my health and emotional well being. I have to do this for my family. I have to do something. Today I take my first small steps towards taking control back over my life.