Today I celebrate one year of sobriety from soda! I’m calling it sobriety because it was a hard habit to break and I think I was definitely psychologically addicted, possibly even physically addicted to the sugar. I have always been a soda drinker. I would say I would drink at least 1 can a day, sometimes two. My favorite sodas were Sunkist and Sprite. Obviously, it’s common knowledge that soda isn’t the healthiest drink choice out there. However, it’s a pretty common drink. It’s offered everywhere – bars, restaurants, nightclubs, and the grocery store. And it’s cheap. When I was living in Mexico, it was easier and cheaper to buy than water, and that’s saying something when you can’t drink water out of the tap. After I stopped drinking alcohol, soda was my go-to. In the beginning of my sobriety I always had to have a drink in my hand to avoid feeling uncomfortable and many times it was soda. I never thought twice about it.
In January of 2016 I made a New Year’s resolution that I actually stuck to. On January 6 I decided I would stop drinking soda. I was encouraged by a clean eating challenge that I participated in at my CrossFit gym. Honestly, I tried to think of what I could change in my diet that might be easiest. I had gym friends who told me they stopped drinking soda and after awhile you don’t even miss it. I had some feelings about this, mostly because I felt like quitting alcohol and drugs was a big victory for me and in essence, I deserved soda! I mean come on, I already quit alcohol forever, LET ME HAVE THE SODA. That was my mindset. As long as I wasn’t drinking alcohol I was ok. I should cut myself some slack on soda, right? On January 6, 2016 I decided no more soda. I didn’t know how long I would continue with it, but I figured I would try to do it for the month of the clean eating challenge. After I made it past a month I decided to keep going. The motivation was my wedding diet. During the first few months I had similar cravings like the ones I had for alcohol in the beginning of my sobriety. What I didn’t have was the shame and guilt surrounding soda that I had with alcohol. What I craved was a sweet, sugary, carbonated drink to comfort me. When I quit soda I switched to heavily drinking sparkling water. At first, it was not satisfying at all. I kept trying new flavors and brands.. La Croix, San Pelligrino, Dasani, you name it, I tried it. Eventually, it became second nature and I started to not miss soda.
And here I am at one year. I decided I will wait until my wedding to have a soda treat. While writing this post I decided to do a little research on soda. I found these shocking statistics from the Harvard School of Public Health:
- People who consume sugary drinks regularly—1 to 2 cans a day or more—have a 26% greater risk of developing type 2 diabetes than people who rarely have such drinks.
- Women who drink more than two servings of sugary beverage each day have a 40% higher risk of heart attacks or death from heart disease than women who rarely drank sugary beverages.
Additionally, sugar in soda provides a quick sugar high and it makes you want more it. Some say sugar addiction is real. A study in the Journal of Psychoactive Drugs says that there are genes that may underlie the ‘sweet preference’ in alcohol and drug dependent individuals, as well as biological children of paternal alcoholics. It goes on to say, “The neurobiological pathways of drug and “sugar addiction” involve similar neural receptors, neurotransmitters, and hedonic regions in the brain.”
Sugar makes us feel good, kind of like alcohol. Although I don’t think the effects are quite as mind-numbing. I’ve always been an all or nothing person, black or white, drinker or sober. It’s something I’m trying to work on as I know this world is all different shades of gray and not every situation can be so cut and dry.
So will I drink soda again? I think I will attempt to moderate and see where it takes me, but it will definitely not be the staple of my diet that it used to be. I’m happy with the decision I made and I think it aided in my weight loss journey this past year. I don’t talk much about it because I didn’t really set out to lose weight, I just wanted to become more fit, stronger, and fit in my clothes better. I hoped I would lose weight as a result of that.
I started my CrossFit journey soon after this photo was taken. This was June 2015 when I was at my heaviest, about 172 lbs.
Below is a photo of January 2016 on the left. I was heavily into CrossFit at that time, but not as much as I was this year. The photo on the right is me a few days ago, without drinking soda for a year, attempting to eat healthier, doing CrossFit 5 times a week, playing soccer, and running.
I don’t have a scale in my house, but when I’ve been somewhere I can weigh myself I generally fluctuate between 162-164 lbs. I know being fit isn’t all about the scale anyway. I feel good, I have more energy, my clothes fit great, and I can power clean 140 lbs.
I think soda was a good thing to start with cleaning up my diet. I still need to work on fast food, chocolate, and cupcakes, but it’s progress not perfection right?