Ok, I'll admit it: I'm addicted to Coca Cola. Being from Coca-Cola's founding state, it's in my blood, right? Coke pairs great with literally any food and it's just amazing on its own. It's hard to resist the sweet syrupy goodness of an ice-cold Coke. And have you tried Mexican Coke? Amazing. I can actually go on all day about how much I love Coca Cola (not something I'm proud of), but let's talk about something that seemed impossible to me before this past week: not drinking it.
This all started after realizing how much sugar I consume in a day because I definitely have a sweet tooth. Soda, sweet tea, chocolate, candies, fruit, basically anything with sugar—I love. This prompted me to search online about how much added sugar, not including natural sugars like fruit, that the average woman my age should consume in a day. According to the American Heart Association, the average adult woman should only have 25 grams of added sugar a day.
At first, I read this and thought, there's no way I come close to eating that much sugar in a day (at the time I was drinking coke and sweet tea every day, along with eating lots of peanut M&Ms). You can imagine the horror once I saw that a single can of coke contains 39 grams of sugar! Needless to say, I was thoroughly SHOOK. There is no way drinking coke, supplemented with other sugary foods can be good for one's body. That's when I decided to make a change. Although I love Coca-Cola dearly, I wanted to see what would happen to my body if I lived without it for a little while.
Quitting cold turkey is never easy, but I decided that I would try for one whole week. If I was absolutely miserable by the end of the week, I would just limit my Coca-Cola intake. The first day was pretty tough. As a waitress, we have full reign to the soda fountain. It was difficult to not fill my drink cup with Coke when I started feeling sluggish at work. You see, not only is Coca-Cola delicious, but it also is my primary source of caffeine. I learned from my mistake, and the next day I drank a coffee (no sugar of course) for some caffeine.
As the week went by, not drinking coke got easier. If I wanted something sweet I would eat some fruit. If I wanted a Coke with a meal, I would go for a much healthier substitute, La Croix. I've never been a big fan of sparkling water, but after a few cans, it grows on you. It also fills that carbonated void that Coke left behind (I know I sound crazy). My favorite flavors are tangerine and Pamplemousse. The only point I struggled with was eating out with friends. We decided to eat Mexican food, and let me remind you that Coke is AMAZING with a quesadilla or tacos, or any Mexican food. I hate to admit it, but, I gave in. That was the only coke I had all week though. Honestly, it wasn't even as amazing as I thought it would be, and I even got thirsty for some ice cold water. At that point, I realized I could definitely cut down drinking Coke permanently.
As for the physical changes I felt, I actually felt a difference. With drinking more water, and consuming less sugar, my skin cleared up quite a bit. I also noticed a difference in my energy. Usually drinking Coke gives me temporary energy, but after a while, I crash and begin to feel sluggish. In my week of not drinking Coke, I felt a little bit more clarity in my thoughts. Coke also tends to make me feel heavy and bloated, but only drinking water made me feel much lighter. All in all, cutting out Coke actually made a difference and made my body feel much better.
Although not drinking Coke seems minor, this little experiment taught me a lot about myself. 1) I have more self-control than I thought. 2) You can definitely live without Coke. 3) Water will make you feel new. If you are an avid drinker of Coca-Cola, I challenge you to stop drinking it, or even try only drinking one a day. Your body will thank you for it. If I can do it, so can you!
Photo from Coca-Cola