You have no idea how much I wanted to begin this “how I kicked coke.”
In college, I developed an addiction to Coca-Cola. I’m not sure if it was just the caffeine or the whole medley of caffeine, sugar, and God only know what else. My cafeteria enabled the addiction by providing all-inclusive meals. Once I’d swiped in, I could get anything I wanted and as much as I wanted. So my cup ran over with Coke.
I’d buy at least one more around 8pm to help keep me up to do homework and hang out with friends. There was a vending machine in the lobby and cans were only $0.65. Again the college helped me out by having a card swiper on the machine. I didn’t need change, I could just use Flex Dollars from my account.
I continued the habit over the summer by bringing a can of Pepsi to work every day (I guess I wanted a change…) and by drinking some of the Coke which was always available (though decaf) in my family’s fridge.
My habit continued until the end of September in my sophomore year. My roomie Angela, best friend Steve and I were in the cafeteria getting breakfast. I came back with my usual that fall: 1 sliced and toasted bagel with butter and 2 cups (maybe 20oz total) of Coke. Can only imagine the calories.
For some reason (since she’d seen it a million times before), Angela said, “You’re drinking that for breakfast? Ewww….” I told her that it helped me begin the day. Then Steve told me he didn’t think I could go a day without it. I don’t remember how the conversation went, but they ended up staging an intervention and stealing everything but my bagel. I was really annoyed and tried to get more Coke but Steve physically restrained me. I think he called me a coward for not giving it a shot…I don’t quite remember. Anyway, he annoyed me enough that I decided to go along to prove that I didn’t need to drink Coke.
I promised to go a month without it or any soda.
Those next few days were awful. I had migraines pretty much non-stop. I was also so annoyed with Steve that I refused to take any Advil (my drug of choice). I don’t know if it would have worked anyway. The severity of the migraines and how they impaired my ability to get through the day really scared me. They strengthened my resolve. I thought about just buying a Coke to stop them, but I didn’t want to have to go through that again. Ever.
After about 4 days, I started feeling better. The rest of the month was quite easy and at the end I actually didn’t want to start drinking sodas again. I think I went another month without bothering to have one. Ever since I’ve been a confirmed water drinker and only drink sodas now and then. Anything but Ginger Ale leaves me feeling funny anyway.
Quitting Coke had a good impact on my spending money as well as on my health. Since our dorm had good water, I just had to buy a water bottle and was able to drink as much as I wanted for free. Saved me at least $0.65 a day. When I went home for the summer, I didn’t feel the need to stock up on soda. If I’d kept drinking soda at my Freshman rate upon graduation, that would be something like 2 litres every day. So another savings there.
As for health, it probably contributed to the weight I lost that year (thought most was from being so depressed later that semester that I had no appetite). I also noticed that my stomach complained significantly less and I had a lot less gas in general. I’d previously attributed it to college food, but I think the carbonation in the soda was the problem.
Last week, No Credit Needed and Frugal Dad announced that they’re also trying to quit soda and got me thinking about all this. I wish them luck, it was a good move for me all around. The first few days are the hardest and I think they’ve gotten through those. After that it’s mostly a matter of not having it around (and free) all the time. If you have to go out and buy it and actually part with money, it’s a lot harder to get in the habit again.