Kitty Blackadder

A Scottish blog about making art, too much eyeshadow and becoming a grown up.

Monday, 4 May 2015

Giving Up Fizzy Drinks - My Experience

On the first of last month, as I sat sipping a nice chilled Coke, I told myself it was the last. I know, I know, the first of the month, April Fools Day - I initially thought I was kidding myself in some kind of masochistic prankish fashion, but alas it turns out I was serious. Fizzy juice, soda, pop, whatever you want to call it - it's certainly a struggle of mine. In the past, whenever I've made attempts at 'healthy eating' I've been able to give up cake, candy, crisps and ice cream with relatively little distress, but try and get me to walk past a chiller filled with ice cold Irn Bru and you'll see me crumble faster than a cookie in a vice.

I was raised in a family where fizzy juice wasn't kept in the house; when we were very young it was reserved for super special occasions such as Christmas and birthdays, and, even as we became teenagers the only time we would have it was on a Friday night (and even then, it was like a glass each). You'd think then, that I wouldn't have much of a taste for it, or at the very least, wouldn't have in my adulthood come to feel almost addicted to, or dependent on it.

It's that feeling of needing it that was the reason I wanted to give it up. Sometimes, sitting in the house, having a perfectly nice day I would suddenly feel like I needed some fizzy juice - I didn't want it, I wasn't in the mood for it, I needed it. Maybe it's the caffeine or maybe it's one of the myriad of additives present in these drinks, but there was definitely something I was craving on far more than a taste-bud driven level. And that scared me. Now, don't get me wrong, I have far less than a model diet across the board - I eat a little packet of crisps most days, I have a biscuit a lot of the time after dinner and I am rather partial to some ice-cream whilst chilling out with a film. But the difference, the very real, very scary difference, is that I could really take or leave all these things if I needed or wanted to - I have control over my wanting for them, I can reason with myself and say, "do I really want to have some chocolate or will I eat those grapes in the fridge?", and, it'll work. I will nearly always make the healthy decision if I present myself with the options. But not with soda. Day in, day out, I'll make excuses (oh, well Kenny likes some Coke on a Friday night with a good dinner, might as well have a little while it's open) or find justifications (a meal out is supposed to be a treat, might as well have what I want and actually enjoy it) - and that really, really was freaking me out.

So yes, massive tangent aside, I decided that I was done with fizzy juice. Completely. In the past when I've tried to quit it, I've always said I'd allow myself one 500ml bottle a week - because hey, that's reasonable, right? And it would be, if I could just drink that and walk away, but the reality is, like a shark with blood, once I get a taste for it, I am pretty much in a frenzy until I can have MOAR. So this time around I decided to go cold turkey - because clearly, I can't trust myself around the stuff at all. 

 So, how did it go? Well, in a month, I screwed up exactly four times - which I'll grant you sounds pretty bad, but actually - hear me out! - I'm relatively happy with things overall.

The first few days of not having any were hard; on my lunch break at work we get a free bottle of juice and for about four or five shifts I kept lifting Irn Bru without thinking about it and then having to walk back down the stairs and sheepishly return it to the fridge. But actually, despite all that, my first two screw ups came completely accidentally (well, I'm blaming Kenny...). On the first occasion we were sitting in a restaurant, Kenny ordered a Coke to drink and without thinking (because of course the waitress had done that magical thing of arriving just as I was at the punchline of a story...) I just said me too, because that's what I've done for years. It wasn't until the drinks had arrived and I'd had a couple of mouthfuls that I realised something was wrong. Believe it or not, I then did the exact same thing a week later when we ordered Dominos and it came with a bottle of Cherry Coke - didn't realise what I was doing until I had drank about a third of it! I kind of wonder if I did genuinely forget or if my subconscious was deliberately hiding it from me so it could get its' fix... 

Screw up number three occurred when I was doing a mad sprint through Glasgow Central Train Station trying desperately to catch a train down to my mum's. I was just going to make it, and then of course realised that I had left my bottle of water at work and that I was so thirsty I'd probably turn into some giant raisin creature during the 50 minute train journey. Of course, all the usual places like Boots and Markies had huge lines I didn't have time to wait in, and so I found myself at the truly deserted Upper Crust begging the guy to just take my money QUICKLY - but of course (and potentially the reason the place was devoid of customers, now I think of it...), their chiller only had a few bottles of liquid in it, all fizzy. In a state of frustration and haste, i grabbed one - but hey, I did only drink a third of it on the train, so that's not so bad.
Screw up number four was the only time I actually said, sod it, I'm having a Coke. Hanging out with my sister after a long day of shopping (#firstworldproblems) and just really wanted a nice, cold, Coke. Sorry, not sorry.

  And so that's where I am now - although I did slip up a few times, not one of those incidents snowballed into me having more and more and so I'm not too upset about the imperfections. I would definitely say overall I feel better for not drinking fizzy juice - and feel I've done well not to skip the soda but have another sugary snack as a 'treat' instead. Long term, I'd love to get to a point where I could have a soda once a week or something, but for now, I think cold turkey is best - it's easier than trying to ration it, it's easier to just accept it isn't an option, than it is to reason and argue with myself every lunch break. Truthfully, and I'm really not making this up, I swear, that last Coke I had was on April 25th and at that point I hadn't had any fizzy juice in a couple of weeks - now, don't get me wrong, I enjoyed that Coke... but not as much as I thought I would, not the way I usually do. I genuinely felt it tasted so chemically and artificial and I felt it left me thirstier than it found me. Could that be a sign of the addiction breaking down? Or was my brain just imagining these tastes in line with what I've been telling it all month?

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