Given up the Coke habit

Giving up Coke


Are you addicted to Coke or any other kind of caffeinated soda drink? I know I am. I can’t get by without my two cans of Coke a day. But I have decided to find a way to stop.

If you spend all day at the computer as I do then snacking is extremely hard to resist. I spend my day blogging, perhaps you do too and part of the day for me is getting my hit of caffeine. When I say Coke I am mean any caffeinated soda drink, diet or otherwise.

Here is why I want to give up.

  • I want to increase my energy levels
  • I want to be healthier
  • I want to lose weight

Hold on a minute. If you’re happy drinking your daily Coke, maybe you should stop reading this now. I enjoy drinking Coke and if you enjoy it and want to keep enjoying it then read no further. Stop. Although, if you carry on reading you could learn techniques which you want to apply to any habit you wish to give up

Did you know that the Coca Cola bottle is the most recognisable object on the Planet Earth. All the wonderful things man has invented and the most known object for the human race is a container for flavoured, sugary, fizzy water.

Let me go through my reasons for wanting to give up.

I want to increase my energy levels.
Now I know amongst the coding community a good dose of your favourite soda is crucial to grinding out the code each day, but actually it’s a fallacy. The initial energy boost and increase in alertness later leads to a crash in energy levels which is even lower before you first had the Coke.
But it’s a short term thing, over time your energy gets lower and lower until you always feel tired.

I want to put a stop to this.

I want to be healthier
It’s not just the Coke. Two cans of Coke wont kill you, but as part of an unhealthy diet it will. When I have a Coke I also feel like having chocolate and a bag of tortilla chips. It increases my sugar levels and as it dips I crave more sugar as in chocolate. Cutting out Coke will help me reduce craving other junk foods in my life. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a health nut, I love junk food and therein lies the problem.

By cutting out Coke I will be healthier.

I want to lose weight
If my chosen career had been a lumberjack rather than a blogger I probably wouldn’t have a battle with being overweight. If I can make the tiniest shift in my diet it will be of benefit. Giving up Coke will have a substantial impact in my daily calorie intake.

Instant pleasure vs Delayed pleasure

The instant pleasure comes from the physical hit, the anticipation works on the imagination, teasing the mind into telling the body to reach for the can. The initial thought of anticipation happens long before the taste buds receive the actual liquid.

It is in these initial thoughts where the true battle lies. Long before you fingers clutch the cold can, a thought is implanted in your head that setting off a chain reaction in your head. It’s as if a song begins to play and at the end of the song all you want to do is snap open a can of cold coke and gulp it down. Once the soda song starts playing you just cannot help but sing along with it.

So what gets the song playing? What triggers cause the Soda Song to play in your head? Anything could be a trigger, each person will have their own triggers which you have to figure out. My triggers are:

  • Noticing the cans in the fridge
  • Eating plain chocolate
  • Feeling a little drowsy in the afternoon
  • Visiting a snack shop.
  • Being thirsty

When I experience the above, my brain plays the soda song, I feel the bubbles on my tongue, I hear the noise it makes going down my throat, I lick my lips thinking about the taste, I re-experience the pleasure the touch of the cold can brings. My brain goes through the process of enjoying a cold can of Coke and tells me this is good, do it. How can I resist!

If I remove the triggers, I will be able to stop the Soda Song being played and thus reduce my craving for a Coke. I doubt it will completely go but I need all the help I can get. Lets have a look at negating the triggers.

Noticing the cans in the fridge.
Easy one, I can stop buying the multipacks from the Supermarket.

Eating plain chocolate
I could just stop eating chocolate, but lets be sensible for a moment. If I prepare a healthy drink before I eat my daily ration of chocolate, I will be able to muffle the sound of the soda song. It has to be something I like. In the UK it would be Purdeys, which is an energy drink with ginseng and is very nice and if I were in the US it would be Green Tea Sobe, which is very refreshing. Replacement instead of abstinence.

Feeling drowsy in the afternoon
I used to enjoy taking a nap in the afternoon, but work has got so crazy these days I never get round to it, a quick ten minute nap is a great antidote for drowsy afternoons.
A cold glass of water sometimes is very refreshing. Taking yourself out of your environment and going for a walk. Getting some fresh air. A quick work out, ten squat thrusts and ten push ups can seem a little masochistic, but it gets the heart pumping.
And of course there is always coffee, although some may say that is jumping out of the fire and into the frying pan.

Visiting a snack shop
I realised my reason for going to the snack shop was just to get a break from the computer. So now I go for a quick walk around the block. Which gives me a quick burst of exercise and allows me to clear my head.

Being thirsty
Simple one this, I no longer allow myself to be thirsty and make sure there is always a cold, healthy drink on my desk.

Slowly the Soda song and associated triggers will fade from my memory and healthier ones will replace them.

I have just drunk my last can of Diet Pepsi, the fridge is now empty, replaced with a stash of healthy drinks. I no longer frequent snack shops and get a good dose of exercise by walking round the block every afternoon.

It wont be easy, giving up bad habits never is, but it’s a lot easier now I know what triggers my desire.

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