Thursday, January 3, 2013

Letting Go of My Coca-Cola Addiction

Well, the holidays are over and I'm finally able to focus on my little blog once again. Besides the flurry of activity, I've been hyper-focused on improving my health and making real changes in my weight and overall lifestyle. Today I'm sharing a little about my life-long love affair with Coca-Cola, and how despite the charm of vintage ads - even those featuring Jolly Saint Nick - or hypnotic pull of the sophisticated marketing of today, I am saying "au revoir" to my drink of choice.

I've enjoyed the cool refreshing taste of Coca-Cola as long as I can remember. I loved opening a fresh bottle, and seeing the smoke rise up. I poured some in a glass and heard that satisfying fizz sound ***wa-goooosh***. I drank that first sip, the carbonated bubbles still tickling my nose and felt that instant pleasure from the caffeine rush and the endorphins released in my brain. 

I enjoyed Coke in all it's forms. As a teen, I experimented w/ Diet Coke, mostly because of my best friend's influence. It didn't seem to help my weight. I steadily grew chubbier throughout my teenage years, all the while consuming Coke at my favorite afternoon pit stop, Mickey D's. Fountain drinks, cans, 1- and 2-liters....I couldn't get enough. My body resembled nothing like the cute little vixens in the vintage ads like this one:

 I went through other soda phases....anything from generic concoctions like Big K or Faygo pop. Or drinking Mountain Dew or Dr. Pepper exclusively. I started drinking only Sprite when dating my boyfriend (who later became my husband) because he tried to avoid dark sodas with caramel flavorings.

A few times in my life I was able to give up Coke, but that usually lasted a few short weeks. I would indulge in a "treat" or say "I don't drink alcohol...this is what I do to relax on the weekend." And so the addiction would continue.

To be honest, after giving up Coke that first drink didn't taste very good. It tasted bitter and "off." But I would keep chugging away until the familiar caffeine and sugar rush kicked in and the endorphins did a happy dance inside my head. And then I was hooked.

Coca-Cola was really like a drug to me. Yes, sugar in itself is said to be just as addictive as heroin. I joked about the seedy origins of my favorite beverage. In the early days, Coca-Cola supposedly had cocaine in the special formula, which is what made it so popular. It is a fact that Coca-Cola contains extract from the coca leaf, which is the same leaf that can be used to make cocaine (though by a very different process). Coca tea is enjoyed safely in countries (such as in South America) without any drug-like effects. But getting back to the point, the combination of sugar and caffeine made it super-addicting, even more than coffee.

 Last summer I started experiencing heart palpitations. Some were so bad that I thought I was literally dying of a heart attack. After a couple visits to the ER and starting dr. care, I decided to heed the doc's advice and give up caffeine. It was hard, but at that point I didn't want my heart to race or enter into full-blown palpitations every time I lay down at night. The pain outweighed my addiction.

I haven't had a Coke since probably October...not too clear on the date but it was definitely before I started Spark People in November and started my weight loss journey. It was a healthy change, and that small change was a catalyst for me to start making bigger changes. Such as, giving up fast food burgers and fries, which of course you can't have without a Coke to make it a complete combo. And now, the ball is rolling and I'm learning to let go of a lot of other things, be free of weight and most important bondages and self-destructive behavior.

I've drank other types of soda a handful of times since giving up Coke. I'm finding I don't really desire them either. Sierra Mist and Mug Root Beer hurt my tummy and the sugar makes me feel weird. (I have insulin resistance due to my blood sugar spiking too fast is a big factor). I'm learning to enjoy herbal teas and some black teas in place of Coke and coffee. I feel calmer and more relaxed, and I enjoy the interesting, full-body flavors of the organic, loose-leaf teas I buy at the natural food store. Tea time has become the "pause that refreshes." And maybe one of these days, I'll pour me a cup of Andean Coca tea.

Recommended Reading

Coca leaf is not a drug:

51 Uses for Coke Ultimate List:

 Coke Lore @ Snopes   
Weed, Booze, Cocaine and other Old School Medicine Ads

Picture Sources
(1) Animated Gif -

(2) Vintage Swimsuit Vixen -

(3) Bubble Boy -

(4) 1905 Coca-Cola Ad

1 comment:

  1. Good on you for giving up Coke!! I bet it was very hard, but certainly worth it in the long run.