Every time I tell people about my nutrition plan, one of the sticking points is my total abstinence from sugary drinks. I honestly have not had one sip of a soda or sweet tea in 8 months.
So, when people ask me how I've lost 75 pounds, I always tell them that one of my non-negotiables is that I will not drink anything with sugar. Unfortunately, this almost always stifles their interest. Most of the time, I can see their demeanor changing as I'm saying the words "no coke and no sweet tea". I've come to expect it when I explain the basics of my diet. It's as if they're really excited about my "weight loss secret" until I start messing with their daily sweet tea intake. Once I reveal this one part of my plan, they look discouraged and become much less interested in the specifics of my weight loss plan. (Which has many other facets than just giving up sweet tea)
I'm not mad or upset at them...I've been there. I used to get all of my daily fluids through sugary drinks- not some, I mean literally ALL of my fluid intake was a sugary drink. I know now looking back that I was addicted to these drinks. I suspect that this addiction causes many people to give up on this lifestyle before they start. And there's always a justification for not going cold turkey... "Everything in moderation"...."Cheating every now and then keeps me from giving up long-term"...."Only for special occasions". I've used all of these excuses and more! There are so many reasons we can come up with to keep putting these unhealthy drinks into our body, but the truth is that there are no health reasons to consume these drinks. You can't convince me that even one sip of these drinks is in any way beneficial to your body.
At the beginning if this journey, I decided to go cold turkey for 21 days, and I wasn't going to cheat even one time for those 3 weeks. I will admit that it was very hard at first. I had some terrible headaches and general malaise for the first few days, but those withdrawal symptoms went away by the 4th day. Next came the cravings. Going to a restaurant or even driving by a convenience store would trigger a sweet tea or coke craving that I would have to quell. I have to admit that going to Chick-fil-a without ordering sweet tea was one of the most strange and contradictory experiences of this whole process. (I'm used to ordering by combo number, but now no more!) And you know what...the food is still great without the sugary drink and two refills! These cravings didn't last either. I was really surprised to find that two weeks was more than sufficient to beat the triggers and cravings. So, as I approached my 21st day of sugary drink abstinence, I found that I wasn't counting the days...in fact, I was excited about continuing past the 21 day mark and I haven't stopped since. Next week will mark 9 months since I've had even one sip of soda or sweet tea. I haven't used holidays, birthday, or special occasions to just have one...I have had none!
This wasn't a surprise to me. I fully expected to stop drinking these drinks for good and that the cravings would eventually go away, but I was surprised at how easy it became after the initial, very difficult, withdrawal phase. I was also surprised that there was another step beyond beating the cravings....hatred.
If you know me at all, you hopefully know that I'm not a hateful person. But after I beat my own cravings, I went beyond just not wanting these drinks. I truly hate what these overly sugary drinks have done to me and others. I was way overweight and one of the main reasons was the sugar and calories that were coming from these drinks. If you're struggling with unhealthy weight, my guess is that you are probably consuming these drinks on a regular basis. So, yes, I hate soda and sweet tea now and I want you too also. I know that there are some of you out there that are super healthy and really do enjoy these drinks in moderation, but for me, a former addict, I have to be a hater.
So, what do you think? Is my hatred too much? Leave a comment below about your relationship with unhealthy, sugary drinks. Feel free to disagree with me... :-)