No Cokes = No Willpower: A Wrap on February

February’s no soda challenge is done. I wasn’t always the victor, but I won more than I lost.

It’s funny. Halfway through the month, I thought things were going to easy and that I’d picked a bad goal.

And then I got a bad night’s sleep, and the wheels fell off.

After that, the challenge was much more of a challenge. Turns out abstaining from your source of caffeine goes a lot easier when you’re getting a full night’s rest. Not so easy when you’re tossing and turning for the better part of two weeks.

By my unofficial count, at minimum, I didn’t drink 3,200 calories worth of sodas that I would have (based on the deliciousness that is the 12-ounce Coca-Cola Classic). And that’s a very conservative estimate.

Looking back, this is an odd month to review. January was easier. Misses were easy to analyze. I could pick apart my day and see what kept me from being successful and what improved my chances for success, not to mention listening to a lot of great podcasts. February was rough, though. I was on cruise control for a solid two weeks. And then I got hit by the fatigue truck.

After that, the month was a lot more interesting. The first day that I caved, I was dragging at 9 a.m. and still had a full day to go. And then it was a crapshoot. I was trying to minimize the damage by ensuring my caffeine intake stayed early in the day so I wouldn’t be kept up at night, but last week just got worse. I started just expecting to get a soda.

Luckily, the weekends saved me. I could sleep in. I didn’t have to mentally function if I was tired. And there were no accessible Cokes during my week moments. At work, the Coke machine’s downstairs and spews out pure deliciousness.

That sounded weird.

But we’re getting off topic. Or was there ever really a topic? Whatever.

I was 23 for 29. I was 23 for 31 last month. This 23 thing seems to be a trend. Hell, my number in football was 23. Jim Carrey’s movie about the crazy guy was about 23.

Weird.

But yeah, 23 for 29. That’s not so bad. Definitely better than I would have done if I didn’t engage in this challenge.

And it terms of sustainability, I realized I may have been going about things backwards in the past. I used to quit sodas and then slowly let myself drink them on the weekends before it bled into my weeks. But this month taught me that might have been the opposite of sustainable for me. I figured out I could survive the weekend without sodas, but it was the weekdays that were the bane of my existence. I have to stay mentally engaged, and I have to set my alarm clock. These things weren’t great for my success as it turns out.

As March rolls around and the inevitable Coke binge happens, I’m going to try to watch things as best I can. For instance, in a midday cave, I drink a 20-ouncer because they’re available. But if I keep 12-ouncers in the office, that seems like a recipe for failure. Maybe I just need to figure out when I leave home what’s going to be the deal and pick up a can if it looks like it’s not my day. Or develop willpower and keep 12-ouncers around and not drink every day. Or just develop enough willpower to not drink the damned things at all. It’s not like they’re good for me.

But they’re so tasty.

I’m thinking long-term abstinence isn’t in my future, but at least every time I quit them for a while, I’m keeping myself from that many sodas. And that’s still something.

And now on to next month and drawing something every day. This is going to be another weird month. Maybe if I become famous March can have its own gallery at MOMA.

-Q

#ihaterunning and #ilovecokes

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4 thoughts on “No Cokes = No Willpower: A Wrap on February”

  1. So I’ve been pondering this for a while and skirted the subject, but I’ll go ahead and ask you. Are you sure it’s the caffeine in the sodas that you’re craving? Don’t get me wrong, soda is delicious and I crave them too every once in a while. The reason I ask is that a long while back, I thought Red Bull had significant enough caffeine to get me through long road trips and then I drank them on every drive for a while. Then one day I was headed out on the road, and took one of Jared’s Red Bulls (sugar free) because they were in the house already and why buy a new one right? Well it didn’t work, I was still lethargic, and realized I was living on the sugar high (and consequently crash) of the drink, not whatever fancy (or bullshit) energy derivatives are in there. I love sugar dammit, but I’ve realized that I’m better without excess amounts of it and it was not fun to cut back on – my mood swings sound a lot like yours. And I absolutely still eat it, but I know my dosage has decreased significantly in the last couple of years. Anyway that’s my long way as asking you if you’re sure it’s not the sugar giving you a boost. Coffee has caffeine, and while I feel the boost for sure, it’s something I rarely crave, and it’s in a very different and actually less severe way than sugar.

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    1. I’d imagine there’s a bit of both in it. Personally, I’m inclined to think the caffeine’s the bigger thing for me in terms of addiction. I don’t drink coffee, though, so I don’t have a good control. I know it’s the caffeine that keeps my heart racing and leaves me tossing and turning at night. Coffee has much more caffeine, and I just can’t handle it well even in the smaller doses. When I go for Sprite at times when I was trying to avoid caffeine, I would feel some pick-me-up but not a lot (but I was avoiding it for the month too, and if I was putting an X on my calendar, it was going to be for a Coke). When I go off sodas, I don’t typically seek out sugary things like lemonade or gatorade as a substitute (though I occasionally had them). Caffeine makes me want the Cokes and so it’s public enemy No. 1, but the other stuff scares me more in the long run (sugar, of course, but carbonated drinks have also been linked to things like esophageal cancer [and I think that actually includes carbonated water]). I don’t actually get much sugar elsewhere, so that was a good thing for me. And of course, I’ve got a month of no calories from beverages in October, so this was just a teaser month. That’s what it was for me, but I know for others the addiction is something else (I know lots of folks who have trouble giving up sodas but still drink coffee, so that makes me think they’re getting their fix of sweetness, which lights up in the brain like a drug, so I completely buy it). I honestly don’t crave sweets beyond sodas, and even then, it’s not all sodas. I don’t like Pepsi because it’s too sweet.

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      1. Very interesting! I figured you had done some research, observed or otherwise so that’s why I was hesitant to call it out. I can’t handle coffee by itself, I have to have a solid meal base before I can have it or it upsets my stomach and makes me too jittery. Maybe for a boost sans caffeine try B12. It’s great for hangovers – at least the fuzzy brain part 🙂

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      2. No worries at all. I’ve been asked that before (or in that case, they were vehement sugar was the devil, and you will find folks who believe it should be treated as a controlled substance. Fed Up is worth a watch on Netflix). I actually take vitamins to help with the energy thing. I noticed I was dragging a year or two ago for no discernible reason, so I started doing that to see if it helps. I don’t know if it does, but it’s fun to eat my Flintstone vitamins as I’m pushing 30.

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