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No Carbonation Challenge

My “no carbonation/no alcohol” challenge is finally over. I made it 20 days (1 day longer than I had planned.) It was surprisingly hard. A normal day contains a pop and a beer for me and I think I’ve kicked those habits. At least the cravings have definitely subsided.

The most interesting part of this experiment was talking to other people about it and hearing their reactions. Here are the three main things people said when they heard about it:

  • That doesn’t sound hard. I don’t drink pop and I hate beer. Well duh. Pick something that’s not healthy that you do regularly and try to ditch it for three weeks. How about coffee?
  • Why? Because neither one is good for me in the long run and I like to break bad habits. I’m not saying I’ll never drink either again, but cravings for anything bother me because I know it’s not something my body really needs but rather something it expects. I got the idea for this challenge from a team at work. They had a large chart on the wall entitled “No Carbonation Challenge” and you got to put an X next to your name every time you went a day without it. Since beer was already off the table, I decided to dismiss all alcohol.
  • Good. Pop will kill you. I gave it up X years ago.

So now that it’s over, what’s the plan? Beer is delicious and it’s not that unhealthy when you drink it in moderation. Drink it I shall. I’ve read a number of studies about the positive effect of a few beers a week.

Pop is another beast. There are really no redeeming qualities about pop. Regular pop has an incredible amount of sugar in it. A 20oz pop (a medium drink at McDonald’s) has 17.25 sugar packets in it! A can has 10 packets. One can of pop per day adds 15.64 pounds per year. Gross. Regular pop is liquid candy, but is diet pop a good substitute? I’m very much a novice, but the reading I’ve done says that despite the Internet conspiracy theories, sucralose (Splenda) is actually pretty safe as long as you aren’t consuming insane amounts. For now I’m putting sucralose on my safe list. Other artificial sweeteners like aspartame have a lot more controversy around them. Everything in moderation I suppose. My current plan is to drink sucralose sweetened drinks and watch how much of the other sweeteners I consume. Part of me thinks it’s silly to worry about these little things when I could do much better for myself by exercising regularly. Let’s not get too crazy here though.

All in all, this was very interesting and educational. Why didn’t I do it for a full month? Two weeks is the amount of time it usually takes to break a habit. And more importantly, by the time I thought of it, there were only three weeks left until the first camping trip.