Sunday, February 6, 2011

Kicking the Habit

I have not had a Coke since lunchtime a week ago. I thought this worthy of its own post. Before Hudson died, I had gotten serious about trying to kick my Coke habit. I had been in a habit of drinking at least one Coke a day, often two, for a very long time. Ever since my mom died in 2002, I’d certainly become far more aware of my own mortality than I’d ever been before, but having a child completely changes your perspective on these things. I didn’t want to miss out on my daughter’s wedding, or her first child, or watching my grandchildren grow up, and while I’ve now learned the hard way that there’s only so much of that I have control over, at that time, I was at least going to try to exercise control over the things I could. My first attempt was last year right about this time. I’d done well for about 2 weeks, cutting back significantly without cutting out Coke altogether. And then it snowed. And we were all in the house together for several days. It wasn’t stressful—it was special. It felt like a special occasion to me, so I figured why not splurge? Well, there’s a very good reason why not—I slipped right back into my old habit. Then, a few months later, about two weeks before Hudson died, I read this article about a huge longitudinal study done in Singapore that showed a significant association between pancreatic cancer and sugary soda consumption. People who drank two or more sodas a week (remember, I was drinking about that much every day!) were some huge percentage more likely to have pancreatic cancer than people who did not drink sodas. Granted, pancreatic cancer is still extremely rare, and out of the 67,000 people in this study, only 180 or so had pancreatic cancer. But still, an association, with or without an actual causal connection, between my main vice and the cancer that killed my mom at age 57 kicked my motivation to quit drinking Coke into overdrive. And I gave it up. I’d been off it again for almost 2 weeks when we landed in the hospital with Hudson. And, well, you can pretty much imagine the rest. About two months after Hudson died, I tried again, and did well for a few days until I had one very, very bad day with the grief and was right back there again. I also gave it up for the first few weeks of this pregnancy, and then as soon as the OB said that caffeine was OK in moderate amounts (which I already knew, of course, but wanted to hear it from the horse’s mouth), you know I went right back out and got a Coke that day for lunch. And then a month ago, when gestational diabetes was mentioned, I cut way back again, but still had the occasional Coke.

Friday (and this is the really good news in this post), I learned that I passed my glucose challenge test, so NO GESTATIONAL DIABETES! Which is excellent news. You’d think this would make me want to go start guzzling Coke. And I do kind of want to. But I won’t. I keep telling myself that I can handle just drinking it in moderation—just on weekends or just when we go out to eat, but honestly, I know better. If I can just rid myself of the craving altogether, I’ll be much better off. The on again, off again just makes it much more likely that I’ll end up permanently on again.

Who knows whether giving it up will ultimately help prolong my life? But I certainly know it’s no good for me (nor for poor Jackson, who doesn’t have a say in the matter). And I certainly know that I don’t NEED to drink it (despite what I often tell myself). So without really thinking much about it or setting a start date or any of the other things I usually do, I’m just not having any. None for seven days. And kind of like the sewing projects, I have the feeling that once I’ve made it this far, I want to make it farther. Again, there are just so few things that give me a sense of accomplishment these days—tiny though this thing is, it is still an accomplishment. In some ways, I feel like I am doing this for Hudson as much as for me.  I can’t really explain why, but somehow I feel that.  Or maybe it’s that she’s giving me the strength and motivation I need to do something I’ve been trying to do for quite a while. Somehow, this has something to do with her, which feels good. Let’s hope it sticks this time.  

Oh, and did you hear? NO GESTATIONAL DIABETES! I won’t go out and guzzle a bunch of Coke. I will, however, lick every last bit of frosting left in the bowl from the homemade cinnamon rolls I baked this morning.


  1. Sugar is as physically addicting as nicotine and other drugs - add caffeine to that, and it's no wonder we crave it! I've kicked the sugar habit a couple times in the past, and like you, ended up back on it again. Last week I was just re-evaluating my own consumption of Diet Coke and candy over the last few months thinking I need to cut waaaay back. Good luck with it! I'll be rooting for you!!

  2. OK those cinnamon rolls looked absolutely outrageous! YEA! No gestational diabetes! YEA! Hudson helping with the Coke! It's all good.
    You are amazing, Mandy. I'm so proud of you!
    Sending much love,

  3. I used to drink a fair amount of the stuff. Several years ago, I switched to zero calorie, zero sodium seltzer water and I no longer miss it at all. If you go long enough without it, the cravings stop and you can't even imagine drinking it. It's TOO sweet.

  4. You go Girl!!! I am so proud of you- first on the GD and of course on the Coke. I gave up all soda about 6 years ago. Never went back. The mere smell of it turns my stomach these days and I have developed an aversion to it. The C's have never even had soda.. juice is another story. Last year I gave up my other southern addiction... sweet tea. Used to drink my body weight in it. Life is cheaper i=on that front now- water with lemon is my mainstay.. and I still drink gallons of hot tea every day.. my point? Well, it's that you can do it.. just stick to your guns mamma! xo

  5. Happy for you about the GD—one less thing to worry about.

  6. Great news. So happy to hear it!

    I kicked the soda habbit a few years ago because of stomach issues. The only way I could do it was to not drink it at all. The few times I have it I generally can only drink a little bit before its too sugary.

  7. Well, my version of the vice was Dr Pepper, but I, too, felt the need to change for myself and to set a better example once I had kids.

    I second the experience of another commenter that I now satisfy the carbonation craving with seltzer water. If it isn't sweet enough at first, you can add a little bit of fruit juice, but now, I like it straight. And on the occasions when I do go for a sugary soda, I don't enjoy it as much as I thought I would and can't believe how sweet it is!

  8. That's amazing news re: no gestational diabetes!! So happy to hear it! And I totally feel your pain re: the Coke addiction -- I have tried to quit for years and now know I need to even more because my maternal grandmother died of pancreatic cancer at 54 (one year from my mom's current age, which kind of freaks me out). Just makes me stop and consider my mortality and the mortality of those I love most (which I know you know all to well). Thanks for the reminder!

    Still thinking of you and praying for you in Atlanta!


    (PS, I just got off work and am in auto-pilot mode, so I'm sorry for all the "re:"s. LOL)

  9. I do think this is a good development-- I kicked a-- goodness knows how many, maybe a couple of cases a WEEK-- Dt. Coke habit back when I was pregnant with G. I do have one now when we go out for something like a burger, but maybe 4-5 a year instead of a day/week. Good luck with the long-term "rehab and recovery"--and enjoy your frosting!!