Pop (Soda) Sucks — Kicking Bad Habits

This isn’t related to atheism, but I am digging around for ways to hold myself accountable as I kick a bad habit. Time to share and put it out there!

For all of you criticizing fat Americans drinking pop (Midwest for soda), just know that that shit is addictive.

I grew up drinking pop. I can remember drinking Pepsi in glass bottles as a preschooler. There were many days where I drank nothing but pop. I didn’t even know it was bad for you until I was older.

In March 2017, my doctor convinced me to give it up. I stepped out of his office and stopped drinking pop cold turkey. It lasted a surprising two and a half years, but during that entire time, I was craving pop. It got a little easier as time passed even though the cravings persisted. 

In the fall of 2019, I gave in. I wanted a Cherry Coke. (That was always my favorite.) I had convinced myself that I was strong and could drink a pop every once in a while, but once I drank that Cherry Coke, it was over. I have been drinking pop in large quantities every day since then and my weight gain is becoming noticeable. 

Here I sit, Valentine’s Day 2020, once again deciding to go cold turkey. I ran out of pop at home earlier today. My husband and I just returned from the grocery store without buying any more. I was nearly in tears on the car ride home.

I feel ridiculous — it’s pop. It’s marketed to be so innocent and fun and joyful. What’s even more ridiculous is that I’ve been here before. 

So here it is — Valentine’s 2020 — and I’m giving it another go.

Anyone else here addicted to pop? Anyone have any tips for kicking bad habits?


  1. says

    I try to accept that kicking a bad habit is a lifestyle change, which means re-arranging around the new hole in my lifestyle. I also love soda, and had to kick the habit. So I did a lot of thinking and concluded that I hate water. So, for me the soda is not much more than a) colored b) slightly flavored c) slightly sweet. So I started brewing big 2l jugs of diluted crystal light with a tiny bit of sugar added. About 1tsb for 2l but it makes a difference. And I can now walk around with a jug of drinkable stuff all the time.

    I have problems with dehydration and gout and kidney stones, so I needed to replace the soda, not just drop it completely. I’ve been soda free for 2 years now.

  2. says

    Not that I’ve been properly addicted to the stuff but i used to love me a regular lemon fizzy drink. Changed to plain soda water due to increasing age and no longer desire the sweet stuff. Soda water still gives you the fizz and a slightly acid taste but has no calories.

  3. Bruce says

    Most soda pop has caffeine, which literally is addictive. Most soda pop has sweetener such as corn syrup or sugar, which is certainly effectively psychologically addictive. The most popular soda pops also have phosphoric acid or sodium or potassium phosphate derivatives, which can all contribute to kidney stones. Similarly, iced tea can also contribute to kidney stones.
    My urologist recommended water with lemon juice. A splash of lemon juice from a big bottle from the dollar store is much quicker and easier for me than messing with crystal light sorts of things, but I suggest everyone experiment and find things that work for them.
    Of course, in the USA, the biggest factor in our addiction is simply the ubiquitous cultural presence of soda pops as the default drink, so it takes strong effort to bypass that force. Best wishes to all.

  4. says

    Remember “coke for breakfast”?

    I’ve had periods in my life where I drank as often as every other day, but those where times when something unusual or new was in the stores. Once I got over my initial fixations, it declines to my usual intake, about a six pack per month. But I’ve never lost the taste for Guarana, a pop (Canadian vernacular) made from a Brazilian fruit. I’d drink a lot if it weren’t prohibitively expensive.

    The case of a New Zealand woman’s addiction and health consequences is a cautionary tale for everyone.

  5. says

    I hate the taste of soda. I didn’t drink any as a child, because it was expensive and my family was poor. I first tasted soft drinks in my late teens only to conclude that I hate the taste.

    My overall approach to unhealthy foods is that I will eat small quantities every now and then as treats. I would be miserable if I had to completely give up sugar. I could last for maybe a week only to binge on some cake once I finally break down. This is why a bit of sweets every now and then is the most sustainable approach for me.

    Oddly enough, eating all the sugar I can for a few days in a row also results in me not wanting it for a while afterwards. My favorite comfort food is ice cream. A few months ago I bought about 18 liters of ice cream, when my favorite ice cream was on a massive sale. I ate all the ice cream I could eat for two weeks, after which I totally lost any desire for more ice cream. I still have some ice cream left in my fridge from back then, but I haven’t eaten any ice cream for a month already, because I genuinely don’t want any. Of course, I know my current state of mind won’t last forever, after a while I will start craving for ice cream again.

    Anyway, I cannot rely on willpower to completely stop eating some unhealthy food I love. Instead I look for ways how to reduce the amount of sugar I consume without making myself unhappy and craving it.

  6. ashes says

    Thank you guys for your comments! I am especially grateful for your substitution suggestions. It is almost 7am where I live and I’m drinking a Snapple — probably not much better for you than pop.

    It is ridiculous how addictive pop is. I have dreams about Cherry Coke. Usually in the dream, I want Cherry Coke and for some reason can’t have it. Then I wake up in the morning and the first thing I do is drink pop. The craving is so strong my mouth is dry.

    The last time I gave up pop I drank flavored seltzer water all the time. I like the flavors and the bubbles make it feel like pop. Plus it’s super cheap. It’s about 60 cents for a big bottle at our grocery store.

    • says

      I sold pop as a kid, we loaded up the aluminum family cooler with generic soda from Piggly Wiggly. Carted it around in our little red wagon, shouting “cold pop for sale” as we made our way to the construction sites in the area. The ice came from a little motel on the highway, which traded us portable refrigeration for sweeping their parking lot once a week.
      Back then, pop was 3 cents a can if you bought it by the case. We sold it for a dime, or three cans for a quarter. Remember you had to use an opener, which made for a small problem for those that bought multiples. Ends up, construction workers have access to nails..so that was the solution.
      As we grew, people depended on us, for if we ever missed a day we caught hell the next stop for sure. One cooler was not enough, soon we had three, and at 5 years old, I needed to hire the kid next door to push as my older brothers had no mercy for me as the money flowed in. Still it was profitable and even my union father took note of our profits, as many days we out earned his teamster wages!
      One day the motel manager had a suggestion for expansion. He let us buy candy bars from him at cost. Cold snickers bars and pop, made us almost as popular as the ice cream truck with the local kids. We also had piggly wiggly on our side, as we expanded, they sold us product by the pallet, and my father signed for credit, which meant no more waiting in line, as we just loaded through the back door, which was never locked!
      All this lasted for just two summers, as the construction sites became too far to walk to, and we were a one car family with a stay at home mom. Suburban expansion was good to us, and I still remember the dark tans we had. Pop and I have a damn near life long history. I never have drank coffee or tea, beer or liquor, but soda pop..oh that is my vice. I’ve asked to be buried with a Diet Coke.

      • ashes says

        Wow, I am impressed! That’s quite the entrepreneurial spirit for little kids!

        Thank you so much for sharing that story!

  7. TGAP Dad says

    I’ve been a pop-aholic for decades. (Yeah, I’m from Michigan, it’s called pop.) And, like you, I’ve had several periods where I quit cold turkey, only to reignite it at a later date. FWIW, my drink of choice has been Diet Pepsi (don’t anybody go off on me about the insidious evils of artificial sweeteners – I’ve read every study people threw in my face, only to be unimpressed), which while not making an overweight person thin (lots of research behind this), certainly isn’t the calorie bomb of the corn syrup varieties. My internist has encouraged me to curtail my pop habit, but at the same time admits that the research so far is unable to incriminate diet pop. His reasoning is that while we can’t conclusively prove that pop is harmful, we KNOW that water isn’t. (Note: this was before the Flint water crisis.)

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