Giving Up Soda

I used to be the kid who could eat six mini bags of potato chips and still remain skinny. This did not carry into adulthood, and my consumption of around 1.5 liters of coke a day? That wasn’t helping matters any.

But I’m truly addicted to soda. I never got addicted to something like cigarettes, but the powerful combination of sugar and caffeine has really done me in. Plus there’s the mental factor. I’m simply used to drinking soda with every meal–even breakfast.

Obviously, this is seriously unhealthy. And it’s caused me to gain around 50 pounds since I graduated from college eight years ago. This is secondary to health stuff, obviously, but if I’m drinking an extra 1000 calories every day, that’s definitely not good. I should actually be able to lose all 50 pounds by the end of July just from cutting those 1000 calories out of my diet.

So this month, I’ve decided to tack on an extra goal for the month. I’m cutting out coke and fast food completely. February is the shortest month, so somehow that made it seem more manageable. I’ll check in periodically to talk about how it’s going.

I tried to quit soda once before, about a year ago. I didn’t last very long. I was at my mother’s house, so soda was around, and so were my favorite foods that go so well with soda. I don’t have any of these things in my own house, so it should be easier for me. I’m pretty much going to stick to tea, seltzer, and plain water. I don’t feel as sluggish and my headache isn’t as bad as it was last time, but I’m only on day 2. I did survive a full day at work, though. My friend/coworker provided moral support while I poured the bottle of coke I had in the fridge down the sink.

So we’ll see how it goes. There’s also an economic component, and now that I’ve announced it to everyone, it should help me to stick with it. Plus, now that I’ve really sat down and understood just how much I was consuming every day in calories in soda alone, there’s a real sticker-shock factor.

If you’ve ever quit soda, let me know how it went for you and any tricks or tips you have.

2016 Goals: February Update

Now that the first month of 2016 is over, how have I been doing? Not the best, I can admit–but January has felt like a bit of a transitional month for me. We moved at the very end of the month, so there hasn’t been as much progress in these areas as I’d like.

Let’s go through them one by one.

1. Go to bed/wake up earlier.
I have been doing a lot better in this arena. There were a few days where I did get up at a reasonable hour, like nine in the morning. Once we’re settled in, I will definitely be making an effort to get to bed by midnight (sans iPhone!) and wake up by eight. I need this time to be able to work during the day, since we’re moving in with family members and once everyone else gets home from work, it’s too distracting for me to get anything done. If I can take the work day for myself on the days when I don’t go into the office, I should be able to get a lot done.

2. Make dinner 3x a week.
I have definitely NOT been doing this. But my February Goal is to eat all my meals at home–no fast food, no grabbing something on the run. This isn’t really something I was expecting to accomplish in January anyway.

3. Keep living space clean.
My boyfriend breaking his arm really threw a wrench in this idea, since right now, I have to clean up after him and he can’t do much of it on his own. But I think once he’s out of his cast, it will become easier.

4. Live off salary and save freelance income.
Again, due to my boyfriend breaking his arm and being unable to work, this wasn’t really possible in January. But now that we are living with family and not paying rent, this should be absolutely doable. My ultimate goal would be saving $50,000. At $2,084/month, that number seems a lot less daunting. I’ve raised my freelance rates, and I hope to put more effort into getting new clients instead of just relying on people to find me through my employer.

5. Save $1000.
See above. I plan to put this one in action once I pay my taxes for 2015.

6. Then get a secured credit card.
Obviously, no progress has been made on this.

7. Complete draft of a children’s/middle-grade novel.
I think I’m going to change this one a bit. I have an unfinished master’s dissertation, and I’ve made steps with the university to finish it. I have until the end of summer, so my plan is to finish the dissertation (my goal is my birthday in July) and then start work on a novel when that’s done.

So that’s been my January. There have been a lot of setbacks, but they weren’t exactly unexpected, since the events such as moving and my boyfriend breaking his arm are things that had been set in motion in December. My goals in my life right now are mainly financial. I’m farther along than I thought I would be a few years ago (no credit card debt is a major one), but I’m still not where I would like to be as I’m facing down thirty. The years go by fast once you get past 25, and suddenly, you’re a legit adult, no question about it. And with that comes adult desires, and the understanding that living above a night club is not what you want for your life.

I’ve always hated dealing with landlords and I find it stressful, plus you’re basically throwing away your money each month. So my ultimate goals are all currently focused on the idea of buying property. I want the equity and the feeling that a space is truly mine.