Friday, March 25, 2011

Pop Goes the Soda

Today is a special anniversary for me. Sure, it's only a five-month milestone, but given my life history, I'm pretty proud of this one.

Back on October 25, 2010, I gave up pop, soda, soft drinks - whatever you call it in your part of the world, and have not had a drop since.

Stopped cold turkey.

Since giving up soft drinks, I primarily drink three things: coffee, milk and water - lots and lots of water.

It's truly been amazing the changes I've noticed since ditching the soda. Honestly, I didn't do it for any other reason than to just see if I could do it. A friend at church mentioned he doesn't drink any pop and hadn't any in some two years, and I thought, "I wonder if I can do that."

Since becoming a runner, my pop consumption had dropped significantly over time, but I was still drinking one or two 20-ounce bottles a day. Not a lot of pop compared to what most people drink or what I used to drink, but still it was too much especially after learning more and more about what all is in the soda I was drinking.

Though I was a little apprehensive about giving up soft drinks, the differences I've noticed in my life have confirmed to me it was the right thing to do. Now, I just wish I had made the switch sooner.

First, I was falling asleep faster at night. Normally, I would stay awake on a typical night until at least 11:30 p.m. or midnight. Now, I fighting to stay awake at those times and am usually out by 10:30 or 11 p.m. Where I really noticed the difference is on nights when I work late. In my job as a sports information director, game nights are long nights. For example, I don't usually get home from a midweek home basketball doubleheader until 11 p.m. In years past, it would take me until 1 or 2 a.m. to finally wind down to go asleep in large part because I was pounding Diet Cokes during the games. Needless to say, I was generally a zombie the following day. This year, however, I would get home at 11 p.m. following the games and be out by 11:20, allowing me to get my nearly my normal rest.

The second thing I notice, which should really come as no surprise, my acid reflux has all but vanished. Makes perfect sense for this to happen since I've stopped drinking acid - what "soft" drinks really are.

Lastly, I feel healthier and my running times are improving. I'm not a doctor or a scientist, therefore, I have no definitive proof on this, but upping my water intake has seriously enhanced my running. When I stopped drinking pop, I didn't up my coffee intake to compensate for the caffeine I was cutting out. No, I just replaced the pop with water, averaging anywhere from 64 ounces on days I don't run to 128 ounces on days I do run. Being so fully hydrated has helped me stay stronger and run harder as I train.

I don't think it's any coincidence that it took me less than three months to shatter my goal time for running a mile. Heading into 2011, I can not tell you the last time I ran a mile under 10 minutes, but I was edging closer. My goal time was 9:06 because that was the time I posted in a race when I was 9-years old. Two weeks ago, I not only beat that time but shattered it by posting a time of 8:51. Scary part is, I wasn't even trying to run fast. It was just supposed to be an easy run that day, but I got to motoring.

One of my favorite health/fitness bloggers is Sarah Stanley, and she recently wrote on her blog about cleansing the body. And surprise, surprise, step No. 1 was drink more water and ditch soda. She also said to cut out coffee, but sorry Sarah, I can't do that. :-)

Need more proof as to why to cut out the soft drinks, check out this post from Runnergirl Training.


  1. Yay, congrats on making a positive change! I'm sure that you'll continue to see the benefits! Thanks for the shout out!