I grew up drinking sodas. My favorite, by far, was Coca-Cola. We always had a large bottle in the fridge and I helped myself to a glass whenever I felt like it – for lunch or dinner, together with an afternoon snack, or during a movie.
After moving to the Bay Area, I continued that habit, switching to “Mexican Coke” because it is made with sugar as opposed to high-fructose corn syrup like most US sodas. Perhaps my long tenure as a Coke drinker turned me into a bona fide Coca-Cola aficionado. Or perhaps it was all just in my head. Either way, I truly believed I could actually taste the difference and kept the fridge stocked accordingly.
On top of better taste, I also enjoyed some extra satisfaction in avoiding high-fructose corn syrup, which has been blamed for everything from obesity and dementia to heart attacks and strokes. A lot has been written on the topic and occasionally an article would catch my attention, further reinforcing the wisdom of my soda choice.
Then I made a crucial mistake. I kept reading.
Turns out sugar is really not that good for you either. I will freely admit that this is not a particularly groundbreaking revelation. But it did put me in a bind since I really loved the taste of Coke. After so many years and happy memories together, it was hard to imagine life without my sugary companion. We only live once! And life is short anyway! So why should I deprive myself of something I love?
My brain was working overtime to justify the wisdom of my soda choice. Putting out some of its best work too.
Therefore, my initial reaction was dismissal. After all, there is conflicting advice every day. Coffee is good for you. No wait, it is bad for you. Don’t eat eggs, they have too much cholesterol. Actually, they don’t impact your cholesterol level so eat away. And so on and so on.
As usual, I had a real knack for lying to myself. But while I wouldn’t admit it out loud, I could sense the deception. And that created another internal conflict. I am a big believer in taking personal responsibility, in being in charge of your own life. And yet here I was avoiding that principle. I was prioritizing short-term satisfaction over long-term quality of life. Not such a wise soda choice after all.
It took some time for these forces to battle it out. Eventually common sense prevailed and I made a resolution: I will cut sugary drinks from my diet! Voila!
Except, as we all know, proclamations like these are cheap. It is the follow through that actually matters. Fortunately, I had a unique ally that could assist in my quest: my laziness.
My capacity to be lazy is the most reliable and powerful force I have at my disposal. It always answers my call. It never falters. We could have been best friends if our interests weren’t opposed so darn often. But in this case my laziness and I could easily find common ground and unite in the pursuit of defeating the craving for sugary drinks.
The plan was simple: stop buying sodas and juices when grocery shopping. Thus, no Coke would be available when I really craved it. However, there was a big wrinkle in this otherwise ingenious plan. At that time, I lived right across the street from a 7-Eleven, which most certainly carried Mexican Coke. Sure, it was a bit more expensive, but my craving was more than willing to pay the price.
This is where laziness came in. To acquire a Coke, I had to get dressed, put on shoes, go down the stairs, cross the street, get a bottle, pay for it, and return all the way to my apartment on the second floor. It took a grand total of 5 minutes, but those were 5 minutes that laziness often couldn’t spare.
It took some time. After all, laziness is not omnipotent. And craving certainly put up a good fight. So, early on, I made plenty of trips to that 7-Eleven. And I definitely enjoyed the heck out of those Mexican Cokes.
However, as time went on, slowly but inevitably, I drank less and less soft drinks and juices. And I started noticing a funny thing: my taste began to change. At first, I couldn’t have sugary drinks before noon. Then I couldn’t bear them in the evenings. The sweetness would simply be too much. It was like a coating that stuck to the inside of my mouth and tongue, and was just really unpleasant to experience. Today, a few years later, I basically never have cravings for a sugary drink and on the rare occasion that I drink one, I can’t even finish an entire can or bottle.
My craving soundly defeated by my laziness! Voila!