It has been six years since I have freed myself from the power of The Candy Crush. Of course I am not talking about the popular mobile game that makes a million dollars a day. I am talking about the endless allure of candy and soda that infects our every waking minute. So 6 years ago in June 2012, I decided that I was finished with candy and soda.
HOW DID WE GET HERE?
Until this point in 2012 (at the age of 27) I have been eating candy and consuming soda my entire life up. I was the guy in high school where candy was my vice. Instead of a pack of cigarettes, I would have at least 4 packs of Starbursts on me of various flavors. Starbursts, Skittles and Twizzlers were my favorite. There were some weekends where I would play games with my friends and sister and we each had a 2 liter soda and a big bag of candy. I was the Candy Man, pulled into the sweet sweet void of nothingness. Candy (and soda) became my go to drug of choice. If I had a bad day or a good day, I turned to candy & soda to get me through. Didn’t matter the occasion or the reason, the answer was always candy (or soda). Hell, everywhere you go now, there is ‘free candy’ either in the doctor’s office or at the workplace.
HERO IN THE MIRROR
One day in June 2012, I was looking in the mirror at my skin and my teeth and decided I had enough. This was also during a troubling time where I was between jobs. In the mirror, I saw the effect that candy and soda had on my skin, my body and my mood. And I decided on that day I would go cold turkey from both of them. They added nothing to my life and only speed of the decline of my health through one way or another. I have never been fat, diagnosed with diabetes, or even a cavity. But I knew it was a matter of time since I was playing a game of Russian roulette with 5 bullets in the chamber.
So I stopped eating candy and stopped drinking soda. For soda, I replaced it with fruit juices and iced tea (light on sugar). For candy, I replaced it with a lot of pastries/cakes and cookies. If you know me today, this is why I am so adamant about getting cookies and other baked goods. On the grand scheme of things, that may not seem like a huge change but everything in life is gradual. And like most things, the habit became easier as time went on.
If I am being honest, dropping soda was the easiest part. To define what i mean by soda, I count any sugary drink with carbonation as a soda. No real effect or loss from removing soda from life by cold turkey. The sugar rush (to a lesser extent) was easily replaced by things like fruit juice, iced tea and Gatorade.
Candy however, was a different story. So let me define what I mean by candy: ANYTHING in the candy aisle at any store. That includes Hershey kisses, chocolate, gummy vitamins, etc. The first day after I stopped eating candy, it started to invade my dreams. I had dreams where I was eating candy or people were forcing candy on me or things of that nature. It wasn’t a nightmare scenario but definitely a case where I had to say “DIDN’T HAPPEN” to myself so I can overcome whatever assumption that I had. After about 30 days, these dreams and situation stopped coming up. In my day to day life, I turn down candy and soda daily.
The real lesson I learned is how even the smallest change with be faced with resistance from myself (dreams, etc) and from others (offers for candy & soda). As I am developing myself to where I want to go, I notice the small victories and the work required. Like most things though, success is simply based on the discipline to keep something going until it becomes natural. So when I tell someone I haven’t had candy or soda in 6 years, they look at me like I am crazy. But I lived each day purposely avoiding those items until I no longer needed to think about it. Over the next few years, I am slowly going to ween myself off of sugar as a whole.
That’s going to be a battle for the ages since sugar is even in ketchup.