Five Months Sauce Free

I quit Pepsi, a life-long addiction—seriously, that long—on December 9, 2011. This was supposed to be a positive thing, a positive step forward for my overall health. Staying off Pepsi has been relatively easy. The real problem has been: what to fill the caloric time and space with that Pepsi has vacated. That’s the tough part.

Here are the pros and cons of quitting Pepsi, thus far:


  • I don’t have to buy, find, plan for my daily habit anymore. I really identified with this quote from David Sedaris, where he discusses making sure one is well-stocked for one's vice:

I may have been a Boy Scout for only two years, but the motto stuck with me forever: “Be Prepared.” This does not mean “Be Prepared to Ask People for Shit”; it means “Think Ahead and Plan Accordingly, Especially in Regard to Your Vices.”

  • I don’t need (but often still want) Pepsi first thing in the am. I’m especially wanting it when it’s hot, but I don’t feel like I’m going to cave. The craving is real but my will is strong.

  • My teeth might be better exposed to less liquid sugar and acid.

  • I feel good that I quit and it seems to have stuck.


  • I've lost no weight and might possibly be gaining weight even though I consume approximately 500-800 fewer calories of HFCS each day.

  • In the absence of Pepsi, I crave sugar all the time. I’m constantly thinking about how to feed the sugar craving. When I was drinking Pepsi all the time I didn't think about this because I knew that there was another Pepsi just around the corner and I didn't need to think about it. Feeding the craving was a constant and a given. Now it’s a crushing desire.

  • I don’t eat any healthier. I probably consume 400-700 calories of junk to replace Pepsi’s missing calories. None of this junk satisfies my cravings, by the way, and yet I still feel helpless about it.

  • I enjoy eating out less because Pizza goes best with soda and Chinese food is great with soda.

  • Things I love, like an egg sandwich, are less enjoyable without a soda.

  • I've become a coffee drinker, which I have with cream and sugar.

Although things in my adult life are better now than they've ever been—really they are—I'm more aware of the dissatisfaction I have with just about everything. The Pepsi and the need to have it drowned this down before, and without the sauce, the dullness is in relief. Some addiction therapists call this a period of vulnerability, when the skin is thin and new boundaries are being drawn. I don’t really feel a thinness or a vulnerability, but rather I feel like there is a constant gnawing, a vacancy in my life that needs to and cannot be filled. Pepsi substituted for a long while. Without Pepsi I feel a dull, roaring vacancy that is my inner chaos.

One of the reasons I put off the quitting of Pepsi for so long is that I knew that quitting wouldn't really change anything. People tell stories about quitting their vice and then "magically" losing weight, getting healthy, running marathons, falling in love, becoming rich, etc., but I knew those things were unlikely to happen for me. Pepsi was only an outward manifestation of whatever my problems are. (I'm still sad I haven't lost any weight, though. I was holding out hope, however false, for that one.)

1 comment:

  1. Have you thought about limiting carbs? It gets rid of sugar cravings after three days. I haven't had any processed carbs or sugar in a month, and I don't crave it anymore. The first week was tough, but now it is easy. Just an idea. Sugar cravings suck!


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