Last year, on Fat/Shrove Tuesday, I gave up Diet Coke. I actually didn’t give it up specifically for Lent, even though it nicely coincided with the start of it. I happened to hear a news clip on the radio that day about some new statistics and they were just too much for me to ignore.
And so it began.
I had tried giving it up once before, in 2011 when I started clean eating. And made it 10 days and failed, largely because of the lack-of-caffeine-induced-headaches that started. I just couldn’t deal. (And as a side note, I wasn’t drinking coffee then, so wasn’t getting caffeine from any other source)
So now, it’s been a year without Diet Coke (minus two minor infractions in the very beginning) and I survived. It was hard. I used to dream about Diet Coke. To me, then, nothing was as refreshing. And now? I just can’t imagine drinking it again. Because the taste has been so far removed from my palate, it no longer holds the same magic for me.
So a few weeks ago, when Lent rolled around, I debated about giving up something, and if so, what? I don’t always give up something, and it’s not always a material item. One year, I gave up making excuses. But then I started reading some things about 40 Days of Water and I had it.
See … when I gave up Diet Coke, I started drinking ginger ale. Not as much as I used to drink Diet Coke. Not even close. A couple times a week. Since it’s caffeine-free, clearly it’s the carbonation that I was seeking. But I felt, particularly lately, that I was looking for it a little too much. Like, if I didn’t have a glass of it with dinner, it just wasn’t the same.
I was getting addicted to it. Does that sound silly? I was hosting a party about a month ago and when I realized I didn’t have any ginger ale in the house, I ran out just to get some. And that’s when I decided it had to go, and when I learned about 40 Days of Water, it was the perfect way to turn giving ginger ale the ‘ol heave ho into something better.
The idea of 40 Days of Water is that you forego your favorite cappuccino, latte, or soda, and drink water instead. And then you donate that money you would have spent on your favorite go-to drink to Blood:Water Mission so people in Uganda can have clean water.
So I get my cravings for ginger ale out of my system.
I end up drinking more water, which I wanted and need to anyway.
I make another intentional choice that speaks to clean eating.
And I donate a little bit to a good cause.
And, of course, I am saving money by drinking more water and no ginger ale.
How many more reasons did I need to go forward?