During college, I became a pretty big Diet Coke drinker. It was not uncommon to see two or three Diet Coke cans stacked up on my computer desk. This continued into my teaching career. When, on the first day of inservice during my first year of teaching, our principal announced that she would prefer that we not drink soda in the school, I about had a coronary. This led me to devise ways to get my fix both before and after school. One day, while I was on morning duty, one of my closest friends, who taught in the high school, brought me a coffee mug filled with Diet Coke (coffee, for some reason, was permissible, so I just pretended that's what I was drinking from my Mustang coffee mug).
During my second year of teaching, when we got a new principal, who didn't seem to mind if we drank soda, I became far more brazen about drinking my Diet Coke on school premises. I didn't drink it during class, and I tried not to drink it in front of the students, but I did drink it on my way to school, during my lunch break, during my planning period, and immediately after school. And, when I started working at my current school, where my office was separate from my classroom, it was not uncommon for me to drink five to six Diet Cokes in a day. (Although, not all of these were at school.)
When Craig and I went to my first prenatal appointment, my doctor went through the regular list of things to avoid -- alcohol, smoking, illicit drugs, etc. Craig jumped in, "What about Diet Coke?" I shot him the look of death.
"There are certainly worse things you could do for your baby. If you drink one a day, that wouldn't be a problem," she said.
I smiled and thanked her, never admitting that, prior to becoming pregnant, I regularly consumed an entire six pack in one day. Limiting myself to one a day could be a stretch.
I stuck to the one-a-day rule pretty well, wanting to ensure that my baby was born healthy, and before returning to work after Liam was born, I did a pretty good job of sticking to that rule, as well. Once I returned to work, however, I eased back into my habit. It started pretty slowly. One day, when I stopped at the convenience store on my way to work, I noticed that six packs were on sale. When I realized that an entire six pack was only 20 cents more than the 20 ounce bottle I prepared to purchase, I immediately returned the bottle and grabbed the six pack. I stored the six pack in my desk drawer, cooling them one at a time.
When I started drinking them warm simply because they were there, I knew I had a problem on my hands. So, I started purchasing 12 packs, keeping them in the fridge at home, and taking two to work. Eventually, two wasn't enough, and this Tuesday, I found myself consuming four Diet Cokes during one work day.
On Wednesday, as I cracked open the last Diet Coke from my twelve pack, I opened up CNN.com and saw this article on the home page. I considered it a sign.
I'm hoping to kick the habit completely, substituting with green tea, so I can still get my caffeine without all the aspartame and caramel syrup. As I write this, I'm only about one day into my little experiment. We'll see how this works out. Wish me luck.