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An Unexpected Health (and Financial) Perk

Posted By LocalShops1, Sunday, November 6, 2011
It has been a month since I got laid off from the St. Petersburg Times, and I haven't had a diet Coke this entire time.

Now, for all you health-conscious people out there, a month without a diet Coke might not seem like a big deal. But for me, pre-layoff, going even one day without my carbonated fix would have been a huge feat.
Diet Coca Cola 20-Ounce Containers Pack of 24

My diet Coke habit had gotten out of control. Two or three (bottles, not cans) was typical, and that was just during work hours: one around 4 p.m., on my way in (newspaper people often work crazy hours): one around 9, halfway through my shift, just before the nightly conference call; and one about midnight, to keep me going for a few more hours, since I'd have to be up several hours after I got home, to work on projects for my own business.

• • •

Often there were more diet Cokes, too, before work. On especially bad days I even started the day with one because it was faster to grab a diet Coke than to wait around for the coffee to brew.

My habit had gotten so bad that my boyfriend staged a one-man intervention. I agreed to cut back to one bottle a day. That lasted about a week.

The last time I had a diet Coke was around 1 p.m. on Oct. 6. Later that afternoon, I walked into the St. Petersburg Times and found out I no longer had a job there.

• • •

I didn't make a conscious decision to give up soda; it just happened. I didn't even realize it until about two weeks into it. And the strange thing is I don't miss it at all.

Scary realization, No. 1: Drinking
more than one soda a day — regular or diet — increases risk of obesity and related health problems such as type 2 diabetes, according to the Mayo Clinic.  A recent study (reported in Times magazine) found that among frequent drinkers — those who consumed two or more diet sodas a day — waistline growth was 500 percent greater than among non-drinkers. Excess weight, especially around the belly, is a risk factor for a variety of ills, including cardiovascular disease and diabetes, the article says.

Scary realization, No. 2: My diet Coke habit was costing me more than $1,000/year — or close to $10,000 during my years at the Times.

What was I thinking?!?!



Are you starting over after a layoff? We want to hear your story! Please email us at events@localshops1.com, and include your story and contact info. We will try to include as many stories as possible in future blogs.

Ester Venouziou, founder of LocalShops1.com and co-founder of Gulfport! Magazine, is available for freelance projects: writing, editing, design or social media. She can be reached at ester@localshops1.com or 727.637.5586.

Tags:  diet coke  florida  mayo clinic study  st. petersburg times layoffs  stop drinking soda  tampa bay  times magazine  too much soda 

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