I was drinking two liters of soda per day before my fast started. Without even trying, I was drinking two liters. A can here. A bottle there. Another can. Not until my neighbors installed a special recycling receptacle for me to deposit my empties did I realize how much soda I was actually drinking. I’d fill it up after a few days. I was shocked. My first act of denial was making sure each can was properly crushed and each bottle was properly deflated and crinkled so there was more room in the recycling station. This had virtually zero effect on my intake.

I went online to put my information into a calculator that was supposed to tell you how much weight you might lose if you gave up certain foods. It asked you to enter your weight (I was about 225 at the start of the fast, 6 feet tall with a muscular build) and then asked how many portions of soda I was drinking per week. It refused to calculte saying the value was too high. Lowering it to half of what I drank per day, I found out that in one year I would lose 172.26 lbs for a new weight of just 77.2 lbs. Only by giving up drinking soda. When I was just finished growing, 19 years old, back when it’s almost impossible to be fat no matter what you eat, I was about 165 lbs.

I had been drinking this amount of soda as long as I could remember. When something went wrong in my day, when I was stressed, my mom would say why don’t you sit down and have a Coke. It was the one luxury she could afford to give us so why not? It’s only been about a week but I imagine I’ve lost quite a bit of weight on this water fast, now that I’m not only not taking in the sugar from the Coke but am eating only air, which admittedly here probably has some calories in it. (Some of the food here, the smells will make you insane if you can’t have it. The food here in Oaxaca is really out of this world delicious.)

When I was a junkie I remember eating almost nothing but gummi candy, soda and chocolate milk. Heroin either tends to turns you into a thin Layne Staley type or a chubby Chrlie Parker ectomorph. Poverty does the same–either you’re eating high sugary shit or you’re hardly eating at all and get thin. Here in Mexico the Coke is so delicious with its real sugar that idiot hipsters pay up to $6 for a bottle of the stuff north of the border. I can’t imagine seeing a Coke on sale here for 100 pesos for a bottle. I eat all day normally for less than that. Most days I have about $2 set aside to eat and drink all day.