Living in upstate New York, surrounded by weekenders who come up from New York City, I hear about Mayor Bloomberg’s strategies against obesity. Last year, Bloomberg banned the sale of sugary beverages over sixteen ounces. However, March 11, 2013, Justice Milton Tingling of state Supreme Court in Manhattan overturned the ban, saying it was “arbitrary and capricious.” The Big Gulps are back.
For whatever reason, I never developed a taste for soda. I rarely drink it. The only drink I carried around in bulk was water. When we worked on the farm, we’d fill a gallon jug with water the night before and put it in the freezer. In the morning, we took the jug of ice to the farm with us and drank the water as it melted. Because we lived in a region where it got to be over one hundred degrees during the summer days, we’d stuffed the jug in a 5 gallon bucket and surround it with old newspaper for insulation. I must sound like a red-neck. But, I knew sugary drinks would not satisfy my thirst. Those jugs of water were prized tools, invaluable on the farm.
This blog, however, isn’t a push for water, or soda. We can look past the drink, past the size of cups, and past the court rulings. This whole soda drama doesn’t have to be a contentious issue. Soda is a luxury. It’s a treat, not a necessity. We want to treat it as such, and moreover remember there is always a consequence to over-indulgence of any kind.
Obesity is a problem in America. How the problem is resolved is more complex than banning soda. We shouldn’t be excessive when it comes to drinking soda, not because of the soda but because the consequence of excessive behavior is always a short-lived diversion, leaving a feeling of dissatisfaction.
The size of our drink or the kind of drink isn’t the issue. I ask, What’s the attitude when drinking? Is it to prove you can drink enough liquid to fill an aquarium or a radiator? Or, it is to satisfy an honest thirst? Is the drinking a habit, similar to blinking? Or, is it a form of self-control?
As the “purpose” of our drinking is answered, the solution can be improved upon. Satisfaction and self-control aren’t found in a court ruling, but within each of us.
From 21st Century Science and Health, “The act of allowing our thoughts to excessively contemplate physical wants or conditions induces those very conditions…Learn respect, self-control, patience, and a reliable happiness that comes from spiritual growth.”
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”
 Gal. 5:19–23