Spent the day in downtown L.A. fulfilling my civic duty. Jury duty called and I was promptly selected–aargh!

While having lunch in the local food court, I couldn’t help but notice a very interesting observation: about 90% of the people in my view were drinking soda. I am certain that I saw a couple hundred people, so that’s a heck of a lot of soft drinks. I counted a few water bottles, but mostly I saw people drinking out of waxy soda cups, the kind you typically find at fast food restaurants. True, it might have been water, but since I know the national soda consumption numbers, which are astronomical, I’m sure these people were drinking what most Americans choose–good ol’ fashioned candy pop.

I couldn’t help but think about the weight loss industry too; about how it’s booming, and about how promising its future looks. How many people in this country are trying to lose weight right now? How many of you reading this are?

Well I’ve got a real buzzkill for you: You are never going to lose weight if you don’t give up your sodas. I know, I know–eff you, Campos!–because people feel strongly about their soft drinks. Never have I received so much resistance when suggesting a habit kick than when suggesting people stop drinking soft drinks–not from smokers, not from heavy drinkers, not from heavy sushi eaters. Nope, soda drinkers beat them all. They come up with all kinds of reasons why everything but soda is bad for them. Soda is not that big of a deal. Yeah, right.

I used to drink soda, I get it. You can pound these things all day long. Some people nail six or more in 24 hours! That’s pure, unadulterated liquid sugar. No nutrients, no vitamins–pure calories, pure sludge. I’m telling you, you can watch every other thing you eat. You can work out seven days a week. You can get liposuction and a stomach staple. But if you keep drinking sugar, you’ll never lose weight. I’ve been there, done that. Believe me soda is the first thing you must kick if you’re ever going to drop pounds. Next is booze, but that’s another story (don’t worry, I’ll get to it one day).

Here is the scary thing: Most people I observed at the food court seemed to be employees of the legal court. I know because I followed a bunch of attorneys down there; figured they’d know the best place to grub. They did. But no way I could eat that way every day. However, as I clearly saw, many people in downtown L.A. do. I didn’t see many other places to eat in the area. Funny, but my pompous L.A. arse always assumes that we know better in this town, but clearly we don’t. I can’t even imagine what it’s like in other less health-conscious cities like Houston, Oklahoma City or Vegas.

So here’s the skinny: If you wish to lose weight, drop the sodas, man; it’s the only way. But if you love your sodas so much that you can’t kick the habit, then don’t be so hard on yourself–enjoy your coke and your smile, and just be content with the extra 20 pounds.

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