I’ve not been blogging much lately as I’ve been recovering from The Crud. Fever, congestion, chills, all that fun stuff. I rarely get sick so when I do it hits me hard. The good part is that it usually doesn’t last very long, and I think I’m pretty much over it now. I’m extremely grateful to my parents who blessed me with good genetics and strong immunity. My mom didn’t always have the healthiest habits, but she did teach me to take my vitamins every day, read labels, and put something green on my plate. Her grocery routine always included a trip to the health food store. I’m sure my friends around the high school lunch table thought it was weird when they saw me biting into an apricot whole wheat “newton” cookie while they ate Ho-Hos, but I didn’t think there was anything weird about it. To each, their own. My issues have always been portion control and stress eating. I know what my body needs. I have no problem eating quinoa, spinach, sweet potatoes, flax seed, Greek yogurt, etc. I eat all of those things fairly regularly. But I also love my junk. And when I decide to get disciplined and cut out junk foods, I switch to junk beverages.
Coke Zero, I’m looking at you.
Over the years, I have gone through phases of soda/no soda. I do OK without it. I’m not going to lie – some days are definitely harder than others. Some days I chug water like it’s going out of style and am perfectly fine. Other days I feel like if I have to force down another tasteless sip of water, I’m going to spew.
I’ve been a diet Pepsi girl. Diet Pepsi Vanilla. Diet Pepsi with Lime. Pepsi One. Caffeine Free Diet Pepsi. And then finally, Coke Zero. But no matter how you package it and dress it up, the bottom line is it’s a coping device. My naughty little secret. And it’s something I need to control.
My reasoning is this: I can’t have ________, so I’m going to have this bottle of diet soda. I know it’s bad for me, but at least it doesn’t have any calories and it gives me pleasure. The ________ in that sentence may not always refer to food. It’s not cake or a cheeseburger or a bag of chips all the time. It might mean satisfaction in achieving a goal. A higher paying gig that will help me financially. A more rewarding relationship.
But I take the easy way out, accepting all too soon that my life isn’t perfect because it’s lacking ________, and I drink the diet soda. Poisoning & punishing myself with chemicals because I can’t get a grip on things I should be managing better in my life.
I know, sounds stupid, right? But that’s my reality. I own it and accept it. So, on New Year’s Day, I poured the last of a 2-liter bottle of Coke Zero into a tall glass, and nursed it as long as I could. And then, I was done. Haven’t had any more soda since then. As of today, that’s three whole weeks. We’ve been out to lunch a few times and I’ve ordered water while everyone else drank a soda. We had to stop at the store after church on Sunday and my husband grabbed a Coke Zero for me and a soda for himself. I told him to put it back, I didn’t want it. I reminded him I’d given it up and he put them both back. I told him to go ahead and get his own, I just didn’t want one. But just knowing that he had it, even though it was a nasty Cherry Coke which makes me gag, and knowing it was in the house, set off my cravings.
I drank a lot of water that day.
Yesterday, my kids were out of school and we went to Subway for lunch. They got sodas from the fountain and I got a bottle of lemonade VitaminWater Zero from the cooler. It was that or orange juice or apple juice, and after being sick, I didn’t want any more juice. It tasted OK, not my favorite, but OK. I read the label. It’s sweetened with some stevia extract and erythritol, or sugar alcohol, which isn’t fully absorbed by the body. I suddenly remembered why I had stopped drinking VitaminWater Zero a few years ago, especially the lemonade flavor. Something about that combination of ingredients always made me feel yucky. When I got home from lunch, my stomach was upset and soon I was in the bathroom, getting rid of it, along with the salad I’d just eaten. (I know, gross. Sorry.) But after that I was fine.
I drank more water throughout the day, and felt a lot better. I’ve been sticking with my gym routine, even adding the Gorilla Workout app, and doing Wii Step on days when I’m falling short of my 10,000 step count goal. I did take a day off when I was sick and needed to rest, but I’m right back on track now. Weight loss is slow and after being sick and reducing activity this past weekend, I bounced up a couple pounds. But I dropped a pound and a half from yesterday, and expect to be down again tomorrow. That will put me at the number where I’ve plateau’ed now for a few months. So … once I can break through that number, I’ll feel like I’m really making progress.
Now that I’m over The Crud, and feeling like I’m on my way to breaking that diet soda addiction, I’m confident that I’m on track to better health. It’s not always about the scale. That will come in good time. Now if I could just figure out the mystery of ________.