Nearly caved to my addiction yesterday

I am far from perfect. My diet is far from perfect. I do like to think it is better than most when I am “on”, however. But I haven’t been “on” for a while now if you include diet soda as “off”. Which most do.

I had kicked my diet soda addiction for a while prior to leading up to the cruise my family and I went on in October, then I had a sip of the nasty/tasty devil. Hooked. When I say hooked I mean over-indulging. My addiction to soda borders on embarrassing. Ah, who am I kidding? It IS embarrassing.

When I am hooked on soda I might drive out of my way to get a soda. Let me take a step back – I am cheap, too. I would drive out of my way to go to a gas station where I know I can get a soda for 79 cents versus going to a station on my way home where the soda is over a buck.

There were times recently when I went out to eat just for the soda. I refused to buy it and keep it in the house, but there were times I went out to eat at a place like Chipotle just for the soda. I didn’t really need or crave the food, but the soda….I NEEDED that. This last weekend we went to Whichwich and I had a salad. I could easily make a salad at home, but I didn’t have soda at home – and I had a refillable glass! Double score!

I can eat clean really easily. I can get off of processed grains, sugar, gluten and soy pretty easily. I can cut my alcohol intake down to once a week in the form of two or three beers really easily. I have all of that under control, but cutting out soda, that’s rough.

So on Monday I went cold turkey. No more soda, beer or sugar. I threw in beer and sugar after the holiday as I had too much over the two weeks leading into the New Year. No more of any of those things until my birthday which is at the end of this month. Well, no more sugar or beer until my birthday and no more soda ever. I can’t drink the stuff. I get addicted entirely too easily.

Monday went well with no cravings. I was very surprised.

Tuesday was a bit more difficult and came with a headache all day. It was odd, the first craving I felt was when I was drinking my protein shake after my morning workout. It triggered my brain. When I drive to work from the gym I often get a soda to sip on the drive. That shake triggered my brain into wanting soda.

Then Wednesday rolled around and my brain started arguing with itself. I started to rationalize diet soda in two ways: 1. it is zero calories and 2. if I eat perfect except soda, it could be worse.

I know it isn’t entirely about weight. I know that while I weigh essentially the same today as I did at this time last year my body is still changing in other ways – I look more muscular and some of the hard to lose fat around my midsection is slowly disappearing. But, that scale calls me almost as much as the soda. And if I am eating near perfectly, why not just make it perfect? Why let soda control me in so many ways?

I even went so far as to Google “diet soda Paleo” to hopefully find some “expert” tell me it is OK to drink the stuff. It led me quickly to a few strings where people had asked the same question: if I eat 100% Paleo and drink diet soda, is that so bad? The answers in return were all essentially the same – yes it is and you can beat your addiction. I went from seriously considering, even planning, on having a diet soda with dinner yesterday to deciding to keep at it and kick this addiction in the teeth.

If you think “food” manufacturers aren’t producing their food with the intent of turning you into an addict that needs more and more of said “food”, try to stop eating crackers, bread or drinking diet soda. It isn’t easy. If you weren’t addicted it would be easy.

Here I am on day 4 and ready to continue on without soda. My Nalgene bottle has water in it with two slices of lime and two slices of lemon to give the water some flavor and I brew an iced tea every morning (no sweeteners and tea with no additives or soy) to give me something different to drink, too. I can now stomach Kombucha and that is another solid option to soda.

I feel like I have written something very similar to this blog before…

My thoughts on New Year’s quick fixes to losing weight

With the New Year upon us I want to get somethings off of my chest.

1. Don’t take a shortcut or a 30 day “challenge” in an attempt to lose weight

For those that don’t know I lost somewhere around 100 pounds and have now kept it off for about two years. I will throw one caveat in here, if you need to lose 10 pounds then maybe the 24 Day Advocare type challenge might be just what you need, but if you need to lose a significant amount of weight, don’t start that way.

How long did it take you to put on 100 pounds? 50 pounds? or more? Years, right? So why do you think you can take it off in a month or month(s)? There are no quick fixes, shortcuts or easy answers. The only answer that will get you to lose weight AND KEEP IT OFF is hard work. You need to spend time in the gym (or outside) and you need to SPEND MORE TIME in the kitchen re-learning how to eat. I live and die with a Paleo lifestyle, but no matter how you choose to eat you need to re-learn how you eat. No more junk. If you choose to eat processed “grains” like bread and pasta try to supplement with non-processed food. Eat food without labels, because if a food needs a label it isn’t food.

You can try all you want to run off the pounds (literally pounding the pavement daily), but without fixing what you put onto your fork you will NOT make progress. Continue reading