It’s NOT “just” a Diet Coke!
Earlier this week, I was out running a lot errands: dropping off clothes at the cleaners, picking up my mail from my post office box, swinging by Walgreens for some fabric stain remover prewash spray gunk, filling up the truck with gas. You know the drill, doing a whole bunch of the minutia of life.
I had just finished at Jenny Craig, where I weighed 283.6 lbs, a loss of 1.6 lbs from the week before!
Woo Hoo! Happy dance! Uh-huh! Uh-huh! Uh-huh! [doing that circle thing with hands out in front of me]
But I digress…
I had my week’s Jenny Craig food in my truck and was headed North on Central Drive. While I was basking in the good feelings from the weigh-in, I was mentally running down the list of what was next “to do.” Then…
[cue the foreboding music!]
There IT was!
Danger! Danger! Danger Will Robinson!
Coming up fast! da. dum. da. dum.
Just half a block ahead on the left was a… da. da. da. dum…
Oh no! Instantly old habits loomed, circling like vultures not willing to wait any longer, swooping into attack formation! I was like Pavlov’s dog and QT was a ringing the bell hard enough to be felt as an earth tremor in Oklahoma! (Don’tcha love it when I mix up social metaphorical references like that to create something that could only come out of my brain? Hmm?)
But I digress…
There, friends and neighbors, was the QT with its bright red sign and its well-organized aisles calling forth, begging me to come in and get a 32 oz Diet Coke! Oh no! The Horror! The shame! The thirst! The craving!
Somehow it knew I was lowering my caffeine intake and quitting Diet Cokes! I was about to stray from the path of righteousness!
For the record… prepare to applaud please …since my first day of vacation, on Dec 29th, I have not had a single solitary drop of diet coke! Or any other soda! GO TEAM TONY!!! He Scores! It’s the play of the century! The crowd goes wild!
In all seriousness, (yes I can be serious on occasion) I was using the change in my routine caused by my vacation to help me break the Diet Coke habit. And it has been working. I’ve been having my morning coffee and then switching to green tea sweetened with stevia for the rest of the day. And… occasionally even drinking. *GASP* Water! I know, I know! My body was kinda shocked at the whole “pure H2O” thing too!
Do you have any idea of the battle that went on in my head? OMG! Literally, in about five seconds and a quarter of a block I had this intense internal argument. It felt like the superpowers of the cold war were .0001 seconds from pushing those big red buttons and they were glaring across the north pole at one another!
[cue the music for the fantasy sequence]
Bad Tony (BT): Go for it. What is one measly little 32 oz Diet Coke? Nobody will know. You deserve it. You’ve been so good all week.
Good Tony (GT): Nope. Not gonna. I am on a journey to health and fitness and QT is not one of the pit stops.
BT: But you’re thirsty! See! You just licked your lips!
GT: Well, yes, you’re right. I am thirsty.
BT: with an evil cackle… So go on in.
GT: I’ll get a water.
BT: Water? Urk! No, no, no, you know you want it. You’re thirsty. Thirsty for a Diet Coke. Admit it.
GT: Well, yes, I am, but I’ll get a water. That is better for me.
BT: The Diet Coke would taste soooooooooooo much better. Think of the yummyness. The cold wetness bubbling with carbonation burning its way down your throat, the drops condensation on the cup caressing your hand. The sweet anticipation of the coming rush of energy as the caffeine hits your system. Oh it will feel soooo good!
GT: Uhmmm… well, maybe I’ll …
BT: Aha! Yessss!!
GT: …I’ll get an ice tea instead.
BT: Aaaaaaeeeeeeeiiiiiiiieeeee!!!!!! The pain! Make it stop! I can’t stand the goodness! gasp, pant, gasp. [looking desperate for a moment then an evil idea blossoms!]. in a sly sneaky tone….. Their tea is awful. You know that. You’ve tried it before. But you could get the Arizona Tea with Ginseng and Honey and …. mumble mumble mumble
GT: What was that? Arizona green tea? Good idea. Hmmm, on second thought, doesn’t that have Acesulfame Potassium as well as some other artificial sweeteners wasn’t there an article that said that Acesulfame Potassium needed further studies as to its long-term effects on the body?
BT: Aeeeeeeiiiiii Foiled! My evil plan had been thwarted!
GT: Then again, you do have a point, the QT tea isn’t that good… I think I will get the Diet Coke!
BT: Success!!!! Why don’t you get a donut too while you’re in there. You’re feeling hunger aren’t you? evil cackle
GT: gets out of the truck and goes into the store…. And reaches for the smallest size fountain cup, 22oz fills it three-quarters of the way to the top with ice…
BT: No! You traitor! You double crosser! You, you you….
GT: I told you I’m on a journey… fills it up the rest of the cup with diet coke, about 8-10 ounces, less than a 12 oz can would hold.
A compromise has been reached. The crisis avoided. Yay!
It was around 2pm and not only was I thirsty, I was hungry. I decided BEFORE pulling into the parking lot that I would get the smallest diet coke AND I would get two bananas as a snack until I got back home and could eat a late, and healthy, lunch. Before, I would have given in without a fight and gotten the 32oz Diet Coke and probably a couple of donuts as well.
In my head I really did have this high-speed debate with myself, considering the various possibilities, weighing the pros and cons of the choices. It was nothing quite so melodramatic as the one up above, but I did think about the options and then I chose a better one than I would have even a week ago.
I’m not trying to be perfect. What I’m trying to do is in small steps, move to a healthier me. I’m perfectly happy taking small steps as long as I keep moving forward on the journey. Three weeks ago I was drinking two, sometimes three, 32oz drinks per day, light on the ice. Now it is one 22oz cup, heavy ice, the first one in almost a full week. That is what I call a step in the right direction.
When I got into the store, I saw that they were out of bananas. (BTW, QT put the bananas right by the donut case, isn’t that awful of them!) So there I was standing in front of an empty banana bin and a case full of donuts. I didn’t even think of getting one of those donuts I went over to the energy bar section and got two Fat Free Fig Newton bars instead.
And here’s the best part:
After not having any in several days, the first sip of Diet Coke tasted weird. And it left an aftertaste on my tongue that I’d never noticed before. The point? My body has already started getting used to the “new healthier normal” so when I did indulge in an old “unhealthy” habit, my body could tell the difference.
So, let’s chalk this tale of woe up as a win!
See ya on the dance floor!