CANKLES TO ANKLES - Soda Addict
I am not a health expert and am not giving advice, I am simply relaying my journey because it is good for my psyche to write it down and I know other people struggle and it sometimes helps to know you are not alone in your struggle.
So my first gooey idea ball was that, before I could start WW, I needed to give up the largest part of my daily calorie intake. Soda.
I love soda like Kanye loves Kanye.
A large McDonald's Coca-Cola as cold as my heart and as large as the list of people I want to punch in the face is the best coke on the whole damn planet - and it's like heroin to a pop addict.
Now, let's be clear, I did not give up caffeine. Caffeine is something that I need because the medication I take daily says "MAY CAUSE DROWSINESS" in bold letters on the bottle. And it really really does. And without caffeine I would I would be like the noble sloth or the snazzy koala - snoozing life away 18 hours at a time; not a functional human (and even with caffeine, I still walk a fine line most days).
But I had to replace the caffeine found in my "high fructose" buddies with some other source. And I did not want to drink diet pop (at least not a ton of it) because; well, it's gross. AND really, it's like drinking gasoline chemical-wise, so I needed to keep that stuff to a minimum.
Now, I am in no way comparing pop to heroin, because there really is no comparison. But addiction is an addiction. I thought I was just addicted to the caffeine and if I just switched to other caffeinated substances, i'd be all good. But I found that it was not the case.
I had a really hard time despite finding alternative and equal sources of caffeine. I don't know precisely what the addiction was, the high fructose corn syrup, the ritual of cracking open the can or going through the drive through, the burn of the carbonation, or a combination of a bunch of things, but it was REALLY hard to give it up. It was hard to not go get one. It took incredible self control.
Before I even started this journey, I had read an article written by Russell Brand regarding addiction. He said,
"Don't pick up a drink or drug, one day at a time. It sounds so simple. It actually is simple but it isn't easy: it requires incredible support and fastidious structuring."
This is exactly what I did. One day at a time. If I made it through the day without a cup or can of soda, I called it a win. It took a month for me to quit salivating every time I went to or dove past a McDonald's or almost turning into a gas station to pick up a bottle of cherry coke. But I did it.
People told me that "once you give up pop for a while, when you drink it again it will be too sweet and you won't like it." I call bullshit. After 6 months of soda sobriety, I was heading to a social function and was going to violate all of my diet protocols anyway, so I picked up a coke. And it was the single greatest tasting liquid that had ever touched my tongue. It's true what they say, once an addict, always an addict.
I kicked the habit of soda and have it under control now for the most part, but again, it is always there, tickling my brain, that I could really use one.
So, what did I replace soda with? Well, I started by drinking unsweetened iced tea. I know. Gross.
And it is, at first. But I got used to it. One of my students asked me "what does that even taste like? Is it even good?" and my reply was, "It tastes like someone put out their cigar in a cup of water and just left it sit there...in the sun...for two weeks, then added ice." But it gives me the caffeine I need and I can get over the flavor.
I also found that if I took cold coffee (I buy the Starbucks brand in the fridge section), added ice and one of my Quest salted caramel protein shakes, that it was almost, but not quite, entirely unlike a caramel macchiato from Starbucks. And it was only 5 WW points. And I could live with that.
Sometimes, if I am near one, I will order three shots of espresso over ice in a large cup at Starbucks. Then I will add one of my shakes to that. That is enough caffeine for like six fully grown men...and it's awesome.
And water, I started drinking a lot of water. Sometimes flavored water. Sometimes sparkling water. But mostly just water. Blah.
And I am not going to go all "You should drink at least 8 glasses of water a day because...health and stuff!" You drink when you're thirsty and unless you have some sort of electrolyte imbalance, you probably drink enough water. But I had been existing on mostly diuretics and my body was like a dried out husk so I needed to drink more water.
Now, I will wrap this up with a pee pee story, because bodily functions are always fun.
So, two weeks after I gave up soda, there was a night that I call "Niagra Falls." I was up peeing every half-hour. And peeing like, large amounts - not normal amounts of urine. Now, it should be noted that I had not been binge drinking water or anything. And even if I had, that water would probably have come out like within the first two hours. But this went on ALL NIGHT.
Around 2 AM on Sunday, I just started hanging out in the bathroom sending my mother anxiety ridden texts like... "I think I have diabetes" and "Can you die from peeing too much, because I think I might be dying" and "I CAN'T STOP PEEEEEEING!"
My mom told me that it was all the water my body had been holding on to from the amount of pop (and sodium) that I was taking in. She said it had happened to her when she gave up pop years ago.
It only happened the one night and never happened again. I kind of wish I had weighed myself before and after just to see the difference. But at that time, I was not watching my weight, I was preparing to watch my weight.
Ending on a pee pee story. So classy.