Tuesday, March 06, 2012
This is a tough one, isn't it? Learning to make your main beverage (or your only beverage) water. Seems we all get hooked on diet soda at some point. I'm even going to venture a guess that a majority of the people I know struggling to lose weight are diet-soda-aholics. And since there is no 12-step program for this addiction, I thought it might be handy to share how I managed to kick my own heavy diet soda habit.
I think most of us begin drinking diet soda because it has a sweet taste and no calories. We like sweet. And we figure without calories it can't derail our weight loss efforts. No harm in a diet soda once a day, is there? Then we start drinking two. At home. And then make it our regular beverage when we drink out. And then we have it "only after noon" EVERY SINGLE DAY! And next thing you know, breakfast is over and your seeking out that sweet fizzy taste fix that only a diet soda would give you.
Of course, you wouldn't dream of drinking a regular soda with sugar in it because that.... THAT would make you fat. But this diet stuff? "Hey", you reason "It's got water in it and my body needs water. And it's not giving me any calories, and my body certainly doesn't need any of THOSE! And lookie here- It doesn't have sodium, or caffeine, either! I'm doing something good for my body by making this diet soda choice!". Yeppers- I've been there too, and said all of these things to myself, and more. (My favorite line I told myself when ordering a bacon cheeseburger and fries with a diet soda was "If they made a diet burger and fries, I'd order those, too." I was the champion of excuses!)
Then a little lightbulb went off; "If there is no sugar, little sodium, and often no caffeine in diet soda, what IS in there? There has to be something, or else it would be.... well...... water." And the answer to that question? In a word- Chemicals. What good were chemicals going to do me? Because here I was, being careful with my diet (I was drinking diet soda even after I'd made significant progress in my weight loss), and still bathing my insides with chemicals via diet soda. Not exactly the healthiest thing I could do for a body I was trying to make healthier by every other means.
Sadly, it was time to start the very painful process of breaking up with Mr. Fizzy.
The first thing I did was move from diet soda to those fizzy flavored waters they sell. (The peach was my favorite!) This went on for probably a year or more. Then I started reading that carbonation (which makes the fizz) can cause calcium to leach from the bones, which in turn causes the bones to be weaker and more prone to breakage as I age.
Since being 80 and incapacitated with a broken hip didn't sound appealing to me, I ditched the carbonation and went with the flavored waters, no fizz. These stood in for a while. But then I started taking a look at the artificial sweeteners and some of the purported side effects from them (my aunt, who has Parkinsons disease, often wonders if her copious drinking of diet sodas didn't help her condition along), and figured it wasn't worth the risk to have those coursing through my body all the time,either.
So then I started drinking iced tea with artificial sweetener in it, but watered it down. A lot.
Eventually I managed to get it so watered down that the tea wasn't really tea anymore- it was just dirty water. At that point I let go entirely and went to strait water.
This doesn't mean I don't ever have a diet soda anymore, because I do. On occasion I'll have one as a treat, usually when I go to the movies with my family, who are all munching on candy. It gives my mouth something do to, and I don't feel completely left out. (Please don't ask me how I can feel left out when we are all starting strait ahead at a screen in the dark- This concept alludes me to this day. But the fact is that it happens.)
And when I go to restaurants I will often get a glass of unsweetened tea and sweeten it with Stevia packets I carry in a baggie in my purse. Stevia is the ground leaf of the Stevia plant, which is sweet. Much preferable to saccharine, sucralose, or any other artificial sweeteners, since Stevia is ground directly from a plant. Depending on the brand you buy (I use Stevia In The Raw), it can taste a tad bitter, but I can't stand unsweetened tea, so Stevia it is. And yes, I have turned into a baggie-carrying, chemicaly-paranoid fanatic.
Paying homage to my "if they made diet burgers" excuse (above), I'm using the "If I could hand them organic chicken to make my salad I would" excuse for the sweetener.
Anyhow, that's my story of how I kicked diet soda and my reasons why. Maybe you are inspired. Maybe you are (I hope) thinking of artificial chemicals in a different way. And maybe you are rolling your eyes. But regardless, I hope you tell me what you think!
Sunday, February 26, 2012
I'd love to know what you think!
Sunday, February 19, 2012
A few things I forgot to mention:
- Beef Jerky. As long as sodium is not an issue for you and you ensure it is very low fat this can be a great source of protein that stays good for a long time.
- Cut-up veggies. Either cut them yourself and put in the sandwich bags, or get the single-serving size in the produce section of the store. I LOVE the sugar snap peas!
- Holy Guacomole individual servings, also sold in the produce section. This makes a great dip for the veggies and gives you healthy fats.
- And my "Car kit"- A trio of foods that hold up well without refrigeration for a long time. I try to keep this in my vehicle all the time. It includes:
* Ready-made protein drink
* A protein bar
* Beef jerky.
Please let me know what you think!
Saturday, January 28, 2012
There came a point about 3 years ago in my weight loss and fitness journey that I knew if I was going to progress any farther I would have to spend more time in the gym and cooking healthy foods. And in order to do that, I was going to have to give something up. After conducting a rather painful lifestyle self-examination, I realized what needed to go: Sewing.
I am a very good seamstress, if I do say so myself. I have been sewing for about 30 years now. Since I am a perfectionist, I wasn't happy turning out anything that didn't look positively beautiful. And perfection takes time. A LOT of time! I figured as long as I was putting the effort in, it might as well be right. And it was. Here are photos of just a few of my beloved projects (these were done before I lost my weight):
But I had to get honest with myself and reevaluate my priorities. After some internal examination I decided the proper place to focus my energies and time was now on getting healthier for not only myself, but for my family. Additionally, I wasn't able to spend the time helping others like I wanted because my butt was stuck in a chair in front of a sewing machine manipulating fabric. So I finished up the last of my important projects and put sewing on the back burner. That was a couple of years ago, and I haven't regretted the decision since, although sometimes I do get a little melancholy about it.
This doesn't mean I don't ever sew, because in a pinch I do. And I am grateful for my sewing skills. For instance, I made a lovely fully lined wool trench coat for my daughter this winter- She is tall and willowy, and at almost 6 feet tall and 125 lbs nothing was fitting her. (This is not an exaggeration- literally NOTHING fit her even close to properly with those very long limbs.) Marching practices for the high school band would have been miserable without a warm and properly-fitting winter coat. I literally don't know what she'd of done if I couldn't sew. Here are a few of pictures of the project:
But other than the rare project, my sewing maching sits neglected in it's cabinet.
Another thing I have just recently given up is baking. This was an even harder one to abandon than sewing. Baking gives instant gratification and makes my family very happy! This in turn makes me happy! But I eat what I bake, and the stuff sitting around, even if I do avoid it, gets me thinking in a direction that is not good for my health. (I'm sorry, but my experience has been that even with healthier ingredients, it's very difficult to make baked goods that are truly good for you and taste good, too.) So, like sewing, unless it's for a rare occasion, baking is pretty much out of my life.
When people say that living healthy is a lifestyle, they aren't kidding! I'm not saying you have to abandon ALL of your time-consuming or bad-for-you habits right now. I see skinny people who sew and healthy people who bake. I just can't be one of them. At least not for the time being.
Habits are formed gradually and new practices towards healthier living are best added little by little, as you feel ready for the the changes. The truth is that if 5 years ago you'd of told me I'd of all but stopped both sewing AND (bigger shock!) baking, I'd of told you that you were talking to the wrong woman. If you knew me back then, you are nodding your head in agreement. :-)
The moral of my story? Don't be afraid to reevaluate and be honest with yourself about what needs to exit your life. I can pretty much guarantee that over time, as you progress into becoming fitter and healthier, your life will look a lot different than it does today. And that's Ok. Giving up things that slow your progress is not giving in- It's being mature and honest enough with yourself to say "This isn't in my best interest anymore". Your family may balk a bit (my 15-year old is still asking for brownies), but eventually they'll come to accept and appreciate that you made the hard choices in not only your best interest, but theirs as well.
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