In December of 2007 I gave up Diet Coke – not completely, I still have one occasionally, socially. But I gave it up as a daily drink.
I blogged about it in December, then on New Years Day, and then again later in January when I had finally kicked the habit. In other words, it was a big deal to me. Twenty years of loving it and drinking it daily and being addicted to it – not an easy thing to break free from!
I decided to give it up because I knew it was bad for me, and I knew it was an appetite stimulant, and I knew it was the next step I needed to take, if I wanted to get healthier, thinner, and more beautiful – but I never guessed such a simple act would have such a big impact. It’s not like I hadn’t given up Diet Coke before – I had – sometimes for months at a time – but I always went back. Maybe I never stuck with it long enough to really notice the changes that occurred when I wasn’t drinking it daily? You’d think that a couple of months would be enough time to notice some changes – but those changes never seemed like they were all that big – and the siren song of that cool silver can was so strong that I always gave in, eventually.
So what was different this time? I guess I just decided that even though the improvements might be slight, they were still improvements, so I was going to stick with it – for good. But surprisingly the changes this time were not quite as slight as I thought – and overall, they added up to something pretty impressive.
Yes, I knew that Diet Coke is an appetite stimulant, but I never went without it long enough to see what happened to my eating habits when that stimulant was removed. After a month or so I started to notice that I wanted less – the portions on my plate for each meal shrunk – without any conscious thought on my part.
And yes I knew that eating, or in this case drinking, one extreme food, causes your body to crave other extreme foods – in this case junk food. But I never left Diet Coke alone long enough to really feel the cravings for junky foods lessen, so it was a real surprise to me to find that I was eating less fast food and less junk food, without any concentrated effort on my part – but that’s exactly what happened.
And yes I knew that caffeine can interrupt your sleep patterns, and that lack of sleep is one of the leading causes of weight gain, but I really didn’t think it would have that big of an impact on my body. I mean, I slept fine – right? But once I gave up Diet Coke, my sleep patterns did change, and I did find I was sleeping longer.
So fewer bad chemicals were going into my body, my appetite was less overall, healthier food started to replace the junk, I was sleeping better and longer – those are major changes when you add them up – and they all stemmed from giving up Diet Coke. I did nothing else. Just gave up my daily Diet Coke.
By the end of last year, on my one-year anniversary of giving up Diet Coke, I had lost 25% of the weight I would like to lose – and with very little conscious effort on my part. It was as simple as give up Diet Coke and then watch my body change. Totally easy! I’ve now lost almost 33% of the weight I would like to lose – so I’m almost a third of the way to my ideal weight, and that feels great!
So why did it take me sooooo long to discover this? I’ve weighed more than I’ve wanted to for years, and I’ve felt like dieting was nearly impossible, and that I was lacking in will power. And the only real problem was a little drug I put in my body daily that messed up my whole system? A little drug called Diet Coke? That sounds impossible and improbable and there must be more to it – right? But there isn’t. The only real change I made was giving up Diet Coke, everything else stemmed from that one little decision and occurred naturally without much effort from me.
I also know that the rate of loss may slow down, and that’s fine – truly! I feel confident now that when it does start to slow, I will be able to look at my portion sizes and scale down a little. Adjust! That confidence comes from over a year of seeing progress – slow progress – but still progress, and rethinking how much is the right amount to eat. It sounds overly simple, and why couldn’t I do it before, if that’s all there is to it? But I have to say, the edge that Diet Coke gave me, as wonderful as it felt at the time, also make me want to overeat and clearly I wasn’t able to win that battle. It wasn’t a fierce battle – I never fought that hard. Diet Coke for me, caused a perception that I needed slightly more food that I really did – and even just a tiny bit extra over time can add up to lots of extra pounds. I’ve read about people who binge or who eat massive amounts of food – that was never me. I never ate to squash down my feelings either. I just let that Diet Coke edge cause me to consume slightly too many calories every single day, for years on end. So yeah, now that I’ve removed that edge, I do feel confident that my body is on it’s way to reverting back to it’s natural pre-Diet Coke state. And what is that state? I’m hoping naturally thin!
I really do believe that our bodies want to be healthy and balanced, and that if we treat our bodies right, and give them what they need they will balance out on their own naturally. It’s not natural to be overweight – it’s an imbalance – but for years I didn’t know why I was so imbalanced – and now I do.
At the rate I’m going it could take me years to get down to a naturally healthy weight – but that’s fine, I’m in no hurry. I have absolutely no desire to diet – in fact I plan to never diet again – and that feels so good to say! I do plan to continue to make adjustments in my eating habits – I expect my portion sizes to continue to evolve as my body gets thinner. But I don’t want to be the girl who won’t eat cake because she’s on a diet – I want to be the girl who is happy with a few bits of cake, and loves it, and never feels deprived. In other words I want to be normal, and thin, naturally.
And I will never cut out a food entirely – not even Diet Coke! There will always be a place for it in my life – in moderation – like maybe once a month? That seems to be working for me now – and I like the way things are going at this point!