Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Can you be health conscious and a diet soda drinker?

The other day I posted a pic to Instagram showcasing some of my favorite things.  My favorite time of day, my favorite seat in the house, my favorite snack (apples and cinnamon) and my favorite non-alcoholic beverage.

I had a comment from someone saying "As healthy as you are, I am surprised that you drink diet soda." WHICH, brings up a couple really good points that I wanted to address.

One of which is the first part of the statement "as healthy as you are" and I think that part of the comment really surprises me to hear because I don't really think of myself of THAT healthy as a person.  I love candy and sweets.  I cannot seem to keep myself away from beer and wine.  And although I run quite a bit, I can be pretty stinking lazy and pretty much never take the stairs if an elevator is available.

I always question what I am sharing with the world and whether or not it is a real portrayal of me because I don't always showcase my vices -- and lord knows, I have a lot.

As for the second part of the comment, "I am surprised that you drink diet soda."  Which, I think made me react a bit because yeah, I wish I didn't drink diet soda.  And to first address diet soda vs. full calorie soda?  I will just say that I don't think I have ever drank a full calorie non-diet soda in my life.  That was never in my home growing up, and as my mom will back up, I blame every bad habit of mine on her (hi mom, love you!) -- my mom was a diet soda drinker, and that's what I always have been as well.  I now do not life the taste of full calorie soda but also just try to avoid "drinking" my calories.  I would prefer to eat extra calories then drink them (beer and wine and milkshakes aside.)  I'm not an OJ or sweet tea or full calorie soda kind of person.

However on the thought of diet soda vs. literally any beverage in the world... yeah, I get the point, and I do fully acknowledge that every single tiny little thing that is in a diet soda, is absolutely nothing that my body needs to survive and function and thrive.

I read the book last year "Happiness Diet" (which, maybe I should pull out again for a reread) that made me really, really reform my eating and after that started to have a mentality of "Is what I am eating GOOD for me?" rather than "How many calories and Weight Watchers points does it consist of?"

When I was losing weight a few years ago and doing Weight Watchers regularly, I ONLY thought about "How many Weight Watchers points is this?" before putting something in my mouth.  I drank diet soda every day, and I mean, I drank SO MUCH diet soda, fat free pudding, artificial sweeteners up the wazoo, etc.  If something was labeled "low fat" or "fat free" or anything along those lines, I was all for it.  I didn't think about what was in those foods and I wasn't really exercising at that time, so I didn't have a "total health" mindset.  It was all about dropping the pounds.  I can think of multiple times when I was craving sweets at the end of the night and went out and bought a 2-liter caffeine free diet soda and would drink the majority of it, just to fill myself up and give myself something sweet for 0 Weight Watchers points.

However, as my mindset, fitness, and health consciousness has evolved over the years, so has how I thought about food.  The book the Happiness Diet that I read last year affected that a lot.  Running, and wanting to fuel my body for my runs, has affected that a lot as well.

When I read the Happiness Diet, I remember I was on a place heading to Dallas and I was mid training for the Nashville Rock N Roll Half Marathon, and when I learned about what diet soda does to you, it totally blew my mind.  I vowed to not drink diet soda until after the half marathon and cut it completely.  I kept that promise to myself and avoided diet soda for a long time.  I'm not sure when exactly I had a soda again, but I did at some point after the race.

Since I read that book and started thinking about my "whole body health," what I put into my body and how I treat it, I have never gone back to drinking diet soda the way that I used to.  There are other changes that have stuck with me as well.  I avoid processed foods so much more than I did before trying to become healthier all around (rather than just losing weight.)  I try to eat real foods rather than packaged foods.  Lean Cuisines are no longer a staple in my diet and very rarely eat frozen meals all together (I keep one or two on hand for emergencies, and try to pack them with veggies when I do have them.)  I no longer put artificial sweetener in my coffee.  I don't shy away from "full fat" foods.  I drink milk even though it has calories in it.  I do try to avoid diet soda as much as possible but there are times when I do have it and when I do, there are some "rules" that I have for myself around drinking diet soda. For example:

  • I never, ever drink diet soda if I need to run later in the day.  This is something that I stick to solidly.  Never ever.
  • Diet soda as a treat, not a daily thing.  Although it isn't the best option, I let myself have diet soda if the alternative is having something that is "worse" like candy and cookies, or in the case of the other night, beer.
  • I never drink diet soda when outside of the U.S. (I don't know why this is a rule, but it is)
  • And finally, everything in moderation

  • I will totally admit, lately, as I have been struggling to eat right, been traveling and overtired all the time, I have been feeling a little out of control, as I have written numerous times.  And because of that, I have been drinking diet soda more than usual.  And probably the most disgusting and bad for you form of diet soda as well -- I've been drinking a lot of Diet Mountain Dew.  So weird, I know.

    I know that diet soda perpetuates sweetness cravings.  And you know what, my tendencies to towards to diet soda lately might be fueling my "out of control" feelings I've had lately.  I do know it is a vice, but sometimes I think of it as the lesser of two evils when it comes to something that has additional calories vs. diet soda.  

    So yeah, I do pay attention to my health and yeah, I do drink diet soda.  However, being called out on Instagram has made me think about the fact that diet soda has become too much of a "norm" in my diet lately so thank you for helping keep me honest and aware!!  THIS IS WHY I LOVE YOU GUYS!

    I also love you guys for all the positivity you send my way.  These past few weeks have been a struggle and the next few weeks will continue to be a struggle because I have going away parties, happy hours, lunch dates, dinner dates, and an apartment of food and wine to consume before moving.  I don't want to miss out on any of these things and I don't want to hold back from life so I am letting myself live.  However, I know it will have an affect on my running, my weight, my appearance, etc. and I am trying to figure out the right balance.

    I don't know what will happen with my goals to run faster and my goals to beat my past PRs.  However, I just need to keep remembering that this is a "forever" journey and not one that ends after a few months or a few years.  If I miss a PR this fall, I will try for it again.  If I am not at my "fighting weight" when I move to Atlanta, I will keep working at it once I get there.

    Day by day my friends.  That's all we can do.

    1 comment:

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