Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Diet Coke

I quit drinking Diet Coke on 1/1/14.

Today it is 10/1/14, and I haven't had a drop in between.

I've had sugary sodas (who knew - I actually like sugary Pepsi more than sugary Coke!), and I've developed an affinity for iced tea. But I've avoided all diet drinks.

In a full 9 months, here are the changes I have noticed:

- I have gained weight (just a few pounds, less than 10)
- I get mild toothaches occasionally
- Based on lab results from doctor's visits, my glucose levels indicate I am now "pre-diabetic"

That's it. I thought it would have some sort of effect on my headaches in the long term, but it hasn't.

I still think about my old friend Diet Coke nearly every day. I stand in front of the vending machine at work. I know I should get a fizzy water. What I want is Diet Coke. I usually end up with a Snapple Raspberry Iced Tea.

After giving up booze in 2013, I noticed that I didn't miss it much except for certain situations. Ball games. Parties. And the main reason I quit - heartburn - was actually resolved by not drinking. I only got heartburn after gorging myself on Mexican food. I started drinking again in 2014, though in much smaller quantities.

I've started seeing a doctor about my weight. When I told her that I stopped drinking Diet Coke (and pretty much all artificial sweeteners in the process), she seemed surprised. And I'm well aware that I replaced it with something worse (sugar). But I do choose actual sugar (as opposed to high fructose corn syrup) when I have the option. And sometimes I do take the fizzy water. Or unsweetened iced tea. But the doctor seemed to imply that while sugar is a natural ingredient, in the case of sodas, a person like me might be better off with the chemicals.

I started seeing a dietitian, as well, in conjunction with the weight loss doctor. She's very nice. She was also baffled by my choice to replace a zero-calorie beverage with something high caloric. I explained what I did with alcohol last year. I told her that I want to finish out the year this year, for the sake of my goals. I don't want to back down. She understood this. She asked if I would start drinking Diet Coke again in January.

After hearing the reactions from two medical professionals (an MD and a licensed dietitian), I have decided to take up Diet Coke again in the New Year much in the same way I took up alcohol again this year. I'll consume it sparingly. Hopefully a year without it will have taught me to savor it when I get to have it. I don't want to deprive myself entirely, because I'm always going to want something sweet to drink - I've been drinking sweet things for far too long to change that habit now. I will still avoid buying cases of it to keep in my house - I haven't done that in a long time because then I won't drink any water at all. I learned that lesson. But I'll also try not to drink it every day at work. Hopefully I've come far enough that I can live without it most days.

I know a lot of you are going to be disappointed to hear this. The stuff is basically poison. I know that. But at the same time, while an addict, I never really consumed the vast quantities that really seemed dangerous in the long run. I would have a can at work (two on a bad day), then a couple 20-oz bottles on the weekend. If I went out to eat, I would order a Diet Coke. And that's it. It's not that bad.

Man. All this talk about Diet Coke is making my mouth water. 3 more months to go...