I’ve been addicted to soda most of my life. There were times when I could seriously drink six cans of soda a day…A DAY. I cut back during my pregnancies and have tried to quit drinking it all together many times. Three and a half weeks ago, I quit again. I also started exercising every single day and have held myself accountable for everything that has gone into my mouth. I’m down six pounds and have lost two inches from my thighs. Those numbers aren’t as important as how I feel.
The only headaches I’ve had are from seasonal allergies and typical monthly hormone changes. No migraines for the person who usually has at least one a week. No more bleeding, sore gums. No more feeling deprived of energy. And a lot less anxiety and feeling totally down and out. What’s filled in all these bad, horrible feelings? Energy, laughter, happiness. The easing of sore muscles as my body gets stronger. A feeling of accomplishment and pride in what I’m doing. A sense that I can become the person I want to see in the mirror. Knowing that I’m doing my best to stay healthy for me, not anyone else.
Sure, I’m still allowing myself small ‘treats’ here and there. And if I over do it, I feel like death afterwards and really don’t want to do that again. I tried a sip of soda because I had a lot of calories left the other day and yuck. It doesn’t even taste good to me anymore. At all. What used to be sugary sweet now taste bitter and heavy. That’s never happened before for me in all the times I’ve ‘quit’.
I’ve often said that I feel like soda and all the sugary snacks we’re bombarded with are just as bad as cigarettes and alcohol. They’re all addicting. If you don’t believe they are, try quitting for a week and see what kind of physical reactions you get – headaches, shakes, irritability, nausea, upset stomach… Does that sound like withdrawal to you? The good news is that it goes away and you start to feel better.
I don’t allow my children to have soda except on a very rare occasion. Even then I don’t normally give in easily. They do get sugary and salty treats more often than I’d like and it’s something I’m going to gradually cut out. I don’t blame anyone for all my bad eating habits, but I certainly don’t want to pass them along. Since eating healthier over the last three weeks I feel like a different person. I don’t look any different – yet – but I feel amazing. I don’t want my children to ever feel like food controls their lives and so I do my best to instill good habits in them.
For as long as I can remember I’ve had a tumultuous relationship with food. I’ve bounced from hardly eating, eating healthy, eating poorly, and a whole gamut of everything between since I was a child. I remember someone telling me I was too fat when I was ten or eleven and then proceeding to only eat half of what I normally would for several weeks. I lost a lot of weight and people noticed. I continued to skip meals or hardly eat, then binge like crazy, for the next several years. I’ve been lucky that no long-term signs of damage have shown up from my bad food relationships. My habits improved greatly before my pregnancy with my oldest son. And while I’ve had hiccups, I finally feel like I’m in control.
I’m not perfect, I’m certainly no health or fitness expert. But, I’m learning and I’m improving. I’m enjoying exercise, I’m noticing which foods make me feel good and which ones makes me feel awful. I don’t have room for awful in my life anymore. I’ve never really been a smoker or a drinker, sugar was my main vice and it’s something I don’t need anymore.
Health wise I want to make sure my children have a good blueprint. It isn’t about fat or skinny, it’s about healthy. It’s about always being able to stay active and feel good about yourself. You can lie to yourself and say that sugar (or artificial sugar) filled drinks and foods make you feel good, but they don’t. If you have no energy or you need a drink to give you energy, that’s not healthy and that’s not feeling good. You can say a diet or exercise is too hard, but you’re selling yourself short. No one climbs a mountain in a day. You’ll never even make it to the bottom if you don’t get up and try.
If you’re unable to chase your children or join in on their active play, that’s not healthy. Unless you have a medical condition that prevents physical activity, you need to be active with your children showing them everything this world offers up.
The number on the scale isn’t the goal. The goal is my long-term health, and their long-term well-being. I don’t want something so simple as food to ever hold them back. As their mother, I owe them that and I’m trying my best to give it to them.