Just over a year ago, I did something incredibly drastic — and, no, I’m not talking about cleaning the garage, organizing the photos on my laptop or making my bed.
I quit Diet Coke. Cold turkey even.
If you knew how much DC I drank, you’d realize how drastic of a move that was. I’d refill Super Big Gulp-sized cups at the gas station two or three times a day. My fridge was often stocked with 12-ounce cans of that delicious nectar. I’d guzzle from the free soda fountain at work. I’d also go to McDonald’s on occasion just to imbibe on that fast-food joint’s incredibly tasty concoction.
It was a ridiculous habit.
It was a ridiculously good-tasting habit, too. But I digress.
I was convinced to give up my biggest vice this side of fried food, sugary snacks and Netflix binging by my health mentor at the time, Brandon the Food Dude. I’d taken a month off of work to regroup my messy life and this was among the improvements I made.
Over the course of several months, I stopped visiting Brandon the Food Dude, started eating poorly again, began regaining the 30 pounds I’d lost and lost ground on progress I’d made in multiple aspects of my life, from physical to mental and spiritual.
For some reason, I never went back to Diet Coke or even caffeinated drinks. For one thing, I’d never want to deal with the awful headaches — imagine dealing with Comcast’s customer service on the phone for 12 straight hours — and withdrawals I felt the week after I quit. That was awful.
The only people more shocked about this development than me are my wife and Diet Coke investors, who are still wondering what happened to their stock portfolios.
My wife often tried to sway me into cutting back on my liquid addiction. “You need to drink more water,” she’d say. “Water is the No. 1 ingredient in Diet Coke,” I’d counter. I thought I was funny, of course. She thought I was a snarky moron.
I’m writing about this topic because I bought a costly item at Costco that made me think about the change in my drinking habits. We purchased a water cooler for our kitchen — don’t ask about our lousy dying fridge and its water filter/ice machine. We also picked up two 5-gallon jugs that I get to refill with purified water at the grocery store and lug back into the house. (For the record, only about half of the water has ended up on the floor thanks to our 3-year-old who thinks I got him a new kitchen toy.)
We needed this new piece of equipment because A) My city’s water from the tap tastes like pond water; B) Our fridge is on the fritz; C) Buying smaller bottles of water is way too expensive; and D) My family has evolved into being a bunch of aguaholics.
The awesome weight-loss/optimal health program I’m kicking butt on suggests that I drink at least 100 ounces of H2O a day. It’s a challenge somedays — and I’m lousy at keeping track — but my water intake is way higher than it used to be.
The benefits of drinking water are aplenty, according to the “Habits of Health” book: flushes toxins out; prevents dehydration; speeds up metabolism (colder the better); helps liver convert fat into energy; minimizes fatigue, lack of energy, headaches and unclear thinking; and compensates for the loss of glycogen.
OK, besides my wife and your aunt who reminds you to drink eight cups of water a day every time you see her!?
While those benefits are great and all, the thing I’m noticing by drinking nearly a gallon of water a day is that it’s really helping me curb my appetite. Combined with eating small, nutrition-packed food six times a day, this new drinking habit is preventing me from wanting to devour anything and everything in sight.
Don’t tell my wife, but I even crave ice-cold water sometimes — yes, even the kind of ice-cold water that isn’t mixed with all of the other amazing Diet Coke ingredients.
Confession time: I still drink too much diet soda (Fresca, cream soda, root beer and the like) and also swig down sugar-free sparkling water beverages, so I’m not a card-carrying water junkie just yet.
I shed another three pounds this week. That brings my overall weight-loss total to 38.5 pounds since early March. I’ve dropped 22.8 pounds (it’s critical to include the 0.8 pound, of course) since beginning Jody’s Changing For Good Challenge and my new optimal health program on April 1.
Let’s say it all together: “Weight’s down, bottoms up!”