I am trying to make eating right and being healthy something other than a "diet." Diet's don't work. I know that. I have probably lost a cumulative total of a thousand pounds on various diets, so I know that they work in the short term. But they don't seem to work in the long run because they don't change anything about me. Many forms of behavior modification work for a while. Torture works as long as it is being applied. But stomachs expand and contract all the time. Hearts and minds are harder to change.
Consequently, I am trying not to "give things up." I am losing weight much more slowly than I have in the past, when I skipped meals, used fat blockers, and deprived myself of things for a few months. Three weeks into the effort, I have lost twelve pounds. And I keep thinking to myself, "it could have been twenty." On the other hand, I haven't given anything up.
Except for one thing. And it was a hard thing. Maybe the hardest. And it is something that I have never given up before. I'm talking about diet soda.
From the time I was a teenager until about a month ago, I was a massive consumer of diet soda. Diet Dr. Pepper was my favorite. But I also liked Diet Pepsi (especially with wild cherry flavoring) and, in a pinch, even Diet Coke (any port in a storm). It soothed me, gave me explosions of flavor in my mouth, and generally kept me sane. I usually drank the equivalent of about two two-liter bottles a day. Yeah, I was that guy.
But it was OK, because it was DIET soda. No calories, just happiness. That has been my argument for 30 years. (I don't even like the sugary stuff anymore--me and aspartame are BFFs).
For the last three weeks, I have mainly been drinking water. Twice, in restaurants, I drank lemonade. But mainly water. Pretty much everyone I know convinced me that this was the right thing to do--do decrease my cravings for sweetness, to spare my poor teeth, and, generally, to work as hard as I possibly can on not dying.
So, after three weeks, what I can mainly report is that I still don't like water very much and wish I had about ten cans of Diet Dr. Pepper lined up for the afternoon.
I'm not going to do it.
But it's still the hardest thing.