The habit I’m embarrassed to talk about ends now

by Kim on August 21, 2013

So I’m hard at work on my August Pinterest Challenge!

And by hard at work, I mean: I made one thing.

Behold: yogurt trail mix bars.

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Mine don’t look nearly as white and dainty as Lindsay’s, but that’s not a huge surprise. I’ve never really been a natural in the kitchen. (Also, I think Lindsay used frozen fruit while I used fresh, so I’m pretty sure the fruit juices are to blame for the color change.)

In fact, I was completely shocked that I made a few tweaks to the recipe and it still came out edible.

I stirred in a little honey and sweet coconut (yes, I’m the only healthy living blogger alive who doesn’t strictly use unsweetened) to counteract the tart taste of Greek yogurt, which I’m not a huge fan of. (Why didn’t I just sub in regular yogurt? Why, that would be way too easy and logical of me.)

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Conclusion: they’re good! They taste just like Nature Valley yogurt granola bars (I went on a short kick with them once, so I remember that taste well.)

So that’s one task down. I’m planning to tackle one of the workouts and another recipe tomorrow, which leaves…5 things to make/do next week. Gulp.

I was supposed to make the Smirnoff Sorbet Ginger Lady on vacation last week, but I couldn’t find the vodka at the Ft. Myers Publix (I didn’t realize some grocery stores don’t carry hard liquor?), and now I’m not sure if I want to invest in an entire bottle that I’ll inevitably have to drink by myself. My current plan is to miraculously find a bar that carries those exact ingredients within the next week and a half. (It’s a shaky plan, at best.)

In other news, I’ve decided it’s finally time for me to kick a long-time habit I’m not proud of.

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I’m breaking up with Diet Coke.

Actually, I’m breaking up with all soda. (Which is not a huge leap, actually, since Diet Coke is the only soda I ever drink.)

I wouldn’t say I’m an addict…I’m not guzzling gallons of the stuff, and I don’t go bonkers if I unexpectedly run out. (I just calmly sprint to the grocery store…haha.)

But I have had a little “afternoon DC” habit for quite awhile, and I know it’s a problem for me because I’m embarrassed to talk about it. I also know that I’ve been getting a lot of random headaches lately, and I don’t think I can blame all of them on hormones.

So the soda has to go. Actually, my real beef is with the aspartame, and so, all aspartame of any kind—including any fake sugar in coffee—has to go, too. And now that I’m finally doing it, it feels looong overdue.

I’m sure you’ve heard about aspartame’s not-so-glowing reputation, including:

–Its association with weight gain (because the sweet taste tricks the body into thinking it’s getting energy when it’s not, making it desperate for more).

–Its links to cancer, diabetes, stroke, and heart attack. (This article says that even one diet soda a day increases your risk for stroke and heart attack.)

–Its ability to make people psychologically, and even physically, addicted.

–Its intense withdrawal symptoms.

I always knew my Diet Coke habit wasn’t the healthiest thing ever, but since I wasn’t consuming crazy high quantities of it (never more than a can a day), I didn’t think it was that horrible. (Things like caffeine aren’t wonderful for your body either, but in small quantities, they’re not the end of the world…or so I would reason, weirdly defensively.) And I certainly didn’t think I was addicted.

That is, until I read this line (from this article):

According to the American Psychiatric Association, a key sign of substance dependence is when a person continues to use a substance even when he or she knows it’s causing physical or mental health problems.

Honestly, my conscious has been nagging me about this for a long time, so obviously I’m recognizing that there’s something wrong with it.

And when I think I’m “craving” a Diet Coke, am I really craving the taste, or am I just having a conditioned response? (To, say, the fact that it’s 2 PM and I usually have a Diet Coke around now.) This article says…

“You can get into a situation where you crave a diet soda by conditioning yourself,” Dr. Urschel says. “[If] you stop for gas and always get a diet soda, the craving will start to come first, before you even pull into the station.”

And so, I’m going Diet Coke and aspartame free, cold turkey, starting now. These are the moments when having a blog becomes so handy—I can make a public commitment, and I’m automatically so much more accountable!

I was encouraged by this article, which has a few brilliant ideas for soda alternatives that might actually work (in case the age-old “just drink more water!” doesn’t come through). Here we go!

Has anyone else struggled with a habit you’re not proud of?

It’s crazy how many stories you find if you Google “giving up Diet Coke”!

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{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Kristin @ A Mom on the Run August 26, 2013 at 3:20 pm

I gave up diet soda (specifically Diet Dr. Pepper) back in April and I haven’t looked back! It took two weeks or so to get used to it, but now I crave ice water and when I feel like I need a little something extra, I pop a nuun in it.
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Kim August 29, 2013 at 11:33 am

I’m so embarrassed I didn’t do it a long time ago! :) Nuuns are a great idea.

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char eats greens August 26, 2013 at 2:54 pm

I hate diet pop so I’ve never experienced this, and not really sure if I’ve been addicted to anything. It’s safe (? might not be the right word haha) to say that chocolate has a permanent spot on the list of things I need all the time… and yes, sometimes daily haha. Hope you squander DC once and for all ;)
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Lisa M. August 21, 2013 at 8:38 pm

Man those yogurt bars look good! I’ll have to try them.

Good for you giving up artificial sweetners! I love hearing that and also seeing everyone else has.

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Ali August 21, 2013 at 5:56 pm

Oh the diet coke… I had the same addiction (diet soda of any kind actually) and then I read up on aspartame and realized that it had to go. It turns into formaldehyde in your body and that stuff is a carcinogen. On the upswing, there are alternatives, such as zevia. It’s made with stevia instead. It doesn’t taste the same, but it does satisfy my craving for soda. Also, once you stop for a little bit and then taste it, it’s really gross anyways. Also Izze makes sparkling beverages that are excellent too!

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Ashley @ My Food N Fitness Diaries August 21, 2013 at 4:57 pm

Oh good ol’ DC… I was a big time addict in college when we got unlimited soda refills in the cafeteria. Now that I have to pay for the stuff, and I’ve realized how NOT great the artificial sweeteners are for you, I’ve thankfully kicked the habit. I still occasionally splurge on one at Costco since they have 59 cent fountain drinks, but that’s about it. It’s rough when it gives you an extra little caffeine boost, it’s cal-free, and it just tastes so darn good. BUT you can do it, and it’s totally worth it! ;)
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Michelle August 21, 2013 at 3:45 pm

Good luck! I quit artificial sugar a few years ago (I was seriously the Queen of Splenda – it was SO unhealthy) and I KNOW I am better off for it! I think I numbed my taste buds into thinking it tasted good because I can tell if something has the tiniest bit of it in there now. It tastes so gross!

Oh – and Florida doesn’t allow liquor in their grocery stores – although a lot of them are right next door. States are so strange about liquor, wine, and beer.
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Kim August 21, 2013 at 3:21 pm

I used to drink 1 Diet Coke a day (when my boys were young it was always during their nap-time!!) and a few years ago I just sort of stopped. Now I occasionally have one and rarely finish it.
Good luck quitting!!!
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Katie @ running4cupcakes August 21, 2013 at 1:56 pm

Good luck with the diet coke habit. I kicked mine a few years ago. however, I will have a diet coke occasionally now when we go out to eat, but we don’t keep it in the house. . . And I love those yogurt bars – I had one for breakfast this morning! And the August Pinterest Challenge is not to stress you out – if you don’t make 8 this month, no big deal – you tried some new things and organized your Pin boards, that’s what the challenge was about!! :)

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Kim August 21, 2013 at 2:21 pm

Thanks Katie :) I’m still going to try to get them all in! Not sure about that cocktail though. :)

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Rebecca @ Strength and Sunshine August 21, 2013 at 1:43 pm

I haven’t drank soda is over 10 years. I don;t even remember how it tastes. And I never ever miss it, I think it is just toxic garbage. I always yell at my mom when she buys it for herself and my brother, haha!
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