I have a looooong history of hare-brained ideas. I traditionally like to think of myself as an individual with a creative personality, but I imagine that oftentimes the words “odd” or “interesting” cross other people’s lips when speaking about me (assuming that anyone speaks about me at all – which I’m sure they do, given some of my more unique propositions over the years). I’m learning to embrace it, as it’s evident that many of these personality quirks are genetic. For example, my mother uses bungee cords to fix things – in the house – with some regularity. When I attempted to use double-sided tape to adhere my lamp cord to the ceiling the other day, I realized there was no escape from the inevitable and that eventually I will become my mother. Which isn’t a bad thing, except that there are incidents in my family history involving my mother and a variety of unrelated items, such as lighter fluid, rebellious weed-whackers, duct taped electronics and the infamous patio chair on Highway 9 episode.
Fortunately, my latest hare-brained idea has nothing to do with home improvement or electronics, but has everything to do with health and wellness. Given the history of some of my other ideas (paper chains, dressing as a jester as a way to increase sales at a lemonade stand, playing the accordion), this one feels mild in comparison. I am attempting to give up Diet Coke for one month.
Just writing those words makes me want to run to the local store, bowling over anyone and everyone in my path except the sweet, blessed grocery checker who will take my money and hand over an ice-cold six pack of aspartame-filled carbonated goodness. I’ve had a long affair with Diet Coke (affectionately called DC), which I’d like to blame on my brother and his wife but I think began much earlier. It all started in high school with girls’ nights at my house, giggling over boys and band with Starburst, pizza and a graveyard of guzzled DCs surrounding our sleeping bags. I used to drink Diet Coke on the way to school in the morning in lieu of coffee, which carried over into college and then to my brother’s house in the transition year between Loyola Marymount and Arizona State. I’ll never forget what he said when I first moved in: “We only have three rules here: No boys overnight; take out the trash; and never, EVER take the last Diet Coke.” That may have been the only time I had any willpower with regard to DC, because I was much more afraid of invoking my brother’s wrath than of my caffeine withdrawal.
And now, over 10 years later, I’m still addicted to Diet Coke – only I’ve added coffee in the mornings, too, so that every day is a veritable tidal wave of caffeine intake, with a high crest during the day and a short, hard crash at night. I get headaches from the withdrawals and feel bloated when I have too much to drink (that’s not specific to Diet Coke, but that is what I’m referring to here) and find that I am less able to manage my food intake when a DC accompanies my meal. I crave DC the way I’d imagine a smoker craves a cigarette, and at the end of the day the health concerns aren’t much different. So, it’s time to let go of my old friend DC. I think this latest effort – to give up Diet Coke for a month – may end up falling into the category of one of my worst-ever hare-brained ideas, because I’m really not sure I can do it. I’m already cranky just thinking about it, which is ridiculous, because I just had my “last” Diet Coke this afternoon. But I want to give my body a chance to get through the day without the addition of this particular vice. I want to be able to drink my 8 glasses of clear, sweet H2O per day without being so full from my 2 or 4 DCs that I can’t possibly get another drop in. I’m going to try to cut back on coffee, too, in favor of green tea (decaf, even!), which is realllly pushing the envelope on this latest venture, but I think will be a good focus to have on my shuddery, jittery, gotta-have-it-now-OMG-I-can’t-believe-I-ever-had-this-stupid-idea days.
So here I go – wish me luck! I’m off to bed, feeling excited about a “clean drinking” day tomorrow. Sweet carbonated dreams…