“You ruined it for me!” The whiny voice on the phone was my husband who was driving home from work. “You ruined it.”
I wasn’t about to apologize until I knew what I’d done, so a little unsympathetically, I asked, “Ruined what?”
“My Pepsi. I waited all week to have one, just one. Well… I thought about it all day and I’d had it in the fridge at work and about 3:00 pm I went to get it. I’d been thinking about it all day and couldn’t wait to enjoy it. You know I love Pepsi, right? You know I’ve ALWAYS loved Pepsi!”
Yes, we had wanted it served at our wedding reception because he did love some Pepsi. When we were dating, I always had some in the fridge for when he visited. After we married, I’d stock up when soft drinks were on sale. In fact, I learned that soft drink sales were cyclical. I’d stock up at all of the major holidays — Super Bowl, Easter, Memorial Day, 4th of July, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s. Apparently bottling companies count on consumers buying soft drinks for gatherings and parties. I quickly learned just how many cartons to buy to keep us well stocked from sale to sale.
Even before low-carb, I worried about the calories in his Pepsi habit. I was drinking the “diet” versions, so that was entirely “safe”, right? To limit portions, I started buying the canned soft drinks after I had noticed him guzzle down a 2-liter soft drink in one day. After we had children, I really didn’t want them drinking soft drinks, so he often drank them at work. We had a small fridge in the garage and more than once, I’d catch him “cleaning” the garage or working in the yard and sneaking a can or two while the kids weren’t looking. The kids caught on, so we sometimes let them have a soft drink as a treat, which included any time the grandparents were nearby.
As my husband and I had negotiated HIS following a very low-carbohydrate diet, his Pepsi habit was the hardest. He willingly gave up bread, except for the one time we were out to dinner with friends, and he took his turn at the bread basket in spite of my wifey “put-that-down-now” look. He just locked eyes and gave me the classic husband look “oh-yeah-make-me”.
Anyway, forgoing bread and pasta were actually pretty easy for him, but living without some sugar was harder, especially Pepsi and Nutella. Pepsi was especially hard. Our compromise was that one day each week, he would treat himself to one can of Pepsi. It wasn’t what I preferred, but marriage was made of compromise.
Here he was just a few months into our new “diet” when he declared I had ruined Pepsi. “Okay, so what do you mean?”
“Well, I’d been thinking about that Pepsi and saving it for when I could savor it. At the perfect time, I went to get that Pepsi. I was almost skipping down the hallway! I took it back to my office, closed the door, popped the top, took a big swig and thought, “’Yuck!’ Honey, it didn’t taste good. It was too sweet! I tried another sip, and I couldn’t even finish it. You ruined it. I’m so mad at you!”
I never apologized. Nope, I gloated. I celebrated. I congratulated him! We spent the next few minutes laughing about how wonderful that was. It was a huge change for him. And for me. I had spied a sale for soft drinks for that very weekend! I was hesitant when I asked, “So… should I not buy those for you anymore?” He took a deep breath. I held my breath. “No. Don’t buy anymore. I don’t think I want them anymore. It might help me.” I breathed a huge sigh of relief. This new “diet” was working, and he had realized it without me badgering him.
As I had continued on in my own low-carb journey I had already stopped drinking diet soft drinks. I found that water was the only thing that satisfied the thirst that came with weight loss. In addition, I learned that when I did have an occasional diet drink, I was often more hungry afterward. It was only by eliminating it for several days and then reintroducing it that I was able to notice a difference. Those differences, less hunger and increased weight loss, made it easy to kick the habit.
When people ask me now what I drink, I tell them, “Water, coffee about once per day, and maybe an occasional glass of wine or a low-carb cocktail” (mojitos, lemon drop martinis, and a margarita are my favorites!).
Nearly every time, I hear “I could never give up diet soft drinks!” I smile because I used to say that too. Then I think about the strong addiction my husband had and I suggest, “Try cutting down to one serving per day. Have that one serving when you think you will ‘need’ it most. Once you’ve been able to go to one serving per day, see how you feel. Pay attention to how you feel AFTER you drink it. Are you hungrier later? More agitated? Thirstier?
Eventually, you may want to consider going several days without any. Try just three to five days without any soft drinks. Then, when you do reintroduce it, really pay attention to how you feel. If you don’t notice a difference, then it may not be a problem for you. What I learned was that diet soft drinks made me feel hungrier afterwards. Also, after enduring a long stall, I actually lost more weight by eliminating them”.
More than one person has come back to me to say, “I hated it when you told me that the diet soft drinks might be holding me back. I hated it! But, you were right. As soon as I stopped drinking them, my scales went down. Thank you, but I’m still really mad at you for being right!” I smile. I celebrate with them. I’m learning to stop gloating. Well, I’m trying to stop gloating, but I will never stop congratulating them for finding their way to better health!
Earlier with Kristie
You can learn more about her at her YouTube channel, Cooking Keto with Kristie. She also published a cookbook, Journey to Health: A Journey Worth Taking to help others discover how delicious and healthy a low carb lifestyle can be. Join her (and several thousand others) on the low carb journey at her closed Facebook group, “Low Carb Journey to Health (Cooking Keto with Kristie)”.