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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

A 3-Diet Dew Day

Some background: I started having mammograms 20 years ago—when I was 37. I had a lot of fibroid cysts and it was precautionary. I had no family history of breast cancer. Or any cancer, for that matter. (Breast cancer did come—at age 40. And was discovered with a mammogram. That’s another post for another day, perhaps.)

My doctor at the time recommended I eliminate as much caffeine from my diet as possible. It was normal for me, beginning at age 23, to drink a pot of coffee every day by noon, so, fourteen years later, I knew I was going to have to find some kind of “morning” drink that could replace a significant part of my life.

I do enjoy an occasional orange, apple or cranberry juice. Just not enough to make any of them my daily morning “eye-opener.” My drinks of choice have always been diet drinks—Diet Dr. Pepper, Diet Coke, Diet Pepsi. Love them all. On a fateful trip to a local convenience store (okay, yes, it was to buy a lottery ticket), I saw a Diet Mountain Dew in the case and thought: “Hmmm. Citrus. Diet. Might just work.” It was yellow. WHO KNEW it had caffeine? Seriously. I had not ever heard this. I guess I was leading a sheltered life—with all caramel-colored drinks being the “bad (albeit delicious) guys.”

It was, I am ashamed to say, many years later before I learned Diet Mountain Dew did, indeed, have caffeine—and a lot of it. I’m sure the friends who knew this assumed I knew it, too, and simply chose to live in denial. It was normal for me to drink anywhere between two to four Diet Dews a day. Wow. Why am I admitting this? (I probably would've been better off with my pot o' coffee, since they think it helps ward off Alzheimer’s.)  Honestly, I never knew why I needed so many DDs. And, yes, I did have insomnia.

I remember trying to “cut down” on my daily intake. Unsuccessfully. So, one day, I decided to quit “cold turkey.” About 3 weeks later, however, my hubby and TLC bought me two 12-packs—even opened a can for me and watched to make sure I drank it. Evidently I wasn’t pleasant to be around. Truthfully, I was miserable—physically (headaches and no energy) and emotionally. So my goal became ONE DIET DEW per DAY. I’ve been on this program now for about 12 years. Some days it’s not too hard. Other days it’s more than challenging. On the challenging days, my goal morphs into JUST TWO DIET DEWS TODAY.

Here are some things that can now cause me to have a 3-Diet Dew Day (this is generally no more than twice a year—at most):

  1. Exhaustion—which is EXTRA nuts. I do so get that. I’m creating my own vicious cycle.
  2. Isolation. No, I haven’t been in solitary confinement in prison. Or committed to the state hospital—not yet. I’m talking illness, broken bones, or extra-bad weather days in Texas—mostly ice. We live on a hill and it sometimes becomes impossible for me to leave our house. (My husband leaves his truck at the bottom of our hill and climbs up and down to get to work. I’d do that if I ran out of Diet Dews, I guess.) Just a few weeks ago I was stuck from a Monday evening until Friday afternoon. (It wasn’t all that bad—I stayed in my jammies most of the time. I rather liked that. AND, I’d bought a 24-pack of Diet Dews before the ice arrived.)
  3. Stress.
  4. My monthly . . . deep cleaning (you thought I was going to say something else, didn’t you? Remember—I’m 57).
  5. Getting on my bathroom scales. I know. I understand. This constant shock alone should make me drink water—exclusively. Alas, it doesn’t. Instead it makes me run extra fast to the drink fridge for my FIX.
  6. Watching the local and/or national news. At least that hasn’t made me turn to hard liquor—yet.
  7. Just the idea of being forced to give up Diet Mountain Dews, chocolate and sugar.
Each new day that I am blessed with the gift of waking up to what is my life, I sincerely intend for it to be a One Diet Dew Day. Every Monday I actually try to convince myself to have the goal of only three Diet Dews all week. I usually fail by Tuesday.

I beg of you: please do NOT rat me out to Dr. Oz or Jillian Michaels. ESPECIALLY Jillian. I love her—but she SCARES me.


Autumn said...

You are a much better person than me. My goal is usually NOT to kill my husband. That's sad, right?

The Leightons said...

I sure don't think I'm a better person--just didn't list that goal. We're kidding, everyone. Aren't we, Autumn? LOL! We both have AWESOME hubbies.