I just keep asking myself the same question.
How did I get back here? I feel so awful, for being awful, so I continue and get more awful. What a Vicious cycle!
July 15, 2013 I made a choice to join a health and fitness challenge and take back control of my life. I was a few months post partum with my 4th and hated my reflection in the mirror. I had to change and part of my success depended on me giving up my beloved Pepsi. That day, I quit cold turkey.
I know what you’re thinking 🤔 Pepsi? Really?
But I was addicted. I’m talking multiple bottles a day, daily stops in McDonald’s drive through for a $1 large Pepsi. I knew it was bad for me, but I drank it anyway because I loved it.
I didn’t look back. For the next 4 years and 8-ish months, I was clean.
But then it happened. I caved and I gave in. I can’t remember what the circumstances were, but I know that I started drinking sprite socially a few times. Nothing crazy and I told myself that as long as it wasn’t Pepsi, I’d be good. It wouldn’t hurt every once in awhile. But that carbonation and sugar, they got me. I liked it, too much.
And then I was feeling frisky one night and ordered a Pepsi at dinner. When the waitress walked away from taking our drink order, my husband looked at me like I had 4 heads and had completely lost my mind. Clearly I had. But I justified it. I deserved it. It was just one! It was good. I still had control, or so I thought. I started having a few really bad days emotionally with some stressors and I found myself finding comfort with it.
It wasn’t a problem... until it was. All of a sudden, over the last few months, somehow I’m right back where I started (and where I swore I’d never again be). I’ve relapsed.
Even worse... because I fell back into this habit, my family did too. Even hubby, who only drinks water, has been picking up 2 liters on his way home from work. Like what?!? What have I done? What kind of example am I setting for my kids?
Did you know that a 20 oz bottle has 17 teaspoons or 65 grams 😲 of sugar or high fructose corn syrup!!
Beyond that pure craziness of literally drinking insane amounts of empty calories, it’s addictive! But why?
Aside from the carbonated water and flavorings, the last ingredient in cola, caffeine, is the reason why it is so addictive. Not to get all scientific on ya, but here’s the deal:
Caffeine is the world’s most popular psychoactive drug and it’s reported that more than 80% of Americans have it in some form every day. Soon after you drink something like Coke with high levels of caffeine in it, it is absorbed through your small intestine and into your bloodstream.
Caffeine is both water and fat soluble and is easily able to cross the blood-brain barrier to affect your brain cells directly.
The caffeine molecule is actually quite similar to another molecule that is present naturally in your brain called adenosine. It’s adenosine’s job to slow down nerve cell activity along neural pathways, but when caffeine is present it blocks adenosine receptors.
This can increase alertness, but excess adenosine molecules in your brain stimulates the adrenal glands to produce the old flight or fight chemical adrenaline.
For some people this feels like energy. For others, it’s more like anxiety. Regardless, your body wasn’t designed to be in flight or fight mode constantly and when caffeine’s effects wear off you’ll often feel exhausted.
Over time, your brain attempts to compensate by growing more adenosine receptors and decreasing the number of receptors for norepinephrine, another stimulant like adrenaline. This explains why caffeine addicts tend to need more and more of it over time and feel so bad when they don’t get it.
Fortunately, unlike many other addictive substances, caffeine addiction can be beaten relatively easily. Caffeine withdrawal headaches are commonly reported, but certain herbs and supplements can greatly minimize these. There are also now some far healthier alternatives to soda that taste similar but potentially do your body good.
When you go for around 14 days without having caffeine, and support your adrenal gland through the process, then the levels of adenosine and norepinephrine receptors in your brain are believed to return back to their baseline levels and you are unlikely to feel the same ‘need’ for soda anymore.
So here I am. I can’t magically undo the extra 15lbs I put on, and I can’t rewrite the past, but I can start today with a fresh start.
I’m writing this post. I’m calling myself out. It keeps me accountable. It helps remind me about where I was, where I am, and where I want to be.
Shamefully, I’m starting my “clean count” all over today, back at Day 1.
Mamas, we have sooooo much influence over our homes and we need to focus on controlling the controllable.
Maybe for you, it’s not soda, but what areas of your life are you neglecting, that you know better and can do better?