Truth be told... while I "enjoyed" a little soda with certain foods, I didn't really like it that much. I had no desire to just drink a Pepsi... I always wanted it in combination with something (usually just as unhealthy). I also realized that I did enjoy a cup of coffee or tea to just sip on and that provided the necessary boost of caffeine when I needed it. So, about six weeks ago, I made the decision and just simply stopped drinking soda... ok, so it was not just "simply" ... since this is something I've obviously wanted to do for a while... but this time I decided there were no exceptions. It was sort of hard for the first couple of weeks - there were times where my brain was trying to tell me that I really "needed" a Pepsi... but I found that answering that thought with "no, you want a pepsi" helped.
Anyway, I'm making this way too long. Are you still with me? The long and short of it is, that once the cycle of drinking Pepsi was broken, making other, better food choice was easier. I quit looking for those foods that I liked paired with soda and started making healthier choices.
Some of the other changes I've made:
- I try and eat my breads earlier in the day and none at dinner. In fact, I've started to really cut back on the amount of grains I eat. I will NEVER be gluten free ... I love bread to much and I'm married to a wheat farmer!! But I am seeing the benefits of less is more!
- Besides my morning coffee and my breakfast smoothie, I've been trying to only drink water for the rest of my day. No juice, milk, soda, etc. Most days I've been getting at least 64 oz. of water, if not more.
- Veggies, veggies, and more veggies!! I love fruit, but eating veggies takes a little more work for me... so I've been throwing handfuls of spinach and kale into my morning protein smoothie. Roasted green bean fries anyone?! They are so yummy! Baked sweet potato with goat cheese and crushed pistachios has replaced my normal dousing in butter and cinnamon-sugar!
- Portion control... I'm still nursing, so I realize that my portions should be a little larger than normal... but mine had gotten way out of control. I've never had the problem when I'm pregnant of not being able to eat, even when the stomach is squished... it just seems my appetite grows. I realized I had gotten to the point where I was never really feeling full. I would just usually stop eating (after way too much) because I knew that I needed to stop. Since really working on my portion sizes, this is starting to come back under control and my full-trigger is coming back online.
- Reducing sugars. This has been the hardest. I didn't realize how bad I had gotten at snacking... with the pantry being something I walk by a bajillion times a day, getting little snacks for the girls, and having it stocked with "treats" since my husband has a lunch packed nearly every day... Again, this took changing my mindset from seeing it as depriving myself of something to "I don't do that" ... and going to the fridge to grab a couple of carrot sticks instead. I still have bad moments, but by and large am doing so much better and am finding that I actually feel pretty crummy when I indulge in too much sugar.
- Reducing dessert... okay, this kind of goes with the point above but for me is a separate issue - you see, my family LOVES dessert! A post dinner bowl of ice cream was pretty much a staple in our house growing up. So it's never seemed indulgent to me to have a little after dinner sweet. The truth is as I've gotten older, this again is habit and a cycle that leads to bad choices and bad eating... most of the time my bowl of ice cream is not a small, single scoop but a cereal bowl with three or four scoops (hey, my Dad likes ice cream, that's the portion that "looks right" to me!). I've decided that I am going to limit my desserts to Sundays, Feast days, and special outings (gatherings with friends or family). I don't feel I'm at a point with my weight or health that this needs to be eliminated all together, just indulged in a little more sparingly!
So.. there you have it. My approach to working on my nutrition. I'm amazed at how much better I feel and how much happier I am with my body. I've lost 8 pounds of baby weight and only have a couple to go to get to my pre-baby weight... but more importantly than the weight, the healthy eating choices are just helping me be happier with me which is my ultimate goal... to be happy and comfortable in my own skin again, whatever the scale says!