When you remove a bad habit or addiction from your life, the benefits aren't always immediately evident. In the first few days...weeks...months...survival is the goal. Getting through each day without the crutch is the only focus. One more day. And another day. 1...2...3...4...Proudly keeping count on the calendar is the reward.
Tomorrow will be 121 days that I've been without my Mountain Dew.....1/3 of a year. That's an enormous accomplishment considering I once carried a can of soda in my purse "for an emergency." I feel strong now...the survival phase didn't last long. Something felt different this time...I was finally tired of the addiction. Embarrassed by it. Chained to it. Disgusted with it. And so, on March 1st, I woke up and drank water. I didn't stop at 7-11 to buy my usual daily supply. I keep bottles of water with me at all times so I can quench my thirst before the craving sets in. Occasionally, when the thought of temptation passes through my mind, I think to myself, "Do I want a Dew? Or do I want another day? Do I want a drink or do I want to be free?" The temptation passes.
So now I'm able to take stock of the difference. And what a big difference it is. I'm no longer poisoning myself. None of my other eating habits have changed. One thing at a time...baby steps...etc. I focused solely on drinking water....LOTS of it.
#1 - My hands don't hurt. One of those toxic ingredients was causing intense pain in my hands. Holding a pen to write a note to the teacher was torture. I wore hand braces at night because if I didn't, I couldn't sleep from the pain.
#2 - The restless leg syndrom is nearly gone. It was relentless at times. Once it started, I was doomed to 20 minutes (or more) of feeling like roaches were crawling on my legs. In especially bad episodes, it affected my arms, too. If you've never experienced this, you should feel very thankful.
#3 - I don't clear my throat. Without going into the gross details, suffice to say that the truckload of sugar I was consuming created a thickness in my throat which caused me to clear my throat a LOT. It even annoyed ME...so I can only imagine how badly my husband wanted it to stop.
#4 - My blood sugar is stabilized. I had frequent hypoglycemic episodes because my body was crashing from the sugar. They are now a rare occurrence.
#5 - No headaches. A common misconception is that only dark sodas have caffeine and that Mountain Dew (flourescent yellow/greeen) does not. False. It actually contains more caffeine than coke or pepsi. To wean myself off that, I used caffeine tablets (think of No-Doz) and slowly decreased my dosage every week. I've now been caffeine free for approximately 2 months.
#6 - I've lost 7 pounds. Not exactly "knock your socks off" impressive. But it's a start. I'm working hard to strengthen myself and lose more.
#7 - I feel strong, clearheaded, and proud. Every day is another victory. My kids are enormously proud of me and I love that I can show them how to overcome a weakness or addiction. I rely on them and my facebook family/friends to cheer me on.
I once hated myself for the inability to escape the addiction. Now I know I can be strong.