When my friends Liz Chandler and Leilan McNally started the “Be Fit Crew” on Facebook, I reluctantly joined. Not so much because I wanted to be a part of the group, but because I felt like I should be a part of the group. Messages from the Be Fit Crew would appear in my newsfeed and I’d glance over them, not really committed to the group’s focus on personal fitness.
Then Leilan posted the “Fiver Challenge,” a challenge to all Be Fit members to lose five pounds during the month of May. I ignored it for a day or two. Eventually, because I felt like I should, I accepted the challenge. And here it is, June 4, and I’m down 7 or 8 pounds.
I wish I could tell you that I started a daily or even regular exercise program. I want to say that I dutifully recorded everything I ate and drank, but I didn’t. I’m pretty certain I owe my Fiver Challenge success to one thing: I quit drinking Diet Coke.
Just typing that feels like I am betraying an old friend. Diet Coke and I have been a thing for a very long time. But it turns out, I can live – and live better – without it.
Here is what not drinking Diet Coke has done for me:
1. It’s drastically reduced my cravings for sugar and carbs, which in turn has reduced the amount of calories I take in each day.
2. It’s given me more energy. Weird, I know. I used to drink Diet Coke first thing in the morning for the caffeine boost. The boost is what I would get, but then my energy would fall down again. Without Diet Coke, my energy is more level over the course of the day. I do drink iced tea in the morning for a little caffeine kick.
3. The increased energy has given me more desire to do things like ride my bike, go for a walk with a friend, play soccer in the yard with my kids, which add up to calories burned.
4. When I lost the Diet Coke, I gained a new mindset. I hadn’t planned to give it up, but I went on a weekend retreat where it wasn’t available. By the time Sunday night rolled around, I realized I’d survived without it and decided to see how long I could keep it up. It was a small change I was making for my health and my success with it helped make it easier to make other small changes, like trying a Jimmy John’s Unwich for the first time.
I know that this one small change won’t result in a 7-8 pound weight loss every month. But it’s a good start and a foundation to build on.
Amy Magan is a mother of 3, blogger and a recovering Diet Coke-aholic. You can read more about Amy’s (mis)adventures at The 4th Frog Blog.