Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Buh-Bye Coke, Hello Life

There are times in your life where you look back and say, “Oh…that is what was going on with me.” Like when you have a newborn and PPD, and you look back four years later and think, “So THIS is how I was supposed to feel. I wish I would have reached out more back then.” Or once your new puppy is housebroken and has stopped chewing up your shoes; and the infant that you already had when you acquired said puppy is now feeding herself; and your husband isn’t working 100 hour weeks. I look back and think, “WTF was I thinking? That was a lot of shit to deal with in a short span of time!” That is how I feel about last week.

I decided to go with the meal replacement plan. It sounded ideal. Easy as pie smoothies (did you know that pies are actually not that easy to make?), bars for meals, bars for snacks, and a yummy sensible dinner. I also decided that on the EXACT SAME DAY I would give up Coke. Did you hear that? I would GIVE UP COCA-COLA CLASSIC. It wasn’t a conscious decision in that I said, “As of 5pm on March 8th I am finished drinking my most favoritest carbonated beverage in the whole entire world. No, I just didn’t have any at home. On Saturday, day one of the meal replacement plan, I was hyper-focused on eating healthy and following “the plan”, so going to McDonald’s drive-thru for a treat wasn’t exactly high on the list of things that I wanted to do. I mean, sure…I WANTED to go, but then I figured taking a nap was just as good. And it was. Sunday wasn’t much different; I treated the caffeine headache with Excedrine and lazed around all day. Monday was more of the same, except while laying around, I also worked on my laptop.

Part of the plan is to make smoothies for breakfast and either lunch or dinner, with two scoops of flavored protein powder mixed in. I thought, “Oh! This will be great!” And then I actually tried making a smoothie with my new blender that I only spent $53.99 on. Yeah…not so great. I wound up fighting with the ice or frozen fruit most of the time (I lost one battle, my kitchen and my clothes and the ceiling paid the price…did you know that berries stain?), and the other times I put in too much of something disgusting and I had to choke the damn thing down, and then struggle all day to keep it down. By Thursday morning, I’d had it. All week I had been nauseous and could barely get out of bed. The thought of fighting my blender was too much to bear for the powder-tasting concoction that I was whipping up. I was exhausted, felt like shit, knew I had been complaining to my co-workers entirely too much, and was questioning the meal plan decision. As it turns out, easy as pie also tastes like shit. And therefore isn’t easy as pie.
The only good thing about my days were the evenings. Most days I was too nauseous to eat anything, so by dinnertime I was starving. And I could give a shit what I ate. Leftover sour cream and cheese enchiladas? Yes Please! Leftover lasagna? Hand it over! Toasted ham and cheese sandwich? I am drooling. Food had never tasted so good. The best thing about the whole week though was that I did not have a single Coke. NOT ONE. I did not celebrate that victory as much as I should have.

Thursday night rolled around and it was time for bed. The girls had been extra energetic lately; cabin fever is reaching its pitch. In other words, I wanted to strangle them. Actually no…that isn’t true. I wanted to lock them in a soundproof room and leave them in there for 24 hours. Someone else could make sure that they had food and bathroom breaks and diaper changes. And whatever the hell else they wanted. (THIS toy, to paint, THAT sippy cup, MOM!! CHARLIE PUSHED ME!!) I was ready to snap. I think the girls finally got the hint and lay down to listen to me read the ONE book I begrudgingly agreed to….5 Minute Princess Stories. (Five minutes my ass.)

After the stories were read I tucked in my little angels and tried to leave the room. I still felt like shit and just wanted out. I wanted to go watch an adult show (like NCIS or Parks and Recreation…not that XXX stuff you all are thinking) and play on my phone. I wanted to snuggle my favorite yellow blanket and hide from everything that was bothering me. And then I heard the little voice, “Mommy, snuggle?”
Sigh. The guilt. Oh the mommy guilt. I agreed to snuggle with my little girls and fetched my yellow blanket and iPhone. I nestled myself in between the girls and wrapped myself in the coziness that is my yellow blanket and Workaholic's blue blanket. I turned on Candy Crush Saga and began trying to beat level 65 for the hundredth time.

Charlie was the first to snuggle up close. She was the one who wanted me in bed with them in the first place, so I wasn’t really all that surprised. She loves to watch my phone when we’re in bed at night, the lights turned off, no TV on, the glow of the screen illuminating her beautiful long eye lashes. It doesn’t matter if I am playing a game or on Facebook or reading Scary Mommy Confessions, she puts her little head on my shoulder and presses up next to me as close as she can. A couple of minutes later Sam crawled out the cave she had created for herself under the covers and did the same thing on my other shoulder. Before too long I heard the long steady breaths of little kids dreaming as only little kids dream. For all the drama before bedtime, they were out like a light once I got them to hold still.

I put down my phone and stayed there a while, taking it all in. The soft chirps of the sound machine in the background, the heat from two little bodies pressed up against me, the quiet that resonated throughout the rest of the house. At one point Sam, in her slumber, began stroking my arm and Charlie reached up and laid her little hand on her face. The softness of their skin when they are clean and being gentle always makes me pause. These are my two little girls. At the end of the day, I can come home and burrow myself in their arms, caress their soft hair and live in the moment. I can stop thinking about how tired I am and how hungry I am and wonder if I just go throw up would it make me feel better. Life at its simplest. The purity of kids is never more apparent as when they are sleeping. I eventually made my way to my bed, desperate for a good night sleep.(only to be awoken at least twice by my little angels).
Friday morning came and I was more tired and nauseated than ever. The cycle was starting again. I wanted to cry, but couldn’t, because we had a doctor appointment to make in Chicago. I had to push through. It was when I sat down in the passenger seat of the van where I finally caved. I couldn’t take it anymore. I forced Workaholic to pull into McDonald’s for ONE Coke, and threw in some fries for good measure.  By Saturday I had decided to give up on the meal plan because the thought of that powdery smoothie made me want to vomit. The nausea was starting to go away, and pizza and beer on Saturday night with friends made things much, much better. By Monday the nausea had pretty much disappeared, and I was eating healthier but not eating any of the meal replacement food.

Looking back, I realize that drastically changing my diet at the same time as giving up the caffeine and fake sugar that I depended on every day was probably not the smartest thing to do. I was having full on withdrawal. Even though I supplemented with Excedrine, my body was PISSED OFF that I would take away the yummy deliciousness that is high fructose corn syrup. I can’t believe that I was so hard on myself. Giving up pop (or soda, depending where you live) is a HUGE accomplishment. Screw those disgusting protein bars and smoothies that piss me off. Screw the “guilt-free” snacks of raw carrots, celery, and broccoli. Screw feeling guilty and ashamed that I “can’t do it.” Fuck. This. Diet. I. Gave. Up. Coke.
My ultimate goal is to have more energy and lose weight and be a happier person, without meds. I am going to do this. But I have to take baby steps. Really little baby steps. Teeny tiny baby steps. Coke is my first. (OK, so quitting Coke is like a baby taking its first step and falling down the stairs. It hurts, but no reason to stop!) Daily fast food is my next. I am trying to only eat out twice a week…that includes lunch AND dinner. This will be a huge fete for me as well, seeing as how a month ago I probably ate out a dozen times a week.

I wonder what I will think a year or two from now when I look back. Will I think that I was getting my life in order? Or will I think that I was crazy for trying to quit all of the things that I loved? Only time will tell!   

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