All Wound Up

I walked back to the second to the last aisle of the grocery store and looked just above my eye level. Grabbing generic, less-than-a-dollar versions of diet Coca-Cola, I counted each one.

As I set the 2-liters in my shopping cart, I kept track of how many I had and how many were left on the shelves. I bought all that the grocery store had to offer.

This time it meant six sodas, but occasionally it meant 12. It certainly meant that I was bound to get strange looks at the register. Another day, another joke from the cashier about how parched I must be.

I used to think that it was my family that had a diet coke problem, then I realized that I did, too.

It wasn’t like I was addicted to cocaine — or even cigarettes. I just drank a lot of diet coke. It was normal, yummy and supposedly better for me, since it contained zero calories.

(Side note: If we’re being honest, there was also a time that I could easily drink a carton of orange juice in a day. I thought it was better for me than diet coke. I loved it, and I practically never got sick! That’s beside the point.)

About a decade later, I’ve realized this myth. Too much of any substance can be a bad thing, including diet sodas.

I’ve also realized, I always have a drink in my hand — soda, juice, coffee, tea, beer, wine — all of the above.

(Before you get started, I know I should drink more water. And believe me, I drink far more water than I used to, but recovery is a road, not a destination.)

Very berry and kiwi fizzy goodness served daily at my local lounge.

Now, I think I’m beautiful and so does my husband. I mean, I was made in God’s image. Nevertheless, weight is an issue that runs in my family, and I don’t want to deal with it’s negative consequences.

Recently, I’ve been experimenting with calorie free drinks — with caffeine and without.

Different times call for different measures, of course, but if I can avoid drinking my calories, I’d like to do so.

I’ve found a couple great substitutions for my obsessions:

  1. Sparkling Water
  2. Drink Enhancers
  3. Hot Tea

Craving a soda? Drink a combination of sparkling water and any flavor drink enhancer that you so desire!

If you buy pre-flavored sparkling waters, you’ll be stuck with that flavor. I buy pure sparkling water, fizzy water, if you will. I proceed to add orange, strawberry kiwi or any other flavor enhancer I desire or have in the cupboards.

(Be sure to check the labels of the drink enhancers to make sure it contains zero calories, if that’s your goal, as it is mine.)

It’s even easier and cheaper if you’re craving juice. Just skip the sparking and head straight for water.

I know some are opposed to tap water, but it works fine for me. Plus, if you squirt your enhancer into your glass first, the pressure of the faucet will mix the water and enhancer without any extra effort. It’s the little things in life.

If we’re all honest, sometimes we need more than a no-caffeine substitute. I’ve worked off and on in a coffee shop for about 4 years, so I totally understand.

However, like it’s been said, everything is better in moderation.

If you’re at work, go ahead drink a coffee, a skinny latte, an Americano — heck, drink a 20 oz. java chip dirty Frappuccino with whip cream and dark chocolate drizzle. Some days call for cheats.

If I’m at home though, I stick to tea. It gives a little bit less of a high and a little bit less of a low, for my less-stress day.

I still have a to-do list, but I don’t need that extra kick.

Plus, tea presents a multitude of tasty options, too! It can be enjoyed hot or cold. Though, I am wary of adding sugar or cream to my tea. It defeats my purpose.

I still have an occasional diet coke. I still have an occasional regular coke, but it’s fun to experiment and be healthier at the same time.

What do you drink to quench your thirsts and snag your caffeine buzz? I’m totally open to new ideas!