I'm kind of an old dog who was used to her tricks. I knew I wasn't making the best choices health-wise but I justified it by thinking I wasn't making really bad choices. However, even the not so great can add up over time and it will take its toll.
I am here to say, that if I can make some changes then seriously (!) anyone can. I have never been a big drinker (every now and then I may have had a beer or something) and I also have never smoked in my life. That wasn't a big deal with my friends because they were used to it. But I would just drink Diet Coke when I was out with them.
So what was the harm in drinking Diet Coke when everyone around me was having wine or beer? Well, maybe 6 per day was the harm…ahem, sometimes even more.
But I wasn't overweight and I thought foolishly that the caffeine was giving me energy. I didn't think the sugar was a big deal (or any other ingredient in the beloved drink). Well, one day it caught up with me. I realized Diet Coke was actually sapping my energy and I noticed that my jeans weren't fitting quite the same.
I thought if I increased exercise and I started to watch what I ate then I could bounce back like before. Nope, not anymore. That wasn't enough. At almost 50, the 40+ years of consistent Diet Coke intake was about to break the machine I needed most- my body!
So giving up Diet Coke can't be that hard, right? ha. I suddenly realized that it was going to take a lot more than giving up pop. Yes, I grew up in Chicago so that is what we call it.
Giving up Diet Coke seemed like it was going to be the thing that made me “healthy.” But when I stopped and really looked inward I began to see some recent health scares must have been connected to the years of bad habits.
It was time to switch things up and that meant changing my ways.
The health scares thankfully weren't really bad so I took that as a huge sign that my time of living on sugar was up. I needed to get off the sugar and give my body a break to reboot, rebuild and strengthen if I was going to enjoy this good life.
So how do I do that? It meant changing everything I was doing and start over. I first got off Diet Coke. Not an easy task but this time I was committed to it so it worked.
Then, the next step was quitting sugar. That breakup was probably the hardest thing I have ever gone through. And it's why I'll never go back because I never, ever want to do that again. It was brutal emotionally as well as physically.
I was attached to the habits of sugar in every food at all times of my day. I needed to not only learn what I could swap (and enjoy) but also made me rethink my daily routine.
The idea of getting healthy is a lot more than just eating well. It's about focusing attention of good things. It's about finding new things to distract me in ways that will support this new journey. But it's also about being kind to myself when I felt like I couldn't do it any longer.
There wasn't any desire to be perfect. I really just wanted to be better. And when I clarified that distinction I was able to make this a new lifestyle.
It became my goal: I was going to create the lifestyle of my dreams and it was going to be healthier. There was no going back. I was now dreaming, creating and disrupting my life in order to keep moving forward.
There is no age limit to make a change. There are endless possibilities.
Remember: you have the ball, you are still in control. You can always pivot and make your dreams happen.