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Never say never

March 1, 2012

I am not a quitter.

I am opposed to the idea of all or nothing.

I believe in MODERATION.

Even when we’re talking about bad habits. After all, everyone has one (or, in my case, five…… thousand).

One of them was my dependency on soda. A can of soda first thing in the morning and last thing at night. I was having about 3 to 5 a day. It was my pick-me-up, my panacea, my crutch… If I didn’t get any, I would get cranky — okay, MORE cranky.

Finally, two years ago – after much nagging by family and friends – I made the bold decision to cut out soda from my life. I was getting older, gaining weight, my sleeping pattern was wacky and I was not bouncing back as quickly from the abuse I was giving my body.

At the beginning, I kept failing at it. I was sneaking it in when no one was around. I would lie if anyone asked if I had had any soda. Then I’d be plagued with guilt and shame. I felt pretty pathetic. And I really thought I couldn’t do it. That I was doomed to age badly with osteoporosis.

But then a friend pointed out that if drinking soda was one of the worst things I was doing to myself then maybe I just need to relax – to quit being so hard on myself. There were worse things I could be doing. And so I thought, “What if I just cut back instead?” A little soda wasn’t bad. It was that I was drinking it like water. Suddenly a gigantic eco-friendly light bulb went off in my head!

So when I said cut out I didn’t mean never ever. And it’s that distinction that has allowed me to dramatically cut down on my soda intake. I went from having soda every single day to once a month – if that.

The key has been not saying NEVER. Allowing myself to have it on very rare occasions has made avoiding it so much easier. It’s not draining on my self-control and I feel a lot happier. It’s a little way of tricking myself but it has made all the difference.

And when I “slip” I’m a lot kinder to myself. There’s no beating myself up. There’s no disappointment. There’s no feeling of failure. There are no late night soda benders – where I’m up all night and I wallow in self-recrimination the next day. Because no one’s perfect. I would love to tell you that as a yogi I eat well and do well all the time but that couldn’t be farther from the truth. By taking the word NEVER out of my vocabulary I am loving myself better. I don’t get as easily derailed and I’m more likely to get back on and start again. To relax, relate and RELEASE!

So write NEVER on a piece of paper, rip it up and throw it away. You can thank me later. I accept cupcakes as a form of payment.

And if you have any tips that you use to stay on track, please let me know! Let’s get some ideas going!

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From → Body, Mind, Nutrition

6 Comments
  1. jodi permalink

    This is a great post, Samantha! I have lots of experience with the self recrimination and blame. When I started to stop beating myself up for failures, they lost a lot of their power and hold over me, and I got happier. Awesome advice.
    p.s. what are you drinking tonight?

    • Exactly! Suddenly my focus turned towards the good I had accomplished rather than the one moment of weakness! Not to mention obsessing over perfection is so emotionally draining! 🙂

      Today is actually the 30th day of being alcohol-free so I’ll be drinking plenty of water in preparation for tomorrow’s one glass of wine… Why only one? Because I’m pretty sure that’s all it’s going to take to knock me off my seat.

      Cheers!

  2. I really enjoyed reading your post. I personally struggled with the soda thing myself. But the point about if soda is your worst habit then how bad can it be is a good one. I don’t know if I have any good tips for staying on track. I recntly tried limiting how much soda I bought at the store. I told myself that amount was my weekly allotment. Didn’t work. When I ran out I just bought more. I’ve noticed that the longer I practice yoga the less I want soda without even trying, and I don’t experince the withdrawals I had previously tried to cut back. I think what you’re doing is great. One day at a time. Do the best you can each day.

    • I had one advantage. Hubs, who does the groceries, only goes to Whole Foods and they don’t sell regular soda there. At least not Coca Cola or Pepsi. And I was too lazy to go to a grocery store myself. (Score 1 for laziness and 0 for soda.) So there was no soda in the house since hubs didn’t drink the stuff. I also temporarily replaced it with organic lemonade which helped a lot. It was only recently that I could have soda in the house without pouring it down my gullet.

      It is an incredibly slow process… Getting over it, I mean. Just little itty bitty baby steps. 🙂

      A day without soda is already a resounding success! Make sure you’re acknowledging those!

      Thank you for taking the time to read my post!

  3. I love this idea. I find it so sad that so many of us have a guilty or shameful relationship with what we put in our mouths — you can tell in the language we use to talk about how food is ‘bad for us’. I don’t actually think it’s helpful. This approach makes so much more sense to me. It’s freeing! Thanks for sharing.

    • Admittedly, I’m still learning that shaming people is not the best way to get people to do the right thing. What I’m actually doing is deepening the negative feelings they’re already having about what they’re doing… And if the hole gets deep enough, there’s a chance they can’t get out.

      Thank YOU for reading!

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