My Health Quest: Leftovers From Diets Past

This post and series will discuss intentional weight loss struggles and may be difficult for anyone with an eating disorder

Over the years and through many diets, I have picked up some good habits and broke some bad ones. I wanted to mention these since they were not things I needed to change when starting the new quest.

Carbonated Beverages

In a Polish restaurant in Chicago, their menu offered translations in both Polish and English. In Polish, it read “soda,” and in English, it read “pop.”

I drank a lot of pop for a long time, even more, when jobs provided it for free. Breakfast in college consisted mainly of Mountain Dew. Later, I switched to Diet Coke/Coke Zero as my primary, but I always chose Dr. Pepper if given the option.

Even in diet form, I knew pop wasn’t the best choice, but it was a hard habit to break. The fates provided an excellent motivator: Did you know there’s a link between pop and kidney stones? The medical community disagrees about whether the carbonation or the contents of the pop itself causes the problem. Either way, the level of pain made making better drink choices a higher priority.

I switched to tea, coffee, water, and juice. I would occasionally have a Coke slushie for the flavor at the movie theater, but 2020 helped end that habit too. On special occasions, a bottle of Henry Weinhard’s Rootbeer or their Black Cherry soda (they’re not a sponsor – just a recommendation) works nicely.

Fun Fact: I have no sponsors, so any recommendations are genuine. Although, I have an Amazon Associates account. If you buy anything I recommend from a link, I get a penny or even two.

Photo by Kathy A. Bugajsky

Coffee

My ideal cup of coffee consisted of four to five packets of sugar and two creamers. I learned to make coffee on a movie set, so I’m used to it being unnaturally strong. For me, coffee is more of a caffeine delivery system than a beverage. Once I made a perfect cup of coffee for my roommate. His instant review spoken after his eyes rolled back in his head was, “First, the sweetness knocks you out, and as you try to recover, the strength hits.” Like I said, perfect.

I began slowly decreasing the amount of cream until eventually switching over to cinnamon. It’s weird, but cinnamon affects the taste buds similarly to the cream. Since I had a billion contact lens cases, I filled one with ground cinnamon and kept it on me since it isn’t as common of an option in most places. Eventually, I stopped altogether.

Over time, I switched sugar to Splenda in lower and lower amounts until I didn’t add any. This whole process took about a year to do. I would stay at a level until I acclimated my tastebuds and then dropped down another level. It’s been nearly four years now, and I drink my coffee black. Why on Earth did I do this? Mainly because I would rather use my calorie budget toward food and not drinks.

The amount of coffee I drank changed during 2020 because of working from home. I would drink two to three cups in the afternoon at the office, which I now realize was an excuse to get up and walk to the other side of the floor than for the need for some coffee. I found myself not needing it in the afternoons at all at home.

Fun Fact: In the books, James Bond’s preferred drink is an Americano, and he doesn’t drink tea. I used this trivia to get the company we had a work to add an Americano option to their machine. They responded to my email with a picture of Sean Connery, saying they would look into it.

Photo by Kathy A. Bugajsky

Breakfast

I’m not a breakfast person. I blame eggs. Eggs are evil and make up like 95% of breakfast options in restaurants (not a real statistic just how it feels when you hate eggs). So many different diets would have been easier if I liked the protein. A note in my baby book states, “no matter how I prepare them, she will not eat eggs.” I tried, but they turn to cement in my stomach. In “Eating Right 4 Your Type,” it says my blood type doesn’t make enough stomach acid to break down certain foods easily. The smell, the taste, and the pain make it easy for me to give a hard pass on breakfast in general.

When I followed the Slow Carb Diet from the Four Hour Body book, I drank protein shakes (pre-made and flavored) first thing in the morning until I switched to the Keto diet.

For the last two and a half years, I make homemade Bulletproof coffee when I wake up. Bulletproof coffee consists of black coffee, a tablespoon of Irish butter, and a tablespoon of coconut oil blended. I pre-slice the butter and brew the coffee in advance, keeping them in the fridge. My morning routine is to pour coffee into a Magic Bullet blender cup, plop in one piece of butter, scoop out some coconut oil, blend for ten to fifteen seconds, pour into a coffee mug, microwave for a minute and a half, stir, and drink while checking email.

It sets my metabolism for the day and decreases my hunger levels overall. I’ve read articles saying neither is scientifically accurate, both are true, parts are genuine, and it doesn’t matter because it is true for me. I tried experiments of switching it with other things, and I’ve had the most success with it. My cholesterol remains low, I get caffeine, and it tastes good. Until something better comes along, this is my breakfast.

I want full transparency with what I was already doing before starting this quest. Those above habits took longer than six months for me to build and/or break. I don’t want to mislead you into thinking I tackled all of this in a few easy steps. Lifestyle changes do not come easily and I’m proud of everyone who wants to do them.

Next up: My Health Quest: Tools of the Quest

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