This post comes to us from Cheyenne Richards. For nearly 11 years, I couldn’t find a reason to quit drinking diet coke. In fact, I had a whole line of thought wrapped around why it was permissible as a part of my everyday diet. So I gave up trying to quit. I admonished the too simple idea of no diet cokes, and I focused on the bigger picture of my overall diet. My dietitian at RESULTS suggested we review my daily schedule and intake, keeping in mind the codependent nature of both. Here’s what our assessment revealed:

  • I always ate standing up due to a busy schedule
  • Snacks took precedence over full meals
  • Beverages (including the infamous diet coke) were used frequently as food replacements
  • Increased stress made snacking worse
Poor diet and stress enhance the problems of addiction. In my case, poor eating habits were exacerbating my excessive diet coke intake. At one point I found myself consuming more than a six-pack a day, where diet cokes were replacing nutritious foods that my body was craving. Recognizing these things, we set a nutrition goal of eating three full meals a day. That’s it. Fully assembled meals:

  • Look more appealing and increase the likelihood that the meal will be eaten as is (no going back to the fridge or pantry).
  • Encourage appropriate intake of a variety of foods and nutrients (this is particularly healthy if you model MyPlate), which is more satisfying compared to snacking.
  • Help you avoid oversized portions and mindless eating.
  • Lessen meal replacement needs.
After only two weeks of eating three meals a day, I noticed increased energy levels and I drank less diet coke by default. After a month on this plan, I was diet coke free.

Besides providing needed energy to the body, proper nutrition can affect a person’s temperament. Sure, I consciously tried harder to find diet coke replacements, but I truly did not have to do much beyond eating three full meals a day. Research points to diet influencing brain structure and behavior, with certain foods increasing the production of mood enhancers like serotonin. Basically, eating enough of the right foods freed me of my 11 year “crutch” turned addiction.

Bio:

Cheyenne Richards is an Austin-based businesswoman and dietitian. Holding both MBA and RDN credentials, she is currently focusing her work on children’s health. For more information visit www.toddlerchow.com.

References:
  1. Mahan, K.L., Escott-Stump, S., Raymond, J.L. (2012) Krause’s Food and Nutrition Care Process, 13th Edition. St. Louis, Missouris: Elsevier.
  2. Dennett, C. (2016). Eating healthy? There’s an app for that. The Seattle Times. Retrieved from http://www.seattletimes.com/life/wellness/eating-healthy-theres-an-app-for-that/
  3. Aubrey, A. (2012). Calorie tracking apps may help boost weight loss. NPR. Retrieved from http://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2012/12/10/166889323/ga-ga-over-mobile-calorie-tracking-app-study-finds-it-may-be-a-helpful-tool.
  4. PBSParent. https://extension.unh.edu/resources/file/Resource001979_Rep2914.pdf
  5. University of New Hampshire, USDA and NH Countries cooperating. Adapted 7/11 https://unh.edu/resources/files/Resource1979_Rep2914/pdf6. Smiechowski, J. (2014) Nutrition and Recovery: How Healthy Eating Can. TheFix. Retrieved from https://www.thefix.com/content/nutrition-and-addiction-recovery-how-healthy-eating-can-help-you-stay-sober?page=all

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