Soft Drinks, Runs, and Other Stuff

First, I should update you on my challenge to not drink soft drinks after a life-long love affair with Diet Mountain Dew and Diet Pepsi. I lasted 12 days with no soft drinks. And then I caved. I knew that the first few days would be rough, and that I would have headaches from the lack of caffeine, but even after 12 days, I still felt bad. Had I stuck it out, it might have gotten better, but I have been too busy to feel crappy. I was combining late-night musical practices with early-morning Tabata and HIIT classes, and I was wiped out. Adding a headache to my already worn-out body was not cutting it. The day I caved, I hadn’t planned to have a soft drink. We were at our local Mexican restaurant for our weekly Wednesday teacher lunch, and when our server asked what I WANTED to drink, after a few seconds of hesitation, I said I wanted a Diet Pepsi. It was true – I desperately wanted a diet soft drink. While some of my friends have said that after giving up soft drinks they no longer liked the taste, I loved it. It tasted delicious…that little fizz as it trickled down my throat was a welcome treat.

I think part of the problem with my giving up soft drinks altogether is that I had nothing to substitute with. I hate coffee and tea, and milk and juices have too many calories (and no caffeine). I enjoy a soft drink; I don’t enjoy water. I like water when I am working out, but to sit down to relax and drink a glass of water? Nope. I enjoy wine coolers, but I can’t really drink those daily. I don’t feel that I failed in this experiment. I am now limiting myself to one or two soft drinks a day, and am drinking a lot more water. Having musical practice every night has helped because one shouldn’t drink soft drinks when singing, so I only drink water in the late afternoons and evenings.

Another first this summer: I joined the high school’s corporate challenge team for the Biggest Loser. I have coached teams before, but have never participated. I have had about five to seven pounds that I’ve wanted to lose since the beginning of the year, but have had no success. Because I have to wear a unitard – a SILVER unitard – in the musical, I have incentive to get rid of my gut. Since I am only five feet tall, five pounds makes a big difference. I gain weight only in my gut, so picture five pounds of ground beef pasted to my middle; it is not attractive!  Picture that ground beef in shiny silver spandex, and it’s just gross. The week before our initial weigh-in my family went on vacation. Typically, I gain weight on vacation, but I was determined to control myself this time. I ended up losing three pounds (after not being able to lose a pound all summer). While that’s great, I’d rather have lost it during the corporate challenge so it would help my team. My youngest daughter started Paleo this week. She has done it before, and it gives her a good jump start on losing weight. She bought her own groceries, so there are a lot of foods in our frig marked ‘NO’ – we are not to touch her food. I don’t have that kind of discipline to give up bread and sweets (or the candy that’s backstage when we’re rehearsing).

Running has been a huge challenge this summer. I am not training for anything, which is what usually keeps me motivated. Last summer Gary and I ran several 5Ks, so I worked on my speed all summer, and was actually pretty fast by the end of the summer. This summer I suck. Every run has become a run/walk; the heat has just kicked my butt. This morning I ran 2.3 miles with no walking, and it was under a 10:00 pace, so that was a great run (it used to be a warm-up). It’s frustrating, but I hope to improve once the musical is over.

In the next 14 days, I have one day with no musical practice or performance. Today we begin getting my daughter’s first classroom ready for the new school year, and this week we need to really begin to get my youngest daughter ready to move to college. And there’s my classroom to spruce up, and I am taking a class that is much harder than I anticipated. Next week my oldest daughter and her boys will arrive, and we are hopeful that Gary’s son and his wife will be here. With all of this excitement, do you see why I need Diet Pepsi? Though we are crazy busy, I wouldn’t trade it. My life is filled with beautiful people whom I enjoy spending time with; I am physically able to exercise and to perform; our kids are all doing well and meeting their goals; and we have jobs that allow us to help others.

Do something healthy today. We all spend too much time looking forward: we can’t wait for the weekend, for fall, for football season, for Christmas, for spring, for summer break, etc, etc. We only have today. Don’t let it pass you by without making someone else’s day a little brighter, or without letting your family and friends know that you value them. Value yourself. Take a moment to appreciate who you are.

Peace and Love…

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