Five Things to Drink Instead of Diet Coke

Writing this post feels a bit like speaking at my own funeral. I love Diet Coke so much. Diet Coke is my friend.

But fuck Diet Coke, because it’s my greatest addiction.

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But I love you Diet Coke. I was just playing. Come back 😥

Kicking the Habit

I’ve tried so many times to kick the habit. I failed, I succeeded, and failed.

I kid you not that I had serious withdrawals. If I didn’t drink Diet Coke by 1 PM, my lower back would start hurting. I would get a terrible headache. Wtf is that about.

An End to Extreme Approaches

I used to take an extreme approach to quitting the great Diet Coke. “Starting today,” my dumbass would say, “no Diet Coke for all of eternity.”

And by 1 PM my back would hurt. And by day three, you’d find me underneath an overpass, injecting Diet Coke directly into my thigh.

I’ve stopped taking this approach. Quitting my dearest friend is too hard.

Instead, when I want a Diet Coke, I just try to drink something else. And sometimes, just sometimes, I have a fucking Diet Coke. And it’s glorious.

Five Alternatives to Diet Coke

1. Water. Need I say more?

2. Green Tea. Usually, water doesn’t scratch the itch. And oddly enough, coffee doesn’t scratch the itch for me either. I’ve never been a huge tea drinker, but Green Tea somehow does the trick for me. And after substituting Green Tea for Diet Coke a few times, it actually became much easier. It’s a habit thing. If you don’t like Green Tea, maybe you’ll like  Black Tea or one of those zesty orange flavored teas.

3. Coffee. Maybe coffee will work for you. Coffee is delicious, and it has health benefits. The coffee at my office is disgusting and burnt.  It gives me heartburn. So choose a coffee that is not the coffee at my office.

4. Vitamin Water Zero. Ok so arguably this is just as terrible for you as Diet Coke. I don’t know, it probably is. But I find it less addicting. And I guess it has vitamins. So sometimes I just want a Diet Coke and I have a vitamin water instead. Then I don’t want Diet Coke anymore.

5. Crack. Sometimes, you need something a bit harder. Crack is probably equally addicting to Diet Coke, but you won’t find it at Duane Reade. Once you develop a full blown crack habit, your Diet Coke habit won’t seem so bad. It’s all about perspective.

I can’t remember if crack is one of those drugs that makes you skinny, but try it for yourself and let me know.

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Five Awesome Books for Fitness

If you’re smart like me, you read a lot of books. And if you’re sexy like me, some of those books are about health and nutrition.

Here’s the thing – I want to look good. But what I want more than that is to be fully immortal.

So these aren’t diet books. They’re books about health. And some of them contain new or different thinking which might be controversial. But they’re all interesting.

  1. Eating on the Wild Side” by Jo Robinson. I fucking love this book. So will you please read it? I don’t know. Maybe you’ll find it boring.The premise is that even if you eat fruits and veggies, our modern varieties are not necessarily giving you optimum nutrition, because we’ve bred out some really good stuff. Each chapter covers a category of produce. The author provides the following info:
    1. the history of the crop;
    2. the genetic history;
    3. how to pick the most nutritious variety;
    4. how to prepare it for optimum nutrition;
    5. how to store it for optimum nutrition;
    6. interesting facts that will surprise you

The book is fantastic. Its just brilliant. Even if you’re not so into nutrition, it’s just a super interesting book about plants. I listened to it on audiobook maybe three times. While exercising, of course 😉

2.  “In Defense of Food” by Michael Pollan. Even though it’s not so old, this book is basically a classic. The info is so basic, and the author is just so smart. The premise is to just eat fucking food. It’s great.

Pollan rails against “nutritionism” and tells us why we shouldn’t really trust what we get from nutritional studies. He gives me lots of fuel for my anti- FDA government conspiracy fire. And yet he’s not at all a conspiracy theorist. He’s just a smartie pants.

3. “Good Calories, Bad Calories”  by Gary Taubes. This one is a classic in nutrition circles. Just give it a read.

4. “Grain Brain” by Dr. David Perlmutter.

This is where my list starts to get a bit controversial. Dr. Perlmutter is kind of one of those “hippie” doctors.  You may not agree with him. I tend to agree with a lot of what he says, and I think he’s very careful in his claims.

This book isn’t about weight loss. It’s about how our grain-heavy diet affects our brain. He also tells us how to eat to best preserve our brain function into old age. Hint: it’s not bagels.

I think it’s a great book and an interesting book.

5. “The Fast Diet” by Dr. Michael Mosley and Mimi Spencer

Hate the title. Love the book.

This isn’t a diet book. It’s a primer to Intermittent Fasting, and it takes a very gentle approach at that.

Basically, this book touts the benefits of greatly reducing your caloric intake for two days a week.  So it’s not really about “fasting” per se. But if you don’t know much about fasting, this book is a great start. It’s very approachable. And I love that it gives both a male and female perspective on fasting.

But wait! There’s more!!

If you just so happen to be an ignorant fool who doesn’t want to read a book, you are in luck. The Fast Diet was based on a BBC Documentary, also featuring Dr. Mosley. You can check it out on youtube here. It’s great.

While you’re at it, check out my list of awesome documentaries here.

Happy Reading 😀

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A Way Out: Eating Without Counting

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This plate contains meat, mac and cheese, and starchy veggies prepared in oil. But notice how it’s mostly veggies. And underneath is entirely greens.

I’m about to describe how I eat, in general.

I think that for most people, a diet like mine will allow them to lose weight – even without exercise. And yes, even without counting calories.

All you have to do is listen to your appetite.

This is basically it:

  • This is KEY: I’d guess that 3/4 of my diet is veggies, by volume. I eat as many veggies as I want. Many greens, but I don‘t shy away from starchy vegetables.
  • I dress my salads however I want – sometimes including croutons, seeds etc. I personally only like a small amount of dressing, and usually no dressing at all.
  • I eat a small amount of meat several times a week. Many weeks I don’t eat any meat at all.
  • If I’m not eating a TON of greens for a particular meal, I use small plates. Large plates are ridiculous.
  • I eat lots of soups, usually broth based (rarely creamy)
  • I eat lots of eggs, every day. With a little bit of olive or coconut oil.
  • I’m not big on dairy, but I have it when I want it
  • I try to stay away from refined foods
  • I eat not too many beans, but probably more than most people
  • I eat 1 or 2 squares of chocolate every day
  • Some days, I drink wine
  • Occasionally, I eat bad stuff

The foods I eat most often are:
greens, eggs, sweet potatoes, avocados, tomatoes and onions

On Meal Frequency (and this is important!!):
 I eat as often as I want, but I NEVER eat simply because it’s meal time. Some days I eat very often, and some days not at all. I eat completely according to my appetite.

On Physical Activity:
I stay active, but only because I enjoy it. I don‘t do harsh exercises. I walk often, hike often, and sometimes jog.

Three caveats to all of the above

1. Losing weight is different than maintaining weight. What I’ve described, to me, is a healthy diet – based on what we know now. If you eat like this, and according to your own appetite, then your weight should take care of itself, barring some other major issues.

If you go from eating processed foods to eating like this – I imagine you’ll lose weight without counting calories. But if you always eat like this, and you haven’t been losing weight, then of course you won’t. For you, adding exercise or cutting out some calories might work.

2. Getting from A to B is a trip. If you rely on processed foods and carbs for the majority of your needs, it could be very difficult to suddenly transition to a diet like this. You don‘t want to torture yourself, and yes – it may take time. I suggest adding vegetables to your diet first, rather than taking anything away. Believe it or not, I actually enjoy and prefer eating this way. It just took some getting used to.

3. This diet makes me feel full and satisfied. If this doesn’t make you feel full and satisfied, it’s not going to work for you.  This is why I suggest adding rather than subtracting. Fill up on veggies that you love, and begin to gingerly try ones you don‘t care for. You might find that you get to an ideal weight without even trying.

Sometimes, Counting Calories is Good.

In some situations, counting calories might make sense. For more on that, check out my post On Counting Calories.

Happy not-counting 😀

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What’s More Important – Diet or Exercise?

I’m going with diet.

Yes, they’re both important. Blah blah blah. But I firmly believe that when it comes to weight loss, physical activity is secondary to food intake.

While it’s true that some people don’t move enough, it seems to me that many more people are reasonably active, and still experiencing issues with their weight.  Perhaps I am biased because this was my personal experience – always overweight, and yet always quite active. But in any event, I’m not the only person who feels this way.

The typical Western diet is calorie dense.

In general, food is primary because while we are designed to want to eat until we’re full, we are also designed to eat foods that had a much lower caloric density than the foods we typically encounter today. Admittedly, we were also designed to work a bit harder for those foods (a factor in favor of exercise, I suppose).

Still, typical Western foods are so calorific that even a large amount of exercise won’t offset poor eating habits. And to make things worse, the caloric density of these foods  is probably magnified by our general over-reliance on carbohydrates – the consumption of which tends to affect our metabolic state in favor of storage.

For some, exercise can increase appetite.

My advice to anyone, simply based on my own experience, would be to avoid starting caloric restriction and a workout regimen at the same time.

Of course, you have to know yourself. But in my experience, exercise increases my appetite noticeably. In fact, exercise has been shown to both increase or decrease your appetite depending on a number of factors.

In life, we expect clean and predictable answers. People will say “Oh you can never lose weight without exercising.” But that’s simply untrue, because the truth is much so much more complex than what some person put in a single news headline.

You can look at what scientific studies tell you, or you can sit down and mindfully examine your own life experience, incorporating what you pick up from the news as well. Our bodies and brains are unique, and in the end, what works for you depends on more factors than a scientific study can possible consider. You need to know yourself.

Consider – how did you get where you are now?

If you have a lot of weight to lose, maybe it’s time to consider this – what caused you to put on the weight in the first place? And be honest with yourself.

If you overeat often, you should probably deal with your eating habits before dealing with your physical activity. If you find it’s difficult to get full, then you want to begin opting for more veggies with every meal. Simply adding veggies may cause you to eat less of other more calorie dense foods. This was the case for me. Of course – I still exercise regularly for the health benefits.

On the other hand, if you’ve put on a pound or two each year slowly throughout the years with age – maybe you’ll do fine just adding enough activity to compensate for your slowing metabolism. Try it out, and see how it works for you.

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