A little while back I posted “Back to Basics“. In it, I talked about a need to ground myself, starting with keeping a closer eye on what I’ve been eating. This is not to say that I had gone back to how I ate before I lost the weight by any means (I will never ever go back to that again) but I was allowing little parts of it to creep in. For me, sometimes just physically seeing written down the food I ate in one day all together makes me feel more accountable. So, I took it on for the last few weeks.
I have to admit, there were absolutely days when I did not write down what I ate, but I think these were the days I actually learned the most. I found out something interesting, I have what I’m calling “gateway foods.” That is because these are things that, while on their own aren’t too awful of a choice, cause me to want more, even less healthy foods.
Let me give an example. Diet Coke is what I believe to be my biggest gateway food. Ok, yes, I know it’s a drink and not a food but it is by far the strongest connection I have to my unhealthy past. Before I decided to get healthy earlier this year, I was drinking at least six (yes six!!) Diet Cokes a day. I was so addicted that when I decided to stop drinking it, I went through multiple days of withdrawal. I dealt with major headaches and the strangest part was when I was thirsty I would crave soda rather than water. I know this can be hard for some people to understand, so let me compare it to the way most people need their morning coffee. I truly believe that it is not only about the caffeine, but about the habit, the routine, of drinking they coffee. It was the same for me with soda.
I now let myself drink soda every once in a while, but even when I do, I allow myself just one. I know, it sounds kind of crazy that something as simple as a soda could provide a gateway to unhealthy eating, but somewhere in my head is a connection between Diet Coke and unhealthy foods. Last week i realized just how true this is when I literally ate more chips purely because I wanted to finish my soda and it goes best with something salty.
The day that this happened was also one where I wasn’t writing down what I was eating, I had not held myself accountable and so I was able to let this disappear. I have learned so much about myself this year, but one of the biggest things is that when something really just causes problems, cut it out. I think gateway foods should be added to that list, starting with Diet Coke. And writing this here is the ultimate in accountability. It’s not an app in my phone that I can delete, or a food journal that I can forget about. It’s here, out for the world to see forever. So here I am, saying it, I’m done drinking Diet Coke. It’s serves me no positive purpose, and is always a gateway to treating my body in a way I regret with food. There is absolutely no reason why I should ever drink it again, I’m removing the gateway.
So, while I may not have stuck with writing in Myfitnesspal as much as I would have liked to, I did learn something about myself during my attempt to go back to basics. I learned that while my willpower muscle has grown very very strong over the last year, there are certain things that completely remove that willpower altogether and so I need to remove them. I am not promising that I’m perfect, or that I will never make a mistake with this, but as of right now I’m making a commitment to myself to remove this gateway food, in hopes that it will only increase my healthy lifestyle. Here’s hoping I can use that willpower to its fullest potential as I try to remove one of my favorite “foods” from my diet.