Diet Coke

Dave Begins: “I’m an addict, my problem is Dave and my drugs of choice are excessive food intake and exercise avoidance!!!”

Reader Responds: “Hi Dave and welcome!!!”

I want to take this opportunity to wish you a Blessed and Merry Christmas!  May your Christmas be full of joy and serenity and hope!

If you’ve read any of my journal entries from 2009, you know that it has been a really rough year for me and one that can’t end soon enough — one day at a time!  My mother died at 6:00am on New Year’s Day.  My closest female friend died on April 16th.  I nearly died of an allergic reaction that sent me into kidney failure in late June.  Then in mid-August I came down with the painful condition known as sciatica (on my left side).  I guess after a year like 2009 I at least deserve to be referred to as a “survivor”, huh?  😀

I thank God for the grace I’ve needed to cope with the drama of 2009 — one day at a time.  God’s grace is always a precious gift and I hope that I always feel gratitude when I experience it (not to mention always realize when God is pouring out His grace on me to begin with — rather than assuming I’m “making it” on my own, when indeed I’m not).

Because I’m afraid that the grief of my mother’s loss will be overwhelming on Christmas day, I’m going to PLAN (in writing) my food choices for tomorrow ahead of time.  I may need to revise my plan, but AT LEAST I’LL HAVE A PLAN. WHY is PLANNING IMPORTANT (especially at stressful times)?  Because “those who (consciously) fail to plan are actually (subconsciously) planning to fail” and (the bottom line is) I don’t think nearly as  clearly when I’m under stress (Who does?), especially when it comes to anything to do with food.

I love my momma and I miss her more than words can even begin to express!  But NO amount of insane eating will ever bring her back to life in this world.  She suffered much in the several years leading up to her death and I can find at least some sense of peace believing that my momma is no longer suffering.


Dave: I‘m an addict and my problem is Dave!  My drugs of choice are food addiction and exercise avoidance. I abuse my body with food in order to numb painful emotions (especially fear and rage) and avoid exercise because I lack the discipline to take good care of my body and because I’ve elevated lazyness to an artform. I’m grateful to be experiencing the gift of recovery from both sides of my addiction today — just for today — one day at a time!

Reader Responds: Hi Dave and welcome!!!

spilledicecreamconeAs an addict who has a long history of abusing my body with food, for today I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve done some crazy stuff when it comes to acting out with my drugs of choice — especially food.  My insane behaviors with food include, but are not limited to…

— Picking up food that I’ve dropped on the floor and then eating it.
— Picking up food that I’ve dropped on the sidewalk or even parking lot and then eating it.
— Eating food that is still half-frozen.
— Eating food that is partially stale.
— Eating food so fast that I don’t even hardly taste what I’m  eating.
— Eating food (which includes drinking beverages) so fast that I nearly choke on it.
— Eating so much food that it leaves me over-stuffed and short of breath.
— Eating so much food that it leaves me so lethargic that you would think I was on dope.
— Circa 1984: At one meal eating 19 pieces of Kentucky Fried Chicken, along with all sorts of sides (e.g., mashed potatoes and gravy, slaw, biscuits, baked beans, etc.) while INSISTING on drinking ONLY Diet Coke! My justification was that “real food addicts would have ate 20 pieces of friend chicken, while I _only_ ate 19 pieces!

Other than these things, my behavior with food over the years has been reasonable sane.  HA!!! 😀

So I was on my way to shop at my neighborhood Walgreen’s last night and I noticed a gentleman that I assumed to be a Nicotine Addict toss his cigarette (which he didn’t extinguish) on the SIDEWALK in front of the store, only to emerge from said store a few minutes later and proceed to PICK UP AND PLACE IN HIS MOUTH his still-burning cigarette!  Honest!!!

Before I could cope a totally judgmental attitude toward this smoking stranger, I remembered some of the INSANE things I’d done with food (see my Short List above) and realized that I was in NO position to judge the man who did the SAME behavior with a lit cigarette that I had done with food…even when I’m NOT overeating I have been known to place food in my mouth that has landed on the floor, a sidewalk or parking lot. “There but for the grace of God go I”, eh?

Why be so open about my checkered history with food?  Because I learned a long time ago that I/we addicts are only as sick as our worst secrets. Also, when I share my sickest secrets I am much LESS likely to repeat them! To get them “out in the open” also reduces the weight of my guilt and shame that these sick secrets have caused me.  In recovery I am afforded many opportunities to come out of secrecy and into the light of honesty.

Ya' Just Gotta' Love Those SUPERSIZED Veggieburgers...with CHEESE!!!

Ya' Just Gotta' Love Those SUPERSIZED Veggieburgers...with CHEESE!!!

I should have known that it would happen sooner or later! Sure enough, during a recent visit to the drive-thru lane at a local Burger King restaurant the employee waiting on me asked if I “wanted cheese” on my VEGGIEBURGER! When does the suggestive selling stop?!? Calgon, take me away!!!

As mentioned elsewhere on OveractiveFork, I have little patience for suggestive selling!!! I find it rude, disrespectful and have observed that it reduces the chance that my order will be correctly prepared.

Please note that I am NOT a “cheese-phobic” individual! Indeed, I eat at least two slices of cheese every day. The issue here is one of getting ripped off by greedy fast food restaurants that charge almost as much for just ONE SLICE of cheese that I can pay for a WHOLE PACKAGE of it at the grocery store (OK, that was just a slight exageration). The point is that if I wanted cheese on my sandwich (hamburger, veggieburger or otherwise) I sure would NOT pay an outrageous sum of upwards of 50 cents for JUST ONE SLICE of cheese!!! If I wanted cheese on my veggieburger I’d take the cheese from home and add it myself.

Thankfully, I did not go postal when asked if I wanted cheese on my veggieburger. It just struck me being strange, especially if I were a vegetarian — since some of those folks don’t eat dairy products (and cheese IS a dairy product). Nothing against ’em, but I’m NOT a vegetarian.

I don’t think I’m being odd just because I like the option of occasionally choosing something healthier than a traditional hamburger when dining at a fast food restauarnt (hence the selection of a cheese-free veggieburger). I’m wating for some fast food employee to ask me if I would “like cheese” in my Diet Coke! <eyes rolling>

Why is it that fast food restaurants take an otherwise healthy sandwich like a veggieburger and ADD 5 POUND OF MAYONAISE on top of it?!? Kind of DEFEATS choosing a veggieburger over a hamburger, doesn’t it?!? Oh wait, why wouldn’t they since these geniuses do the same thing to veggieburgers that they do to GRILLED chicken sandwiches?!? What was I thinking of? <blush>

Oh yeah, why not add a big slab of BACON to that veggieburger for an extra 50 cents?!?

And now a blog entry that might remind y’all of my previous gem titled, What Part of “HAMburger” Don’t They Understand?”

Now This Is What I Call SUPER-Sized!!!

Some food addicts choose to completely abstain from caffeine, One Day At A Time. More power to those good folks!

My truth is that I feel best when I limit my caffeine to no more than two small servings per day. “Small” means 16 oz. or less of Diet Coke, tea or some other caffinated beverage. This is what works best for me, ODAAT. This approach is based on the fact that I’m NOT trying to be “perfect”, and instead am working at being “gentle” and “moderate” in most aspects of my recovery process. Oh how hard it can be some days to be a “Recovering Program Fundamentist”! <blush>

Well wouldn’t you know it, but fast food mega-giant McDonald’s is being ubberly-generous with it’s customers this month by offering ALL soft drinks in ALL SIZES for just $1.00. So no matter how many times I specify that I ONLY want a SMALL size Diet Coke their dear employees try to insist on giving me the SUPER-SIZED version of my beverage-of-choice! What part of “small” don’t they understand?

You probably wouldn’t believe the looks and comments I’ve had to endure the past couple of weeks when attempting to set a boundary (which is my right to) regarding the size of the Diet Coke I want to purchase. Thanks, but NO thanks! “Small” works best for me, Just For Today!

Could McDonald’s seemingly “wonderful generousity” of one price for all sizes of soft drinks be a way of encouraging sugar and/or caffeine addiction? Probably. <shocked look> But that’s McDonald’s issue to live and deal with.

My issue is to 1) set and then 2) respect my boundaries regarding all sorts of things — including the serving size of the caffienated drinks I put in my body.

A Little DIET COKE Goes Great With A BIG Meal!!!

Persons involved in 12 Step recovery are quick to point out that if we don’t remember all the pain, misery and outright INsanity of the last time we acted out with our “drug(s) of choice” we probably will act out with them again. For me as a food addict, I translate this thought as follows: If I can’t remember my last food binge, I haven’t probably haven’t had it yet. In other words, I probably have at least one more binge inside of me just waiting to pop out and make a train wreck out of my recovery.

While it wasn’t my last binge, one of the most bizarre ones from around 1985, came to mind when I found the picture posted at the top of this entry while recently cruising the Internet.

Drinking a little Diet Coke makes our OVEReating all OK, right? Not hardly.

It certainly didn’t make it “OK” the night that I ate 19 pieces of Kentucky Fried Chicken, Cole Slaw, Baked Beans, Biscuits, Mashed Potatoes and Gravy and who knows whatever other “KFC sides” I inhaled along with the GALLONS of DIET COKE I had with my “dinner”.

BTW, real addicts might eat 20 pieces or more of Kentucky Fried Chicken, but I STOPPED AT ONLY 19!!! Such moderation is something to be truly admired!

No way that OVEReating is a form of INsanity. Right. <blush>

After all, drinking Diet Coke probably IS a little bit healthier than drinking regular sugary soft drinks, right? And drinking DIET Coke is an “incremental step” toward living a healthier lifestyle, right?

Heck I recall one Weight Watchers leader quoting a news article about “lifestyle changes” that claimed it was possible to lose nearly fifteen pounds over the course of one year if you just drink one less 12 ounce cain of sugary soft drinks each day (Do the math: 365 days X one 12 oz. can less per day = 15 pounds weight loss).

We food addicts are sooooo incredibly sane, aren’t we?!?

You see, drinking Diet Coke alone is not the same thing as following a balanced, moderate food plan and moderately exercising, one day at a time.

Just for today, I have a plan of recovery (food plan, exercise plan, support network and life philosphy) which includes/allows Diet Coke (and other sugar-free soft drinks) to be consumed. But Diet Coke alone is not what has allowed me to now lose nearly 81 pounds.

But I have to admit, Diet Coke does taste great with chocolate!!!

Yesterday I bought my lunch at a local Wendy’s (you know, they offer “healthier” side items with their combo meals than just french fries, like most fast food restaurants). Instead of dining in, I opted to go through the drive-through lane.

I ordered a #1 Combo Meal: Single HAMburger w/small Chili and Diet Coke. NOTE: The menu actually reads “Single HAMburger” (“Single” = one hamburger. I’m adding the emphasis on the HAM part of the burger’s name).

Now I Call This “SUPERSIZED”!!!

REALITY CHECK: A CHEESEburger is a HAMburger WITH cheese. A HAMBURGER has NO cheese. Therefore a “HAMburger with cheese” is NOT a HAMburger — it is a CHEESEburger. Savvy? Yet just about every time I order a HAMburger at Wendy’s they ask me if I want CHEESE on it! If I wanted a “HAMburger with cheese” it would NOT be a HAMburger — it would be a CHEESEburger!!! Calgon, take me away!!!

So I ordered a HAMburger, but in the cashier’s frenzied attempt to “suggestive sell” me something MORE than what I ordered, she attempted to charge me for a CHEESEburger with my combo! (Who in their right mind would pay 40 cents for just ONE slice of cheese? Not moi! I can buy a package of cheese with 16 slices for less than $1.75 at my neighborhood Krogers.)

So I confronted the cashier about their mistake and was then charged the proper amount for a Single HAMburger Combo Meal.

However when I opened the wrapper on my sandwich (as I was driving away from Wendy’s) I discovered that I was given a CHEESEburger!!!

In a way, I got a little thrill that I got an overpriced slice of cheese for FREE. But then again, I’m on a food plan and I want my food order to be respected and I don’t want to deal with that suggestive selling crap!

IMHO, suggestive selling is rude — it shows a blatant disregard and disrespect for the customer. It prevents the cashier from listening (really listening) to their customer.

“HAMburger” means HAMburger.  “CHEESEburger” means CHEESEburger.

What part of “HAMburger” don’t they understand!?! They DO understand, they just disrespect me and deceptively try to sell me something that I didn’t order. As a consumer, I deserve BETTER treatment than that.

What part of getting my order RIGHT can’t they handle?!? Isn’t that what they are paid to do?!?

Some of my journal entries deal with the subject of the problem I refer to as “perfectionism”: the unrealistic expectation of PERFECTION from myself. I don’t think that I’m coping a perfectionistic attitude with fast food cashiers who engage in suggestive selling. Suggestive selling is an INTENTIONAL behavior.

When confronted by me, many a fast food cashier over the years has told me that their supervisors insist that they engage in suggestive selling. Some have even been warned by their boss that if they don’t suggestive sell that they will be fired!

So I’m not demanding perfection from fast food cashiers.

I am, without apology, insisting on respect and that the person taking my order “actively listen” to what I’m telling them.

Being a guy who is still overweight (oh just a little), I obviously do NOT need to “supersize” my meal. Rest assured that I wont be mistaken for being anorexic any time soon.

So what did I do with the slice of cheese on my HAMburger? I ate it. <gasp>

Thankfully with Weight Watchers POINTS food plan I have the flexibility (NOTE: perfectionism and flexibility are typically NOT compatible with each other) that allows for errors on the part of those who serve me food. I just counted the Point value of the cheese along with the other items that came with my Combo Meal.

Eating the cheese on my HAMburger did NOT cross the line into “overeating”. I simply ate something I hadn’t pre-planned for, yet was still able to stay within my allowed number of Points for the day.

Prior to Weight Watchers, I probably would have gone into a “(downward) shame and guilt spiral” and would have used the UNexpected piece of cheese as an excuse to OVEReat. Even though eating the cheese would not necessarily been OVEReating.

Dieting fed my perfectionism. Dieting severely limited my choices. Dieting created new excuses to overeat.

Moderate eating, achieved by following a nutritionally-sane food plan, can (thankfully!) undermine my perfectionistic tendencies, increase my choices/options and circumvent the guilt and shame that used to help me discover new excuses for overeating.

Thankfully my recovery is NOT about “dieting”!