The Weight Update: Stop Slurping Soda!
My name is Justin Gregory Wallace.
Two years ago, at the start of 2019, I weighed 300 pounds.
As of this morning I weigh 205.
At 36. Through a pandemic.
I have, for all intents and purposes, bested my weight. The tricky bit is to maintain what I have gained.
To that end, I bring to you The Weight Update. This will be a weekly update on the habits that I have created and destroyed which has allowed me to lose so much weight and keep it off. It is my sincere hope that the things that I have done (after heavy study and consultation with a doctor) will allow for you to experience success with your weight loss.
More than anything, I want to transmute my success into a springboard that others can use to improve their own lives. My life is almost nothing like what it once was and there isn’t a day that goes by where I’m not thankful for that.
This week, I wanted to talk about something that I have had the most trouble with. It’s not sugar (which is an unavoidable foe in the US) although that has presented its own difficulties. No, it is soda.
You see, ever since I was a wee lad, soda has been my go-to beverage of choice. At one point, my father had a refrigerator in our basement whose sole purpose upon this earth was to contain as much Code Red Mountain Dew as it could.
I can destroy multiple two liters in a day. I can dust a twelve pack without blinking. I destroy cans of soda on game night like it’s the only thing keeping me pinned to my seat.
It’s a problem. Quitting it has been one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done. The research shows that it’s the right thing to do. Even diet soda presents a host of issues, from carcinogenic sweeteners to the fact that artificial saccharides increase your desire for sweets rather than satiate your hunger for them.
That’s all good and well, but anyone (myself included!) who has a severe addiction to soda can tell you that quitting is no easy feat. That’s where the past two years come in, and I start dropping some wisdom bombs left and right to help you blow your addiction out of the water.
Trick Number the First: Don’t Go Cold Turkey
“But Justin” you hollar between huge slurps on the straw “you’re talking about drugs and alchohol! This is food!”
Well, I have absolutely terrible news my friends! You’re addicted to all those foods that are worst for you. Companies know this, and have known this, for nigh on half a century. They just don’t care. So, it’s up to you to take matters into your own hands and start treating these habits like the things they are: addictions that are slowly killing you.
To that end, don’t try to hack it all off at once. You’ll fail. It’s taken me three major weight loss journey’s to figure that out. Don’t do special diets, don’t skimp on the broccoli, and don’t freaking go cold turkey unless you like being right where you were a week from now only with 100% more frustration.
Second Verse, Different From the First: Replace Bad Habits With Good-uns
It sounds too easy to be effective, yet it is probably the single most helpful thing I’ve used the entire time I’ve lost weight.
Swap out the bad things for good things. Barring that, swap to something less destructive.
I drink coffee. Lots and lots and lots of coffee. Oatmilk + Cold Brew + Stevia drops = Justin’s breakfast 100% of mornings. I have a portion of our refrigerator that is cordoned off specifically for my breakfasts.
It’s been a huge help. The coffee gives me the caffeine I need to adult while also not giving me all the chemicals that soda is pumping into you non-stop. In one move, I nearly eliminated my soda cravings, made my breakfast far better for me, and also gave myself a better shot at having a productive day.
It’s a simple move, yes, but it’s one that pays a heck of a lot of dividends. You’ll be amazed at how well it works.
Last But Not Least: Just Don’t Buy It!
I know. Sounds obvious, right?
There’s a significant difference between feeling the need for soda and having to get dressed and in your car and drive to the nearest drive thru then sit in the drive thru then get back home versus getting the itch and reaching into the fridge.
The harder you make the bad things to get, the easier you will find it to knuckle through your cravings and just drink something else.
You know what that something else should be? Water! It’s not as flavorful or interesting, but it is gonna do what your body needs it to without the laundry list of downsides that you get when you’re guzzling down your fifth can of good ol’ <insert beloved soda here>.
I’ve gone nearly two solid months without having more than one or two a week (if that!) and it’s because I’ve taken it slowly, replaced it with something better, and kept it out of reach.
This is just one of the many things that I do on a daily basis which have brought me to 205. I hope, above all things, that you find this helpful.
Don’t lose hope. You will have setbacks. You’re good enough to do this, because I’m nobody, and look how far I’ve come.
The Unsheathed Quill