Monthly Archives: September 2011

Off the [Diet Coke] Sauce

Two of the most popular search terms that direct people to my blog are “Diet Coke addiction” and “Diet Coke Stomachache.” Unlike some of the funnier search terms that lead readers my way, Diet Coke addiction (and stomachache) is something that I’ve actually written about and struggled with.

It’s been five months since I gave up Diet Coke. For full disclosure, I’ve probably had two during that time – one because I was really tired at a family function but wanted to stay awake and the second was in a mixed drink. But aside from those times, I have not had any soda at all, Diet Coke or otherwise.

I have a really sensitive stomach. Unfortunately, “My stomach hurts” is part of my day-to-day vocabulary. Artificial sweeteners and carbonation to do a number on me, in partiuclar. And what is Diet Coke? Carbonated artificial sweetener.

Despite my awful stomachaches, I continued to drink it. This is how I knew that I had a problem. It was really hurting my stomach, yet I couldn’t stop. One day, when the pain was especially bad, I said enough is enough and quit cold turkey. That was back in May and, aside from the two times that I mentioned, that was the end.

It’s been hard. I feel so silly saying that. This is soda, not hard drugs! But it’s true. Diet Coke was sort of my crutch. It was go-to when I wanted a pick me up or when I wanted a snack but I really wasn’t hungry. Sometimes I just craved it.

I have a few things that worked in my favor when it came to quitting though. One of which is the stomachaches, but the second is, like most soda drinkers, I prefer to drink it a certain way. I know a lot of people really like soda out of the fountain. My preference was always the 20 oz or 16.9 oz plastic bottles. It just tasted better to me out of a plastic bottle (but not the 2 liter bottle). I never really liked Diet Coke in the can. There is a soda machine in the break room of my office that sells cans, but that wasn’t quite as tempting as it would have been if there was a machine that sold bottles.

People told me that it would get easier. And in a way it has. I’m used to drinking water when I’m going out to lunch. I drink tea in the middle of the day now. I don’t think about getting a soda anymore. But there are still times when I want one. When I do, I just think about all those days when I was crouched over in the office bathroom feeling like my stomach was going to explode, all the Pepto-Bismol that I was popping and the craving subsides some.

Have my stomach problems gone away? Not entirely, but they are SO MUCH better. It’s been five months and soon it will be six, and then a year and then drinking soda will just be something that I used do a long time ago.

I’d love to say that I gave it up because it was bad for me, that I didn’t want to put chemicals in my body, but the reason I stopped drinking it was simply because it hurt my stomach. Whatever the reason was, I don’t drink soda anymore and consequently, I’m reaping the health benefits of not being a soda drinker, whatever they may be. While the jury is out to whether or not artificial sweeteners are harmful or not, there is no nutritional value in them whatsoever.

Stadium Pretzel

I’ve still been feeling burnt out from running. My legs are tired and I’m really looking forward to my race(s), mostly so I can stop running so damn much! Last night, I took a break and went to a baseball game with Jason and our friends Emily and Brian.




We went directly after work and I didn’t get a chance to eat dinner beforehand. I knew that this would happen and I knew that I’d end up eating something crappy because I don’t think Turner Field really has anything besides crappy food.


I really like soft pretzels, okay? The game was fun, even though the Braves did terribly. They didn’t even score a run until the last inning.


Normally, I’d be upset at myself for eating a pretzel for dinner, but last night I wasn’t and I think that is important to note. I am good with moderation. Really good. I run a lot but sometimes I drink a lot too. I never eat fast food, but I do eat processed food. I go to the gym 5-6 days a week, but sometimes I half ass it. But while I’m actually good at moderation and feel like I’m a pretty well-rounded person, what I struggle with is being okay with it.

Even though my behavior isn’t always healthy, instead of enjoying the pretzel or the beer, I beat myself up for it. I strive for some unrealistic goal of being healthy all the time, whatever that means. I think maybe I’m afraid that if I let myself be okay with it (eating stadium food, drinking beer, whatever), then that means I’ll do it all the time and that really isn’t the case. I know what is good for me and what isn’t. I know how I feel when I have certain foods.

So if I’m going to engage in the behavior sometimes, I should just enjoy it, right? Cause what’s life without a soft pretzel and a cheap beer at a baseball game? Did I have another pretzel and beer tonight? No, I went to the gym and ran five miles and ate a healthy dinner.

Slowly Making the House a Home

Slowly but surely, we’re making progress on our home renovations and redecorations and making the house feel more like ours. We used to have a pass through between our kitchen and our living room.


Now we don’t.


The white balance wasn’t off in one of those pictures; the kitchen is now a different color too. It’s more of a greenish yellow now. While the pass through was something that Jason really hated, my main concern was the lack of cabinets. Honestly, this is what we were working with:


Those black cabinets are the only upper cabinets that we have. The former owners redid the kitchen at some point with all Ikea stuff. I actually asked them why they didn’t put more cabinets in and they said that they didn’t want to make the kitchen too dark. Fair enough, but why do black cabinets in the first place if you’re worried about that?

On Saturday morning we took a trip to Ikea. While Ikea might not be my first choice for new cabinets, we figured it would be easier (and cheaper) to add to what we have rather than getting rid of everything and starting over. As luck would have it, they were having some sort of promotion where if you spent more than $100 dollars, you’d get a free lunch. I’d never eaten in the Ikea cafeteria before and I probably never will again. Meatballs and tilapia floating in butter sauce aren’t for me. I had a salad and a bowl of tomato basil soup.



Doesn’t look like much, but look what it is:


Obviously, they still need to be hung, but definite progress. I also went to World Market to make a return. Here’s an FYI: if you don’t know what a jute rug is or what it feels like, don’t order one online; you’ll be surprised and not in a good way. I was too lazy to return the rug for a few weeks but I’m glad I finally did because I got the coolest jars there to store my grains. They have little chalkboard ovals so you can label them. No more, “Is this barley or millet?”


Only not as cute as I thought because some of the lids don’t stay on very well.

The cabinet side of the kitchen was out of commission tonight, but the stove side wasn’t so I made a nice dinner – dairy-free spinach stuffed shells.


For some reason, I had a ton of shells leftover. I don’t know if I bought a big box or I was overstuffing what I had or too much of the stuffing was making it’s way into my mouth instead of the shells, but I had big bowl full of leftover shells. Pasta salad, maybe?


This was delicious and tasted exactly like ricotta cheese stuffed shells. I didn’t tell Jason that they were vegan until after he’d finished and he was shocked.

Key Fail

Because of Jason’s work schedule (I feel like I use that sentence a lot and I probably do because Jason’s odd work hours make doing normal things much more difficult. It’s something that we’re used to; he’s had hours like this since I’ve known him, but it’s still hard), Friday night is the only weekend night that we can actually spend together. The problem is, I’m usually tired and would rather decompress than go out.

But sometimes I do get the urge to spend Friday night with my husband out at a bar or restaurant instead of carbo-loading in front of the tv, prepping for my long run and that’s what happened this past Friday. I decided to take two days off – both from working out and blogging – to kind of get my running mojo back and do my ten mile run today instead.

I made some muffins last night to test out as pre-run fuel. I’m sure you’re jealous of my happening social life that allows me to go to the grocery store and bake muffins on a Saturday night. My college self would be appalled. The muffins were good at least, so there’s that.


Carrot Banana Muffins
(adapted from this recipe)


1/6 cup grapeseed oil
1/6 cup applesauce
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
2 cups white whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 bananas, mashed
4 carrots, grated
raw oats for topping

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. In large bowl, combine oil, applesauce, brown sugar and banana.
3. In a separate large bowl, combine flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Combine contents of both bowls together and add grated carrots.
4. Spray a muffin pan with cooking spray and fill 3/4th of the way full with batter. Top with sprinkling of oats.
5. Cook for 30 minutes or until muffins are done.

Makes 12 muffins, approximately 200 calories each

Jason liked them, so that’s always a good sign. I have trouble telling if “normal” people will like something that I think is good. This is why I’ll never be a chef.

I ate a muffin for breakfast this morning before I drove to Midtown to meet my friend Joan. My plan was to run three miles with Joan and then leave my car at her place and run the additional seven to make ten miles. I brought a water bottle and Gu but figured I wouldn’t need it for the first three miles, so I left it in my car. When we finished our three miles, I went back to my car to get my water bottle and realized that I’d left something else in my car: my keys.

I use one of those shoe wallet things and I guess I’ve been used to taking my house key off my keyring and sticking it in the wallet because when I went to get my car key out, that’s exactly what I had done. My phone was in my car too, of course.

It was about 9 am at this point and I knew that Jason was still sleeping and I didn’t want to wake him. I also knew that if I didn’t finish the run, it would get too hot out so Joan sent me on my way with her debit card to buy something to drink.

I ran up Peachtree into Buckhead and back. The run wasn’t bad – mostly uphill going out which made for a nice downhill coming back (except for Cardiac Hill, which I walked). I was seriously so flustered about my keys that I didn’t really pay attention to the fact that I was running. That’s not a bad thing, I guess. I was feeling good until about mile 8, when I started to get hot and tired. Fall has not yet arrived in Atlanta, last weekend was a tease, and it was over 80 degrees.

Slowly but surely, I finished and went back to Joan’s house to call Jason to come rescue me. Fortunately, I have a spare set of keys in my nightstand. All in all, not the best run, but shit happens and I got it done, right?

Dealing with Burnout

Last weekend was somewhat of a running high for me. I ran nine miles on Saturday morning – seven by myself and then two with Jason. I’ve always wanted to be that couple that runs together and we did and I was happy. On Sunday morning, I wasn’t sore and took advantage of cooler temperatures and ran another four miles. On Monday, I did weights.

Then Tuesday came. I was supposed to run five miles. Honestly, the thought of going to the gym made me want to cry. My legs were tired. I was tired. I had two freelance writing assignments and a guest post to write after I got home. I had dinner to make. I didn’t want to run.

I dragged myself to the gym anyway. I told myself that all I had to do was three miles. After three miles, I could stop if I wanted to. I often do this type of bargaining with myself and more often than not, I’ll get to three miles and feel like I can do the other two. But on Tuesday, I stopped at three.

I’m following a training plan that’s based off of Hal Higdon’s intermediate half-marathon program. In the past, I’ve used Hal’s beginner program and the Runner’s World Smart Coach program, both of which are more conservative than this one. I’m running more. I’m already up to 20+ miles a week and I’m still a month out from the race. I realize that 20 miles a week is no big deal for some people. I am not those people. Every time I’ve ever trained for a half and started running this amount, I’ve started to burn out. Previously, the burnout was closer to the race, so it was easier to ignore.

It’s frustrating in a way. I am an intermediate half-marathoner. This will be my 9th half. I’m not a beginner, so why can’t I follow an intermediate plan without modifying it? The answer is I don’t know. Maybe I could. I’m sure I could, actually. But do I want to? Listening to my body is more important than following a program to the T. I’ve done this before. I know that I can skip runs or run slower and I’ll be fine.

I didn’t work out at all yesterday. I planned to lift weights at lunch but ended up stuck at the office with a rush project. I had dinner plans with some former co-workers at night, so the gym didn’t happen. And I think that was the best thing that I did all week.

It was raining when I left work tonight. It was a nice rain – the kind that makes you feel cozy and want to curl up with a big bowl of soup in comfortable pajamas. But instead of going home, I went to the gym. I didn’t want to go, really I never do, but the thought of it didn’t make me want to cry either. I went, I ran five slow miles and I came home. And now I feel better which is good because I’m running ten on Saturday and I feel ready again.

(I just updated my About Me page if you’d like to have a look.)

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