Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Lent me, baby!

I gave up Diet Coke for Lent. Yes, it’s a little extreme. My Diet Coke consumption averaged about 4 gallons a week, or about 42 twelve-ounce cans, or 25 twenty-ounce bottles. My devotion to Diet Coke is famous, almost notorious.

There was no over-arching spiritual reason for giving up Diet Coke. I heard that a relative’s chiropractor suggested that aspartame was contributing to her back pain. Now, everyone has opinions about chiropractors. I happen to believe and respect them a little more than I believe and respect L. Ron Hubbard; which is to say, it’s a nice way to earn a living, but no thank you.

Still, I’ve been suffering from back pain for many years, and lately it is a lot worse. Conventional Medicine (CM) has diagnosed the problem to some extent, but is unable to find a solution to managing the pain. In other words I’ve been told to just “buck up”. The long-term solution to my back pain is to strengthen my abdominal muscles, which involves exercise. My fitness trainer sister says I should “engage my core”. I understand this. I’m not opposed to exercise. I need to make it a priority, and I’m sure to move it up on the list as soon as I stop hurting. In the meantime, if not drinking Diet Coke can help the pain go away, I’m willing to make that sacrifice.

It’s been two weeks, and other than a mild headache after Day 2 (relieved with Equate brand Headache pills -- a wonderful combination of caffeine, aspirin, and acetaminophen) I’ve had no ill effects. My craving for fizzy drinks has been resolved by drinking seltzer water. I bring a half-liter bottle to work, and then re-fill the bottle with bottled water throughout the day. I sleep better at night, and can probably focus a little bit better.

The only downside that I’ve found is that Mount Gay Rum does not taste so good with seltzer water. Their website suggests Tonic Water, but I’m not sure I would like that.

This has revealed something to me: I always thought it would be very difficult for me to quit Diet Coke, and it’s actually been quite easy. However, I always thought it would be easy for me to quit alcohol, and it hasn’t been as simple. If I do drink, it is on a weekend, and I’m don’t get ‘rip-roaring’, but when offered, I can’t say no.

The things we find out about ourselves

My back is still killing me, by the way. Each Friday night, I am in agony. Why it’s on Fridays, I don’t know. I can tell you this, three ibuprofen, three naproxen, three aspirin, and I feel a lot better. I’ll have liver failure, but I won’t be in pain.

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