Does the baby need a pacifier? (Yes. The answer is yes.)
When I got back from the grocery store yesterday I could not help thinking about how many drinks my husband and I consume daily and weekly. And most of them, for both of us, are zero calories (or very low calorie for him) and many are caffeine free as well. There is no nutritional value. They are essentially just pacifiers.
This is not a judgment. I am not judging myself, my husband, or anyone else for this. Because zero calorie drinks always have, and continue to, help me keep my eating boundaries. They help me get through the day without eating between meals. Or feeling like I want to eat between meals.
I have the desire to eat all the time. Not for nourishment. Not because I actually want to eat. Not because I’m hungry. I just love to eat. I love the way it makes me feel. I love the experience. And drinking calorie-free drinks tricks my brain into feeling like I’m eating when I am not.
Because actually eating all the time made me miserable. It made me hate my body, made me hate my life, and made me hate myself. But diet drinks are a safe way to feel satisfied without breaking my boundaries.
So much of keeping my addiction under control is following rules. By which I mean, it’s about honesty and integrity. It’s about making and keeping promises around food. It’s about being fully aware of what is going into my mouth, and knowing, unequivocally, that it’s aligned with my commitments. And zero calorie drinks are within my boundaries and can be partaken of guilt free.
The kinds of things I drink have changed a bit over the years. I used to drink coffee and espresso all day every day. And now I mostly don’t drink caffeine after noon. I make some notable exceptions, like if I go to a bar or restaurant to be with family and friends, I drink diet cola and I don’t worry about caffeine. But not drinking caffeine is a goal, not a rule or a promise. Knowing what is a hard and fast rule is what keeps me peaceful. It keeps me proud of myself and happy in my body and my life. And if I need a pacifier, so be it.