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Diet Pepsi Vanilla Ingredients- Carbonated water, caramel coloring, natural and artificial flavors, phosphoric acid, aspartame, potassium citrate, caffeine, potassium sorbate, acesulfame potassium, citric acid, calcium disodium.

…I'm pretty sure my Diet Pepsi doesn't meet the rules. Let's check. Hmm, doesn't meet rule 1, or 2, or 3, 6, 7, 9, 11, 13, 14…yeah, we can safely say it's not on the list. There is not a single redeeming feature to my diet Pepsi. And yet, I'm not ready to toss it out of the fridge just yet.

And here in we find the first dilemma that many of us face on a daily basis. We know things that we consume are not good for us. So how, why, and when do you drop them? Often my clients who are dieting get rid of the bad foods in the fridge. They then manage to shift to a better diet for a few weeks, sometimes even months before they slide back. One constant refrain I get is, "I couldn't go my whole life without food XYZ."

I've been living a healthy lifestyle for a good bit now. Over the last several years I've shifted away from eating 80-90% of my food out of boxes to eating about 15% of my food from boxes and containers. I've stripped down to whole versions of most food I eat. Yet the things I still have in my daily menu have some pretty interesting ingredients.

Most contain products a third grader can't pronounce. See the potassium sorbate above. 

These products are mostly the diet, low fat, reduced calorie, "healthy" versions of things like cottage cheese. So following the Food Rules, shifting away from foods that contain unpronounceable ingredients means sugar soda and whole fat dairy.

Which has the little personal trainer in the back of my head screaming bloody murder. I spent years pounding into my head that whole fat is bad. This is a serious shift. I mean it's easy to say that it's just a couple things and they can stay in the plan. Which then defeats the purpose of the exercise.  How do I figure out how to eat real foods? Meaning not diet food.

I know straight up that just junking those things from the fridge is going to cause a problem. So for now, they stay. I need to start running numbers and figure out how much I can stick in to my meal plan. One common mistake people make when starting a new fitness and nutrition program is making ALL the changes at once. While that can work, more often than not you end up stressed, cranky, and fall back into the old comfortable habits.

Slow, steady, sustainable, realistic change is the goal.

So the Diet Pepsi Vanilla is staying for now.  It's my own personal dietary baby blankie. I'm not nearly ready to give that up just yet.