Friday, May 1, 2009

Pepsi Throwback and the non-believers

196 pounds
For some reason, I have trouble getting the idea across that this blog is NOT about dieting.  A few days after I started the blog, my mother called me and said, "So how's the diet going?" I could have killed her, but instead, I said as calmly as I could, "It's NOT a diet." 

The next time I talked to my mother, I asked if she'd been reading the blog, and she said no and asked how much weight I'd lost. Is it just me, or is she completely missing the point????!! Yes, I'm the one who originally made a deal to lose twenty pounds in twenty weeks, but if you think that's the reason I've created this blog, then you're not getting it! Because the main point I want to convey here is that we should not obsess about the number on the scale, that we cannot let it define us, and that when we do, we are the ones who suffer.  

I was reminded of my mother's comments last night after I got an interesting response to my Facebook announcement about Pepsi Throwback. 

You see, I'm really excited about Pepsi Throwback because it doesn't have any high-fructose corn syrup. Instead, the people at Pepsi Co. have gone back to the old days when most sodas used good, old fashioned cane and beet sugar. (Throwback Pepsi uses a combination of both). We've known for a long time that high-fructose corn syrup is one of the worst things for us, and some people even speculate that it might be the leading cause of obesity in America. This is because "consuming too much fructose at once seems to overwhelm the body's capacity to process it" and ultimately causes overeating, weight gain, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease.* 

I'm glad that we now know how dangerous this stuff is, but what good does that knowledge do us if it's so difficult to avoid? I mean, do you have any idea how hard it is to avoid high-fructose corn syrup? It's almost impossible! Because that stuff is freaking everywhere! Of course, it's found in nearly all name brand soft drinks, but can anyone explain to me why they put it in ketchup? Or stuffing? Or cottage cheese?!!!! For God's sake, it's even in our bread! It's nearly impossible to avoid the stuff.  In fact, "about 10% of the modern diet comes from fructose."*
For a list of products that contain high-fructose corn syrup, go to:

Sugar isn't really good for us either—if we get too much of it, it still causes the same health problems as fructose. But call me crazy, I feel more comfortable drinking soda made from a natural product like cane sugar than I do drinking soda made with something invented in a lab. That's why I've been drinking expensive natural soda—like Hansen's or Virgil's—for years. But both of those products are pretty expensive, adding $4 or $6 respectively to my grocery bill each time I buy them. So obviously I was thrilled when I saw a Pepsi Throwback commercial last night. Do I think that Pepsi Throwback is as natural as Hansen's or Virgil's? Not a chance. But it's kind of like when they first rolled out the first mass-market hybrid car (the two-seater Honda Insight): it's not perfect, but it's a step in the right direction. 

You might be wondering right now why any of this got me thinking about my mom. And it's because right after I praised the new Pepsi Throwback on Facebook, my friend Debbie emailed me and said, "Girl! Drink water!" Of course, my friend Debbie is right—we should all drink lots of water. I've been drinking water all week. I drink it ALL the time, but sometimes I like to treat myself with a good old-fashioned soda. I don't think I'm alone on that one. And I do believe that if I don't give into that craving every once in a while, in the long run it's worse for me than allowing myself that small indulgence from time to time. I suppose Debbie's comment reminded me of my mom's because it made me think that she's not exactly getting my point about not dieting.

And when Debbie then told me that she's been on a diet for two year—TWO YEARS!!!—and that she's miserable because she keeps losing the same weight over and over, I knew for sure she wasn't getting my point. Hearing Debbie's story absolutely broke my heart, and it reminded me again why I created this blog—to get all of us to stop denying ourselves normal indulgences, to learn that it's okay to have a normal body, and to recognize that losing weight in a lasting, healthy way takes a LONG time.  

Come to mention it, I really think twenty pounds in twenty weeks is pretty unrealistic. As I've mentioned before, I lost weight—about twenty-four pounds—over the course of eight consecutive years before my recent weight gain.  That's three pounds a year on average! Sure, I lost more pounds in the beginning—probably around eight a year the first two years, and then a pound a year after that. But the point is that I still believe that slow and steady is the only way to do it. Better to shoot for five to ten pounds a year than to try to torture ourselves into losing 40 pounds in one year—eight pounds a year is manageable, it's something we can do without making ourselves so unhappy that the first thing we do when it's all over is reach for the ice cream and potato chips.

Debbie—I feel for you! I really do! I say stop dieting RIGHT NOW, decide to appreciate your body RIGHT NOW, and in a month or so, let us know how you're doing.  



  1. Molly,
    Good read! Have you picked up Nourishing Traditions yet? I think you will find more diet myths debunked.

    Try making your own ketchup then you know exactly what's in it:

    And your own soda:

  2. Thanks, Kara! I'm definitely going to check out Nourishing Traditions and try making my own ketchup, mayo, an soda this summer. And I hope my readers will check out Kara's blog too--An Hour in the Kitchen--which tells you how to do all that and more.