It was just a week ago that Angi Gonzalez met registered dietitian Lara Metz in our lunchroom. They are working together as part of our 30 Days - 2 Different Ways challenge.
From their first conversation, it became clear that Angi had to go through her ktichen and get rid of the diet soda she loves so much, and the junk food.
"OK, so I guess you could call this my dirty little secret. This is where I keep all of my diet soda," Angi says. "So I have all sorts of kinds. Diet ginger ale, diet grape soda, diet Ginger Ale Canadian Dry, but my biggest vice is Diet Sunkist, which I am currently out of right now."
And has been out of since.
Angi, who was drinking more than a liter of diet soda a day, went cold turkey the day she met Lara, and she's lost six pounds.
"So those artificial sweeteners can trick your taste buds," Lara says. "They're hundreds and thousands of times sweeter than sugar and it can actually trick your taste buds into thinking that's what sugar should taste like.
"It actually wasn't as bad as I thought it would be, especially with the replacement of sparkling water," Angi says. "Just because when I did need that extra, you know, fizz or carbonation, it was there with a little bit of flavor."
Angi also had to go through her pantry and throw out the junk.
"A whole lot of chips," Angi says. "This is my chips cupboard. So I have pretzels, I have two bags, not one, but two bags of tortilla chips and Doritos.
"I love to cook desserts," she adds. "So we have some brownies, we have some bread, we have more muffins that I can bake."
"You'd go to the grocery store, you were programmed, 'OK, I'm going to buy my chips and my soda,' and that's what Angi buys. And overnight, you've made these great changes," Lara says. "Right now, you're empowered to make better choices."
Within days of cutting out the soda, our coworkers noticed a change in Angi.
"They hadn't seen me in a couple days and were like, 'You look really good today,' and I was like, 'There is only one thing I've changed and...'" Angi says.
"I love that you'll be the ambassador here now for health and wellness," Lara says.
It's true. I caught Angi's questioning our colleague Erick's choice of snack.
"Erick, you know, that's full of sugar right there," she says. "Maybe some water would be good."
Angi has also started following Lara's advice to shop the perimeter of the grocery store.
The fresh produce will be in the perimeter, the meat, the fish, the poultry, the dairy aisle," Lara says.
But these 30 days are not just about fixing Angi's diet.
"What I'm doing with you is trying to address food and the whole Angi picture, your behavior, your lifestyle," Angi says. "It's one big puzzle, and we're putting the pieces together."
At 5'4", Angi started this challenge at 175 pounds. After a week of little lifestyle changes, she is already down six pounds.