5 Lessons in a Decaffeinated Life

the-eleventh-hour-758926_1280It’s been over a week since I’ve had any of my favorite beverage. Coffee.

I have survived but barely.

I have struggled with many things throughout the week. Between work, home and my own interests, each thing has been much more stressful due to this major change in my life.

My body and spirit haven’t fared well as I have gone through withdrawals. Here are some things that I’ve discovered:

1. My allergies have finally kicked in this spring. I won’t say that it is truly because of the lack of coffee but the timing is suspicious.
2. The 2:00 slump is real.
3. What do I drink all day? Water is so boring.
4. There are other things to order at coffee shops besides coffee? Really?
5. Bedtime is now 9:00 and I actually go to sleep. What?!?! I’ve got things to do.

This week hasn’t been so bad regardless of the above lessons. I have survived and I’m even starting to believe that I will be okay. There have been moments where I’ve wondered but the trade-off has been good.

Making a choice and sticking to it can be really difficult. Sometimes it feels like an uphill battle through mud but having a healthy life is worth it.

Coffee Time, Or Not

chalkboard-620316_1280I created several goals for myself this year. Most are still a work in progress, while some aren’t really working. It will be interesting to see how things end up as the year continues.

One of these areas was health. I had in mind to exercise a bit more, find balance and discover what was going on with me, health wise.

At this point in the year I haven’t truly achieved this goal at all. However, I have worked on it.

The problems I was having, I have found answer to, though another issue has reared its ugly head, AGAIN. It is my belief that many of our ailments are lifestyle ones. That means that I don’t always look for the answer to be found in a pill. It is my belief that health can be achieved through changes in habit, i.e. diet and/or exercise. I haven’t always thought this way but I have found myself to be much healthier and more at peace by this belief.

Except when I’m not healthier and things appear to be spinning out of control.

Except for times like now when I struggle to go for a walk or do yoga (which were part of my goals for this year) or to eat what I know I should be eating. Instead of what I know I shouldn’t.

Sleep has been disrupted for over a month due to GERD, which is for the most part, heartburn. I have struggled with this on and off for several years. Sometimes using medication and sometimes not. I’d really like to sleep all the way through the night and not have any pain throughout the day. Yep, that would be a good thing.

Well, and here is the crux of the issue, treatment for GERD involves taking medication and dietary changes. I’m on meds for a month to see how things go. Dietary changes include the following no’s:
coffee-750990_1280
Spicy foods
Alcohol
Tomatoes
Chocolate
Caffeine

Do you see the problem? Those who know me well understand the problem. I love coffee.

Last year at about this time I had a similar experience and was put on the medication, which worked. The only difference is that I didn’t change any part of my diet. I’ve decided that its time for a change, this has gone on long enough.

The new plan:

No more spicy foods – well this one isn’t too difficult. I haven’t been able to tolerate them for years though I like to play with fire on occasion.
Little to no alcohol – This one isn’t that difficult either since I have developed a reverse tolerance to the stuff. I just don’t recover as well as I used to and I have things I want to do with my life.
Tomatoes – While this one isn’t incredibly difficult, tomato season is coming and I love tomato sandwiches. I think this is left over comfort food from my childhood. Hopefully I will be feeling better in time for that.
Chocolate – Oh, here comes a tough one. I love chocolate and staying away may be problematic. Again, hopefully this won’t go on for long and I can once again enjoy the pleasures of a Dove dark chocolate bite.

And, here is the problem:

Caffeine – I almost don’t have the strength to go on. I repeat, I love coffee. And I am picky about it. I mean I prefer to make my own and I need a special creamer to make it just right. I’ve even been called a coffee snob. I will own that. This is a daily habit that I have been unwilling to change.

Until now.

How do I go on? How do I manage the massive headache that accompanies caffeine withdrawal? What about the social aspect of getting coffee every afternoon? How do I wake up each morning and write without that steaming cup?

It’s been two days without my normal cup of coffee and I’ve survived. The good thing is that everyone around me has too. I can only take this one moment at a time.

For me this is a choice. I want to be healthy and my body is less tolerant of the things I am putting into it than it has been. Not able to get a good night’s sleep has made me aware that I need to make changes. It is difficult to meet my goals when I don’t feel well.

So I go on sans coffee. But I go on to a better future, one where I am not in pain each day and am able to sleep at night. One where I am not required by my addiction to coffee to continually seek it out. One where I am healthy.

What would you give up to reach your goals?