The Perks of Being a Quitter

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I’m done.  I’ve had enough.  No more sleepless nights.  No more high-highs followed by the low-lows. I’m done with the rollercoaster of it all.  No more excuses for me.  It’s clear as day what I need to do.  I’ve finally committed to being done, done with my coffee addiction.

As a previously self-proclaimed, although currently becoming certified (yay me) holistic junkie, I’ve finally recognized the mighty role coffee plays in the things that trouble me about my health.

I’ve struggled with chronic fatigue for years, and while I’ve seen noticeable improvement with the introduction of quality supplements, I’ve still struggled some.  I’ve struggled with falling asleep, and staying asleep.  I’ve struggle with moodiness and irritability more than the average Joe.  I’ve struggled with depression and anxiety. I’ve suffered with severe PMS and RLS (restless leg syndrome), and then there is the tachycardia that comes and goes.  And I am under no uncertain terms a morning person. Fun fun!

I’ve been the stereotypical addict as long as can remember.  I drink coffee, or black tea, every single day.  Without morning usage, I do not function or talk nicely. I prefer to have it brought to me.  I can’t even put my feet on the floor agreeably without it.  It helps me drop off the kids, if you know what I mean, and I’m not talking about my children.  Sorry, TMI, I know, but a true symptom of addiction.  My energy is also most certainly controlled by the drug. I’ve got energy in the morning closer to when I’ve had my fix, and then I feel sloth like as the day progresses, longing for a quick fix.  Sound familiar?

In all seriousness, as part of my health coach certification program I’ve taken a good holistic look at my health struggles and what they are costing me in terms of living my ideal life.  The conclusion. There is a lot going on!  A lot to work with for sure.  Most of what I listed are worthy symptoms of concern, and for many might warrant a trip to the doctor. But, I recognize as part of my holistic journey, I don’t necessarily need a pill for each and every one of the symptoms listed above, although I could probably get one. I do however know I need to take some action.  And for me, when forced to think about something I could personally do, baby step number 1 came to mind: replacing my coffee and black tea with green tea (the lesser evil in the caffeine world according to Andrew Weil, M.D. in Natural Health, Natural Medicine).  Note my baby step wasn’t giving up caffeine entirely.  That may come someday, but it’s totally not a realistic first step for me.

So, about 2 weeks ago I made the official switch from coffee and black tea, to green tea. About a week in I felt a noticeable difference in my energy throughout the day, in my morning etiquette as well, and a significant decrease in my RLS. And then I relapsed, as typical addicts do.

Here’s my excuse, I traveled to Salt Lake City for a convention and the wear and tear of travel left me feeling drained, and I caved.  Having been clean for a good two weeks, I really felt an impact. I had enormous trouble falling and staying asleep, and a boat load of anxiety in the form of RLS at night. I was ridiculously fatigued during the day. It sucked to be so excited to be there, learn about things I love, get there and not feel my best.

Now I’m back home, have a comfortable routine without the coffee and am feeling good again.

I’m not here to preach that we all need to give up caffeine, or that I’m never going to have a cup of coffee again, but I am here to testify that we can learn a lot when we take a step back and listen to what are bodies are saying.  I’m also not here to say all pills are bad, or that we don’t need to see our physicians when things are broken. I’m just pretty sure, if we take a step back, and a good long look at our habits, we might find something simple that’s being overlooked.

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