Pausing From My Coffee Habit

I am officially on a break from drinking coffee of any kind. Yikes! I cannot believe I am writing that. I started this journey last week with my husband on the first day of Lent. It was ALL his idea and I decided to join him knowing deep in my heart that giving up coffee for a bit of time was something I knew that I needed to do.

Photo by Maksym Narodenko/iStock / Getty Images

I know you likely just rolled your eyes in your head with the idea of giving up coffee; I would too. I will add in here that you will find many health experts and studies that support the benefits of a cup or two and sometimes even three cups of coffee and I agree with all of that. However, for me this is different than a like or enjoyment of coffee. For me it feels an addiction that is linked to my eating disorder.  In fact, this is the first time I have written this and even admitted this to myself. I also know I need to do everything I can to do to heal.

I LOVE my morning coffee because of many things, but especially the taste, the warmth and simply the comfort that it gives me. In addition, I would be lying if I didn’t love the buzz of the caffeine that gets me through my mornings and pulls me out of many interrupted nights with my two kiddos. I was given a Nespresso machine almost six years ago as a birthday gift from my husband and am in love with my morning Americano. It is a little pleasure in life that makes me smile. And even as I type this I know I am not trying to get rid of coffee in my life forever. But, I am trying to find a way to find my inner confidence to listen and to thrive without a need for coffee.

It has been a week since I started. What has happened so far?

Day 1:  I was free of coffee and felt confident. However, I realized that I replaced my enjoyment of coffee with food of some kind when I wasn’t even sure if I was hungry. Hello awareness.

Day 2: Thursday I actually negotiated with myself that I might not survive the day and I had a shot of caffeinated Nespresso. I did have a good excuse because a stomach bug hit our house starting with my daughter Wednesday afternoon and I slept about 2-3 broken up hours.

Day 3: Friday I decided this no-coffee thing was silly and I was going to commit to just one cup a day, whether caffeinated or decaf. I was in survival mode because I was up again and only slept about 3 hours because my son had the next round of the stomach bug!

Day 4: I was off of coffee because I was hit on Friday night with the vomitus (barely slept) and by the time morning rolled around I was afraid I couldn’t even hold down water. Coffee was not even on my mind. Enough said. And that day, once I could actually think again, I realized I was in it for the 40 days.

Day 5, 6 and 7: Each day I tried to negotiate a way out of not drinking coffee, but by 9 or 10 a.m. I am would feel a little bit better about it all and try to focus on more water.

I have realized A LOT in a short few days:

  • I am exhausted. Even before I gave it up last Wednesday, I got off of caffeine the Friday before and I have never been so tired in my life. I think it was necessary for me to take a break from caffeine to realize that life is depleting the shit out of me. And this is likely more caused by internal stress, not sleeping enough, etc. I honestly not sure of the why, but simply know I feel depleted.
  • I miss the enjoyment of coffee because it is a simple pleasure of life and I am glad that I tolerate it and will drink it again.
  • I am inspired by my husband’s will and ease when it comes to stopping something that he loves.
  • I am hit by the awareness that I realized in college that coffee doesn’t have any calories in it and I could enjoy something without it impacting my waistline. This isn’t something I think about a lot, but I believe is en-grained in my thinking when it comes to coffee.
  • And then there is the extra weight that I am carrying. Sometimes I feel like I won’t snack just to snack if I have an afternoon decaf coffee or a second one. Again, this is a very deep thought that is not an accurate one because when I drink the second or third cup of coffee (even if decaf) I forget to drink my water and I tend to want to have something to eat that goes with it (yes, peanut butter my friends, goes awesome with coffee, that I have read).
  • How about the stressing about if I am having the correct amount of coffee? Some days it is just one shot of regular and other days it is two and even others it is three. I am not sure why I have had such a strong pull for a second coffee or third because after the first cup it NEVER tastes as good and I don’t enjoy it.
  • I have hung onto coffee with a death grip because of the crazy restrictive diet I have been attempting for four plus years; I often feel like I am missing out on all of the delicious foods and drinks of the world and I think to myself, “at least I can have coffee.” And with this intense pull of coffee I realize more and more that the MRT diet protocol (a food sensitivity protocol I have been following since September) is causing me so much stress and it needs a big shake up. More on that later!
  • How about the addiction part that is critical to my own healing body? This fall my hormone test results were not great. Per the request of my health practitioners I was to take the DHEA cortisol spit test to get additional clarity. Essentially this test will give us an idea of how fatigued my adrenals are and help identify the next steps in my healing. However, I had the test in my possession for over two months and I still had yet to do it until a week and a half ago. Did you read that? TWO MONTHS OF DELAY! WHY? The biggest reason is that I have not felt I can even go one day without caffeine and of course my LOVE for the darn stuff. Thank goodness I finally completed it and I can now have more information to know the best way to move forward. Phew!
  • And then finally, and most importantly, a break from this strong habit will give help build confidence in myself. This is wisdom from Rod Stryker and something that I try to practice frequently. Breaking a habit and removing something in my life that isn’t serving me will bring me closer to living my soul’s purpose. It might sound a little out there but this blog is an example of how it actually worked! I broke lots of little habits to get this blog up and running and said my sankalpa (resolution) over many times in my head to create momentum. This is a technique right from Rod Stryker's book, The Four Desires: Creating a Life of Purpose, Happiness, Prosperity, and Freedom. When I get to day 40 and I have succeeded I will gain momentum in my confidence in me and whatever I put my mind to.

With all of that awareness and learning onward I go! I want to keep going and use this as a little experiment for me to learn and grow. I want to build more trust in me. I have also been VERY curious about all my habits regarding food and drink especially to help me heal some of my disordered eating stuff. It is helping me tremendously and I think simply putting the breaks on coffee has accelerated some of this curiosity and awareness. If you are trying to break a habit check out this thought-provoking TED talk: A simple way to break a bad habit by Judson Brewer. It definitely has gotten me to think differently and essentially snap out of some of the cycles in my mind that have been on repeat. Curiosity of my habits, thoughts and patterns of behavior have helped me become more aware and more kind in my awareness. It truly makes me feel less stuck than even a week and a half ago.

Not only do I want to stop drinking coffee during this time, but I also am trying to give myself the grace to STOP trying to be perfect. And instead of try SO hard to find the perfect and systematic approach for everything (gut healing, eating disorder stuff, adding in the right foods, etc., the right amount of coffee, the right parenting, etc.) I give myself permission to step back. I am giving myself the space to attempt to be more mindful and to give myself a freaking break.

Being sick last week and having sick kids helped me to realize that I am pretty damn blessed. It helped me to remember that my body does amazing things for me and I have more desire to do what I can to respect it. Of course I still have a lot of old patterns of behavior and thinking and plan to dig more into that as I move forward in each new day. But each day i have a choice. I have a choice to choose mindfulness, kindness, more sleep, more listening, and more trusting that I am exactly where I need to be and that things are going to be fine, and even better than fine.

And yes, each morning I will be right on the edge of wanting that warm cup of coffee or that caffeinated shot of espresso, but I know I can do this. I hope this teaches me to listen better, connect to my body better, and do what I can to nourish my body and get in a rhythm of food and drink that allows me to live my life and enjoy the other parts of it more. 

Is there something in your life that you think might need to give up for a bit? Are you ready to take the challenge to give it up today? Are you ready to take a little pause from something that has a huge pull on your life and that might be clouding the clarity you are seeking? You will know if now is the time. Regardless of where you are at, just ask the question and give yourself time to listen. I would love to hear if some of you are currently doing something like this or plan to.

Thank you for you reading and being you!

In love, light and gratitude.

Kristin

P.S. Did I mention the habit to seek out anything sweet that I can eat in the house even if it might not make me feel great? Like the cupcake for breakfast or the chocolate bar(s)? I think this is another habit for latter to uncover as I keep plugging along. I think I am starting to get it. For me I have been trying NOT to every indulge for the last four years in many ways and it has led to wanting it ALL the time. I guess the health gurus that talk about the 90/10 or 80/20 might be onto something because life is worth indulging...maybe just not every meal of the day! :)