Bah! Guys! I’m cutting back on caffeine and sugar, and it is hard. I decided to do this a couple of months ago, and I’ve been okay with it. Some days are better than others for sure.
I decided to cut out caffeine and sugar because I was having too much of both. I would say I had crossed over into the “addicted” territory. Here’s how it’s working for me.
I’ve had this photo that Carter took stored on my hard drive for over seven months, just waiting for the perfect post to use it for ha!
CAFFEINE // I’m reluctantly cutting back on drinking coffee. To be honest, I hate the way I feel after drinking too much caffeine, and it certainly can bring out the worst of my anxiety. That said, I love the taste of coffee. But, in this little experiment of mine, I found out that my real issue was that I was hooked on the ritual of coffee.
I look forward to making my morning cup of coffee as early as the night before, and I’m definitely thinking about the first sip while I’m walking the dogs. Then, I start to “hit the wall” around 4 pm when I need an afternoon pick me up. This is in part a necessity for an energy boost and in part an excuse to get away from my desk for a few minutes. I hop in the car and make the four-minute drive to Starbucks for a cappuccino. Finally, the real problem: I would like to enjoy a little cup of coffee before bed. (I got my mom hooked on this nightly ritual by the way, and she still hates me for it.)
To make this work for me, I had to start figuring out how to break the habit. The first to go was the nightly cup. This was pretty easy as I just swapped in a “sleepytime” tea instead. Doesn’t quite taste the same as my beloved coffee, but it gets the job done. The ritual of making tea (i.e. boiling water, steeping the tea, smelling the aroma) helps fill the void too.
I still enjoy my morning cup of coffee as I never end up drinking the full cup anyway. (I measured and I only drink about four ounces.) It’s just enough to keep me going until lunch without making me jittery. Another thing that has helped me is my mindfulness journey. Instead of just putting the cup of coffee next to me while I work and sipping nonchalantly, I the first few sips. With my eyes closed, I let the flavor sit on my tongue, and I breathe in the scent. It sounds a little ~woo woo~, I know, but it really does work. I swear those first few mindful sips have more power than a full energy drink.
The one I’m working on the most is my afternoon craving. I’ve been treating myself to an afternoon coffee only twice a week. On the days when I don’t go, I try to do something else that gives me energy and gets me away from my desk. That might be an extra long walk, a trip to the grocery store (oddly works wonders and is another thing to cross off the to-do list), or enjoying a sparkling water while reading a few pages of a book. It’s not a fool proof solution, but it’s making a difference for sure.
SUGAR // Oooooh boy. If I thought cutting back on caffeine was going to be hard. The sugar addiction is REAL.
I want to be very clear here: I still eat sugar. I’m just cutting back.
The number one thing that helped me a) make this choice and b) stick with it is that I’ve been working hard at the gym. I’m doing such good work there and noticing a major difference in my strength that I don’t want to backtrack due to a few cookies. There’s no motivation quite like momentum in the right direction.
I still enjoy ice cream (oh, do I enjoy ice cream) and I even drove through the Donut Delight drive-through for a chocolate doughnut the other day. But I’m not overindulging. The mindfulness trick works even better for sugar than it does for the caffeine. Instead of seeing the pint of ice cream as a suggested serving size (lol, don’t judge me!), I savor every bite of the ice cream until my craving is satisfied. I used to mindlessly devour sweets while I was doing another task, like working or watching television. Now after about four bites, I’ve gotten my fix, and I walk away with both a happy sweet tooth and state of mind.
Another choice that helped was to try to limit my sugar intake to dessert only. Kind of sounds counterintuitive, but I just mean that I’d rather have a cookie after dinner than waste my sugar for the day first thing in the morning with a huge stack of pancakes. The better I eat throughout the day, the better I want to eat at night too. If that makes sense.
This is certainly a journey and I’m sure there will be bumps along the road. But, I’m feeling more energized and my mood is a whole lot brighter.
Do you guys have tips that you follow?!