Quitting Coffee and Finding Balance

I am on Day 6 of NO COFFEE and NO CAFFEINE! I am pretty proud of myself. I am most surprised by how freeing it is. I no longer need to worry about where my coffee will come from when I travel or go camping. I know that I can survive without it. Yesterday (Day 5) was the most trying. I actually found myself craving the coffee, the flavor, the warmth, the buzz. Yesterday was the perfect chilly November day and with no coffee it wasn’t quite right. I knew that I could expect more of the same from today, so I was more prepared. I planned for a yummy snack (homemade gluten free banana muffin) and tea in the afternoon, about the time I would start to crave coffee. It wasn’t the same, but it got my mind off of it. I’ve also been trying to drink tons of water which helps.

Beautiful almond milk latte.

Beautiful almond milk latte.

It hasn’t all been negative. Like I said, I feel freed from the grips of the caffeine fix. My sleep has been a lot better – sounder – and my sinuses feel clearer. My goal is to be coffee/caffeine free for at least 3 whole weeks. I’d like to take it longer, maybe 1-3 months. I also think that when I go back to drinking coffee it might be a weekend thing and I might try to invest in some high quality grinds. We’ll see…

I have also been having a bit of a revelation when it comes to my goals as an athlete. I’ve been into CrossFit for over 5 years now. After discovering CF in 2008 and attempting to piece WODs together using the “hopper method” I thought it was the best thing since sliced bread. My goal was to look like Miranda Oldroyd and make it to a higher level of competition.  A lot has changed between then and now; it’s been an evolution over the course of 5+ years. After putting the pedal to the metal last fall and winter in hopes of finishing better overall in the 2015 Open I succeeded in that goal. However, to chase goals there is usually sacrifice involved. I did not have as much time to work with people on their nutrition or run special programs like the Body Transformation Project. I also felt limited socially and felt guilty going out to have a few drinks or staying up too late. Nights before training were off limits as far as social engagements. I enjoyed training that intensely and I was very focused during that time, but after the Open, there wasn’t enough drive to keep me going.

Some people live and breathe for performance and competition. It’s amazing to see the drive and athleticism and the talent these people possess. I realize that I just don’t really want that for myself. It only took 6 months for me to feel like effects of training at a high level. I ended up burnt out. My wrist injury over the summer kind of sealed the deal for me. Despite having a relaxed summer of training and my nagging wrist and shoulder I decided to register for a competition in December. I registered because it was tradition. For the last 3 years we’ve traveled up to Vermont for a day of awesome competition and fun with friends and fellow athletes. We go out for a big meal after and get to spend a weekend away.

I recently pulled myself out of that competition which was a difficult choice. I felt guilty for not upholding my commitment to myself and my training plans. After the guilt wore off I felt like a weight was lifted and a bunch of pressure released. I’m not saying that I don’t want to push myself and be the best that I can be, I’m saying that I just need to be more realistic and shift my focus to where it needs to be right now; my work, my clients, the programs I lead – those are the things that need my full attention.

It boils down to the concept of “you can’t do it all”. That’s life. To me, it’s one step closer to balance. Letting go of things you aren’t (i.e. at this moment in time I’m not a competitor) is freeing and it clears space for more positive and productive thoughts in your mind. Rather than feeling guilty about unrealistic expectations you set in your mind, you can focus on what’s really going on. I am excited to have more time to focus on my health – my real health – eating more veggies, getting more sleep, fixing my allergies and sinuses, organizing my obligations so I am less stressed. I am excited to train when I schedule it, but it won’t be the end of the world if something comes up and I have to put it off until tomorrow. #reallife

Have you ever experienced a turning point in your career or with your life goals? Post your thoughts in the comments here or on Facebook. I’d love to read about your experiences and advice.

I’m Quitting Coffee

This is scary for me. I’m quitting coffee. I am fairly certain it’s contributing to my lack of energy, sleep issues, and allergies. I have been addicted to coffee since college. I drank Green Mountain coffee from the cafe at Plymouth State University. Every. Single. Day. Nothing stopped me, I woke up looking forward to it. To this day Green Mountain remains my favorite brand of coffee.

When I lived on Oregon I got super spoiled buying amazing small batches of organic, fair trade coffee and learned a lot about different regions and roasts; flavors I liked and didn’t like. It was like learning about wine. There’s really no better place to stay hooked on coffee than the Pacific Northwest, as a grad student no less. There was a Starbucks IN THE LIBRARY! Double Americano – don’t mind if I do!

When I go camping I worry about where I will get, or how I am going to make, my coffee. When I go away with friends for the weekend I always bring the coffee. It’s bad. There is no question that I am addicted. I feel like it gets me going in the morning.

For about a month now I have been making myself drink a glass of water when I wake up instead of immediately heading for the coffee pot. I will admit that I feel more alert and just generally “better” when I do this. I’ve also cut down the amount of coffee I drink. I have one mug, probably about 16oz. per day, instead of 24+ ounces. Last winter, my doctor told me I needed to cut back. I heeded her recommendation for about 1 month. It’s funny how we slowly fall back into habits.

I am quitting coffee this week. I am going to focus on drinking lots of water. I am anticipating headaches which I will deal with using my essential oils. If I am craving something warm I will have tea instead. My main motivation for challenging myself to do this is to see if I feel better without drinking coffee. The only way to truly know if something is giving you issues is to eliminate it for a little while. If the solution is simple, why not do it? It makes me sad though because I feel as though I am breaking up with an old friend. Maybe the breakup wont last forever…

Have you ever quit coffee or something you truly enjoyed but was a burden to your health? Let me know! I could use some tips.