Test Yourself – My Experience Cutting Caffeine and Alcohol

132 days ago, my life was changed forever. I went to a NYE party and didn’t drink alcohol.

Before new years, meeting up with a friend and drinking a handful of beers was a weekly occurrence. Going out with my husband on date night would result in two or three… or seven drinks. Weddings, parties and other major events, I was walking around naked, totally incoherent and it was “funny”.

Before new years, I was waking up and drinking my two or three cups of black coffee, meeting clients in the afternoon and drinking a latte, and sometimes finishing dinner with a dessert coffee (or a beer).

Before new years, I was eating cereal for breakfast (special K, as if that justified me eating cereal), lots of carb loaded foods like pretzels (because again, they were a “healthy” option), and m&ms (because the party-sized bag I had in my pantry allowed me to have “little treats” throughout the day, without me actually sitting down and eating an entire chocolate bar… in reality, I probably had more junk than if I had just sat down and ate one).

Before new years, I was bloated, groggy, bitchy, tired, had life-altering anxiety, and never felt “right”.

It’s easy to see why, right?

Well, I didn’t see it until NYE with sober eyes, looking at a room full of slobbering drunk fools.

My transition didn’t happen overnight, but it started with cutting alcohol. At first, going out with friends resulted in the typical, “oh, c’mon… just have one,” or “wow, you’re no fun.”

That stings, but waking up with a headache, no money and no idea where your clothes are is even worse.

The immediate results of cutting out my weekly dozen-or-so drinks, was losing ten pounds. My face and stomach slimmed up and people were telling me I looked great. You can read more about how alcohol affects your weight here.

After officially making my drink-of-choice unsweet tea at get-togethers, I decided to take a harder look at myself and see what else I had a dependency on.

Coffee was a big one. It’s a popular to say, “I’ll kill someone if I don’t get my morning coffee.”… but when you really stop and think about it, that is pretty fucked up, no? In my eyes, if you have a dependency on any substance, it is a negative. You have to be able to control your urges, or you are no better than a cocaine addict (both are addictive and can cause anxiety, paranoia and restlessness). Coffee is the world’s most popular fix and nobody sees it for what it is; it is the most frequently self-administered drug in recreational use worldwide today.

When I cut caffeine, I had a full-body withdrawal. Headache, nauseous, fever, sore throat, fidgety. All I could think about in the mornings was a Red Bull or Starbucks.

I knew that after three days of being sick, that I really did have a problem. It took me about a week to get past the fogginess.

Before new years, getting up at 10:30 a.m. and being exhausted by 10:00 p.m. was my normal. I slept about 10-12 hours a night and never could shake the tiredness.

Now? I’m up at 5:00 a.m. and I have swapped my cuppa-joe for mean-green and a shot of apple cider vinegar. I am totally coherent throughout the day with no major “lulls” like I used to have. I sleep wonderfully and I feel great.

My sugar addiction is still in the process of being completely curbed. I have lowered my daily intake of sugar from over 200 grams a day to about 35 grams. I still eat fruits and as a “treat”, I eat a single Mochi (~100 cals, 0g fat, 13g carbs, 1g protein, 5g sugar) after dinner.

All in all, I have found this entire process to be very interesting and I am proud of my resolve. I can now enjoy a single beer, coffee or treat as a decision and not an impulse.

My energy levels have balanced out, I’m not bloated, my skin has cleared up, my eyes aren’t puffy, my hair has gotten thicker, my anxiety has reduced, my body fat as decreased, I sleep better and I FEEL better.

I would suggest you try your own hand at cutting things out of your life as a test of your own mind. Can you do it?

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