Kicking My Caffeine Habit

I can hear the desperate cries from all of the addicts right now. “Don’t do it!” “We need caffeine! What would life be like without coffee and tea!?” Just before I made my last post I had gone thrift store shopping and found an armful of books there. One of those books was Caffeine Blues: Wake Up To The Hidden Dangers of America’s #1 Drug.  Granted, it is pretty old, almost 20 years, but the message is still valid. Also, for those interested, it is well written and easy to read. You can pick a copy of it up for a penny plus shipping on Amazon right now. It’s well worth it.

As you may know, I made quitting caffeine one of my new goals. Goal #3 to better my mental health, to be exact. I have a lot of anxiety and I had just talked to my doctor about going on medication for it. She prescribed Zoloft. As I am currently not on any meds, I wanted to be absolutely sure I had corrected everything I could easily correct before starting them. I have had the bottle for 3 weeks and still haven’t started it. It just stares at me from my night stand, taunting me with prospective serenity and a list of negative side effects the length of my arm.

I was beginning to believe caffeine might be a pretty big factor in my anxiety but was having a difficult time acknowledging this correlation between my misery and my addiction. After reading a small chunk of this book over the weekend, only about as much as a person suffering major caffeine withdrawal has the attention span for, I’m starting to think my daily morning latte and afternoon glasses of iced tea are linked to a lot more of the health problems I experience than just the anxiety.

There are health problems that have been gradually getting worse over the last ten years and ones I can always remember having. But then again, I have been addicted to caffeine since I was a kid. The last time I went to my doctor was for being sick again, about the fifth or sixth time this winter, she made a comment that caffeine and sugar together are a very deadly combination and may be responsible for some of the difficulty I have feeling motivated to do what is necessary to lose weight.

I want to be clear on something, I am not one of those people who complains that they simply cannot lose weight no matter what they do. I have proven a few times now that I can and do lose fat at a healthy pace when I control my portions and get in 10k steps every day. My body isn’t severely broken, I just stunt its ability to do things effectively by filling it with too many dead food calories and then rarely ever exercising. My problem is apathy. I occasionally lose the will power to focus, to commit to a plan, to make myself work out. I truly want to do these things and I know I feel so much better when I am. My job can be pretty stressful and has been so for a while now. I have been bogged down, but I think ditching caffeine is going to help.

I am already on my third day of detox from caffeine and the headache is subsiding. Day one was pretty rough and yesterday wasn’t a picnic either, but today, even without my morning vanilla latte, I am feeling hopeful. I used to think that I was just too lazy and self indulgent to do what needed to be done to lose weight, to control portion sizes, to get out and walk. You may notice a pattern of negative self talk that I get in to. Now I am beginning to think that I have been sabotaging myself with caffeine and this addiction is a larger part of what has been holding me back from being a more effective, vibrant version of myself than I thought.

Health Problems Before Quitting Caffeine:
Attention Deficit Disorder, Anxiety, Depression, Panic Attacks, Heart Palpitations, Ovarian Cysts, Fibrocystic Breast Tissue/Lumps, Persistent Cough, Frequent Incontinence, Restlessness in Sleep, High Cholesterol, Frequent Anger and Hostility, Irritability, Hard to Get Out of Bed in the Morning, Stiff joints, Short Attention Span, Getting and Staying Sick Longer, Approx 50 lbs Overweight, Adrenal Fatigue, Occasional Light and Sound Sensitivity, Allergies.

These are just the ones off the top of my head. Is this what the slow march toward Death looks like? I didn’t realize there was so much going on with me. I have switched into existence mode again, just ‘hanging in there” without making any real progress. I know we can’t hope to ever escape from toxins in the world we live in, but I have high hopes that kicking this addiction will help with a lot of these symptoms.

Right now I am pledging 60 days without consuming any more caffeine than one would find in a brownie or a decaf cup of tea. I won’t even be having decaf coffee. No green tea either.

The difference is already becoming apparent. I didn’t snap at my maintenance man this morning when he asked me for the office fax number yet again and I feel more motivated than usual to declutter the top of my desk. Apparently last week was rough, it looks like I was searched by the police… well, just my desk. I wasn’t, I am normally just this disorganized. Could a caffeine free life be the answer to the ADHD I have had since childhood? Any improvement at this point is exciting.

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