Howdy faithful followers! Thanks for stopping by. I wanted to share a little story with you.
If you had asked me six months ago what the one thing is that I would never give up, I'd have told you coffee. I couldn't function in the morning without my cup(s) of coffee. I had started taking a supplement that worked better on an empty stomach, but I refused to go 30 minutes in the morning without coffee, so it probably didn't work as well as it otherwise could have.
The addiction was real. I wasn't just tired without it - I was grumpy, groggy and unable to function.
My son would try teasing me that I was an addict. I couldn't even disagree with him. But I was functioning okay with it, so what was the harm? Right? WRONG.
About the time I started getting really serious about health coaching I started talking with my own gut health coach. I was having some pretty significant gut issues and I was desperate for help. I tried researching a few things on my own, but didn't find anything that really helped. My classes weren't addressing gut health, so I reached out to someone who had been there.
Everything she suggested I was willing to do - eliminate grains, eliminate sugar, and with the exception of dairy, eat "as paleo as possible." I predominantly eat paleo, so I wasn't too concerned about that. She encouraged me to drink carrot juice every morning, and significantly increase my fat intake, primarily in the forms of coconut oil and Kerrygold butter. That didn't seem too hard at all.
She reviews everything and says, "How much of this will you do?" I tell her, "Everything. You haven't suggested anything yet that I can't live with." She says, "Even the coffee?" I froze. I had forgotten she mentioned giving up coffee, as it can be a gut irritant.
At the time we had planned for this to be a two week challenge. But two weeks without coffee? I hadn't done that since I was pregnant with my youngest son twenty years ago. Like I said, though, I was desperate, so I agreed to give it a try for two weeks. I forewarned all those who worked and lived with me that the next couple of weeks might not be pretty.
Day one of No Grains, No Sugar, No Processed Foods, and No Coffee came, and it wasn't too terrible. I made Crio Bru and blended it with coconut oil. I had my carrot juice. My meals were more or less the same, but I cut out the processed snacks and started reading labels to look for added sugar in a way that would have made Melissa Hartwig proud.
Somehow I made it though. It wasn't pretty and I'm not going to pretend that it was. I had no energy. I had headaches. My body ached. I was miserable. It was so tempting to just have one cup of coffee because I knew it would get rid of the symptoms. I stuck to it, though, because I had committed that I would.
Guess what? After about a week I started feeling better. By the end of the two weeks I felt great. I thought back to the Whole30 Timeline and most of it seemed to fit - except that on Whole30 you still get coffee. Yes, I was bitter about it, but I was thrilled that I was feeling better.
At the end of the two weeks I still kept brewing my Crio Bru in the mornings. A friend wanted to go out for coffee and talk. I figured I had gotten through the two weeks without cheating, and I was feeling great, so I was going to get the coffee. If it made me sick then I would know to avoid it.
But ... it didn't. I felt good. I had been really tired that day up to our coffee date and it perked me right up. I wasn't jittery and my stomach didn't hurt. I still felt good. Could it be that I could really bring coffee back into my life without negative side effects?
As stoked as I was, I still put on the Crio Bru the next morning. And the morning after that. And the entire week until Friday. On Friday I was going to a day long mastermind and figured I deserved a treat. So I stopped at a Starbucks, picked up a flat white, and headed to my meeting.
I fully embrace my ADHD. I accept it for what it is and I do what I can to function as best I can. But that morning ... oh my gracious the squirrels were everywhere! Every little thing someone did or said completely distracted me. I couldn't focus. I was talking a million miles an hour. Then my friend points out, "Aren't you drinking coffee??"
Duh. That was exactly what the problem was. Shortly after that my gut started yelling at me. Well, shit. Maybe I can't do the coffee anymore. I didn't drink any more and actually poured it out, something I consider to be the ultimate party foul. But I didn't want my stomach hurting worse than it did.
I went back to the Crio Bru again, occasionally switching it out for tea. I continued the regime until .... The Party. One of my bestest girlfriends threw a house party, and the night was all about whiskey. Kentucky Mules, some other drinks I can't pronounce, and snacks. She's a fitness trainer so of course the majority of snacks were healthy, but there was enough sugar in the juices and mixtures to really do a number on me. I ended up crashing at her place.
The next morning she offers me a cup of coffee. I accept, because I'm still feeling like a bag of smashed assholes from the night before. At first it tastes great. I sip and enjoy the whole cup. I felt okay ... until I didn't. I more or less spent the rest of the day in bed, sleeping on and off, and sipping what I can of V8 juice and ginger ale. I had been doing okay until the coffee.
I vowed at that point I would not have coffee again.
So what happened? How did I go from a girl who lived on coffee and has an entire Pinterest board dedicated to coffee memes to being the girl who drinks Crio Bru and herbal tea?
It really came down to motivation. I believe that any time we try to do something that we don't necessarily want to do, particularly if we are eliminating something, there can be stages of grief.
- Denial: I don't really have to give up coffee. I feel just fine. I can deal with some stomach discomfort. Besides, there's probably another cause besides the coffee.
- Anger: Seriously?! What do you mean coffee isn't making me healthy?! I can't function without coffee. And I might lose it and punch someone out and go to jail, but that's not MY fault, it's yours for making me stop.
- Bargaining: Hmm, okay, well, maybe coffee isn't so good for my gut. I'm sure I can still drink it sometimes when I'm really tired or when it's a special occasion. I just won't drink it every day.
- Depression: OMG. I can't believe I have to drink Crio Bru for the rest of my life. Now all the pins on my coffee board on Pinterest are worthless. There aren't any good Crio Bru memes. My life as I know it is over.
- Acceptance: Well, here we are. I haven't had a coffee in two months and I'm feeling pretty good. I guess there is something to this gut health thing. Tea and Crio Bru are a nice treat in the mornings!
Once I realized and accepted the benefits of avoiding coffee I was in good shape. My motivation had to come extrinsically at first (the negative impact of the coffee on my body) and then intrinsically (my desire to maintain a higher quality of gut health).
I would encourage you to look at yourself and what healthy habits you want to make (or what unhealthy habits you want to break). Where is your motivation coming from? Is it extrinsic or intrinsic? What increases or decreases your motivation? If you are trying to give something up, what stage of grief are you in? If you are trying to do something new, how are you incorporating this into your routine?
If this seems a little overwhelming, don't fret. Sometimes having someone for ideas and accountability can be so helpful! Have you ever worked with a Certified Health Coach before? Hit me up by dropping a comment or contacting me here. I'd love to do a free call with you to see if health coaching would be a good fit.
Thanks for reading! Have a healthy day!