why, oh why, would one give up coffee? trust me, as i sit here typing away with a caffeine withdrawal induced headache, i’m wondering the exact same thing. i stop typing for a moment to grip my warm mug and take a sip of the freshly brewed vanilla rooibos herbal tea in hopes that it will somehow satisfy my craving….give me my fix. *sigh* nope, not gonna happen. this self-proclaimed coffee addict has agreed (or actually been told) to forgo my cup of happiness for 21 days. i feel as though i’m cheating on coffee; afraid that my brief, yet seemingly far-too-long (21 days!!!) retreat from all caffeine may somehow alert others that coffee is bad for you. it’s not! after all, i’m frequently touting the health benefits of coffee: it’s packed with antioxidants, provides insta-energy for a workout, boosts heart health, it (literally) makes you happy, and the aroma…oh, the aroma. but, i digress before i talk myself out of this blankety-blank experiment. did i mention i’m cranky?
on a recent visit to my doctor, it was brought to my attention that my cortisol levels are through the roof indicating that apparently my body is under “chronic stress.” what? me? i’m so low key. (not). ok, i suppose the past few years haven’t been exactly uneventful, but i had no idea how it might affect my body. apparently my cortisol levels are that of someone with PTSD and my progesterone levels are extremely low. cortisol is the stress hormone that is tied to weight gain. oh, joy. so other than work with my doc through this, i started researching what i can do from a nutrition perspective. and i did NOT like what i found. apparently, my “addiction” to coffee has been my subconscious way of dealing with the issues caused by the hormone imbalance . when you have low hormone levels and high cortisol, you also have very little energy, have a hard time focusing (“brain fog”), and battle your weight regardless of your exercise or nutrition. after doing more research, i found that coffee (or any caffeine really) is directly tied to increasing cortisol levels. in fact, new research is finding that drinking java early in the morning (before 10) actually disrupts our body’s ability to produce cortisol naturally, which is why we become so dependent on it. dang. the good news (if there is any good news to be had) is that according to dr. sara gottfried, author of “the hormone reset diet,” 21 days off coffee might be long enough to “reset” cortisol levels. usually, i would (respectfully) scoff at ever giving up coffee, but here are the facts:
i don’t want to. that alone, means that i have a problem. and i need to. the thought that something has control over me freaks me out, so the choice to undergo this is partly a hissy fit to show myself who’s boss.
i’m addicted. i preach moderation, and there’s no moderation when it comes to my coffee consumption. just peruse my instagram and you’ll see a plethora of posts with coffee making a cameo.
it’s my trigger habit. using the method of habit-stacking, changing this one habit of drinking coffee, actually has a major trickle-down effect. take away my coffee and 1) i’m drinking more water and tea so i’m more hydrated, 2) without caffeine, i’m sleeping better at night, and 3) i’m taking in fewer calories because no coffee means no cream. (oh, i miss my cream.)
disclaimer: this is just for 21 days. after that, i will have an appointment with my doctor to check my levels again, but rest-assured…coffee and i will reunite. perhaps this time, in moderation. in the meantime, this half-cup coffee girl will be sipping a variety of herbal teas and brewing teecino, a wanna-be coffee alternative that isn’t half bad.
so i don’t have to go it alone, i just kicked off a #21days2change countown til’ summer challenge on instagram: come join me + tons of other fitbookers who are committing to change just ONE habit for the next 21 days. i mean, if i can give up coffee…..seriously, anything is possible.
in closing, i’m giving fair warning to my friends, colleagues + family members that should i be unusually moody, cranky, or downright difficult, you have full permission to put me in my place. my most sincere apologies for my behavior while not under the influence of coffee.