How do you give up coffee & sugar? Part I
January 14, 2011
After my No Complaining Challenge post, a friend posed this question:
My question to Michelle is, with these challenges, how do you make it through them? I have to give up two things I know my body is totally addicted to, Caffeine and sugar, for my health. I’m seeing a neurologist to try to spare myself of migraines. My doctor ordered a special diet to see if perhaps they are food allergies. There is practically nothing I can or am allowed to eat.
I would love some kind of tip, in how you look at your cravings when you get them, and keep yourself on track with your goal…
I had so much to say that I’m splitting the response into THREE parts! Thanks for inspiring me!
Here’s what I’ve learned via my experience with Challenges and giving things up:
First, it gets easier over time! Take baby steps. Like anything, take it day by day. When I thought I had to give up cheese FOREVER, it was too much. My ego said “THAT’S IMPOSSIBLE!” and I didn’t even try to go one day without cheese. But when you break it down to the moment – Can you not put cheese in your mouth at this moment? How about this moment? How about now? – the answer is always going to be “yes.” In every moment you can make a choice that aligns with your goals, priorities and health. And if you slip up, no big deal; just go back to trying again.
I was looking back at my blog from last May, when I first tried giving everything up for a month. It was much harder than it is now. I still had “cheat” days, though honestly, it’s easier to take away the choice and just commit 100%.
Second, reframing the situation by rewording my statements helped a lot. Instead of thinking “I can’t have this, or this, or this,” I thought about what I could have that I enjoy – apples, or sweet potatoes or whatever – and make up positive affirmations around them. Apples make my skin vibrant and radiant! Sweet potatoes taste amazing with cinnamon and give me energy without making me feel bloated! Also instead of saying to people “I can’t eat that,” I’m trying to say “I don’t want that.” Or just, “No thanks.” I don’t have to let everyone know that I’m not eating this or that or the other every time I’m presented with a food choice. It’s my decision; I don’t need sympathy. I’m not a victim.
Third, your body is not “totally addicted” to those things. It’s gotten used to the sub-optimal state that it’s been functioning at. There was a recent study on caffeine that showed that it doesn’t really make you MORE alert – it just counteracts the feelings of withdrawal from the previous day’s caffeine.
It’s my opinion that all the “bad”/addictive things that we eat and do just keep us at zero when we’re eating/doing them; and take us down to a negative when we’re not getting them (withdrawals). We know intuitively that those things are “bad” for us because what we truly want is to be in the positive; not stuck at zero or in the negative.
So you’re always at a zero or negative point when you’ve got those things in your system. If you stop drinking coffee for a few days (and sit with the discomfort, really experience it so you FEEL what the caffeine withdrawal does to your body) the negative affects of the caffeine would lose their effect, and then you’d have more real, pure, healthy energy, and end up in the positive state. And then you don’t even need the coffee anymore (or want it, since you’ve experienced how bad it’ll make you feel in the long run). Our egos/society say that having coffee is going to make you feel energetic and focused; but after drinking coffee for years, I realized I only felt that way (if at all) for a few minutes, and then after that I would actually feel anxious for an hour or two. I’ve found if I’m more present to the entire experience, I can feel what’s best for/true for me.
Also, if you’re into Abraham-Hicks, they say it only takes 3 days for your cells to return to normal (positive) functioning after the shock (poisoning) of any addictive substance. Here’s a discussion.
“Nothing is impossible, we just don’t know how to do it yet.” – L.L. Cudmore