[Part of my mission to “live deliberately” involves ruthlessly cutting out anything that saps my time, energy or money to no good end. I’m calling these things my “Quits,” and this is one of the many items that have found themselves on my Quits List.]
As I sit here writing today’s post, after a long and weary day of work, I am sipping a rewarding, invigorating, and soothing cup of…water.
This is not by choice.
Let me start by establishing how much I love coffee. I. Love. Coffee. Love, love, LOVE it. I love the taste of it. I love the smell of it brewing. I love the million and one different blends and trillion and one different creamer flavors you can add to them. I love the simultaneously energizing and calming effect of that first, delicious sip.
Goddamn, I’m depressing myself.
Because coffee, as the constant all-throughout-the-day companion it’s been for me, is now out of the question for the next year and a half.
I can still partake, but on a very regulated, limited schedule. It’s no longer my way of life. And this is a pretty big Quit for me, because I’ve had a constant stream of caffeine in my system from the time I discovered Tim Horton’s iced capps my senior year of high school.
Again, this is not by choice.
It is because, at the ripe old age of 29 and 4/5, I have finally gotten braces.
My Forced Rehab
(They’re Invisalign, actually, but still.)
I’m actually quite excited about this in every other aspect except for being torn asunder from my beloved caffeine. I’ve been self-conscious about my teeth from the minute my friends started getting braces and I learned we couldn’t afford them. I try not to smile too widely or too often when I meet strangers. I opt for a close-lipped smile in pictures. I usually cover my mouth or duck my head when I laugh around people I don’t know very well, without even realizing I’m doing it. Invisalign is something that will completely change my self-confidence, and I’m abso-frickin-lutely thrilled about that.
Except for the part where they gave me my first set of trays and told me what I was and wasn’t allowed to consume with them.
The trays are supposed to be in for 20-22 hours a day, with 22 being ideal if you can swing it. Since I’ve waited many a year longing for these babies, I’m trying to swing it out of the park. Which means I take my trays out for meals—a short half-hour breakfast and lunch and a dinner I try not to linger over too long—and that’s it. In between, it’s nothing but water. This definitely took some getting used to.
But, to my surprise, my first unintentional Quit has actually had some pretty good results.
The Pros of a Normal Relationship with Coffee
Slight weight loss (woot!). I call it my “Invisalign diet.” Snacking is prohibited, but I never did that very much to begin with, so the only thing I can think of to account for my recent couple-pounds dip at the doctor’s office is the fact that I never just drank coffee. I drank coffee with all variety of indulgent flavored creamers and enough sugar packets to make your teeth hurt. And I drank mugs of the stuff ceaselessly throughout the day. Limiting myself to my morning cuppa Joe and an afternoon pick-me-up, apparently, has cut a significant number of calories from my diet. Score.
More energy. While I still have my 3:00 cup to help motivate me through the last bit of the workday, I don’t need it like I used to. I don’t feel that physical crash if I haven’t had a cup in a while. When I’m tired now, it’s because I’m genuinely tired, not because I’m dependent and my levels are dropping. And it’s not as hard to get through a drowsy day sans caffeine as I always thought it would be. If anything, trying to falsely amp myself up when I was drowsy just made me drowsy and jittery, not un-drowsy.
Not having to pee every two seconds. TMI, I know, but trying not to pee every two seconds was slated for an upcoming Quit, so now that this problem has been solved, you’re fortunate enough to only have to read a paragraph about it rather than a whole post.
I used to have to switch up which restrooms I used in my office so that whoever sat near them didn’t see me going in and out a dozen times a day and wonder what the hell was the matter with me. My first thought whenever I entered a new building or left for a road trip was: Where will the nearest bathroom be, and how long can I wait until I need to use it? The first time I did a full morning’s worth of work and realized at lunchtime I’d gone three straight hours without needing a potty break, it was jaw-dropping. I felt like I’d run a marathon. Especially since I drink water like a race horse now to distract myself from the aroma of coffee all around me in the office. Apparently my body likes water and doesn’t feel the need to get rid of it every twenty minutes. Who knew?
I enjoy coffee when I do have it so much more. “Going out for coffee” with a friend is a real indulgence now. Treating myself to a Starbucks caramel macchiato feels like an absolute luxury. Now that coffee isn’t my water, I really appreciate it when I do have it. When my round of Invisalign is over and I’m free to eat and drink as I please again, I don’t think I’ll go back to my old caffeine IV drip lifestyle. ’Cause this is actually kind of a nice way of having things.
Totally against my will, I’d still like to have it noted. But I can concede that sometimes a forced Quit can be just as rewarding as a chosen one.
Any former caffeine junkies out there with their own Quit stories? (Or current junkies unwilling to let go of it? (I totally understand.))
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