a less caffeinated me

I love coffee. The sound of my coffee maker and the smell of coffee brewing, cradling the warm cup in my hands, and the first taste of the morning–these are the loveliest parts of my morning routine.  Perhaps because the act of making and drinking my morning coffee involves nearly all of my senses. It’s no wonder that I feel more cranky and out of sorts on days that do not start with this simple ritual.

Although I love coffee and have no intention of eliminating it from my morning routine, I also have to admit that I don’t like the effects that not having my daily dose of caffeine has on me.  For a while now, my morning routine has included two cups (24oz) of coffee.  Brewed coffee–not a latte or a frappuccino or a mocha.  Just the dark liquid gold of drip coffee with a heavy-handed splash of cream.  Don’t get me wrong–mochas used to be my drink of choice and then I transitioned to lattes and have now made the final transition to brewed coffee.  What I didn’t know was that there’s actually more caffeine in brewed coffee than in the average two-shot espresso drink.  This is important because whenever I try to substitute a latte for my morning coffee, it doesn’t have the same impact.  But, I’m digressing.

Like I said, until recently, I was a two-cup-a-day person.  I had to have two cups or else.  If you’re a long-time caffeine addict like me, you know what is followed by that “or else”–feeling more tired, crankiness, short attention span and an inability to focus, impatience.  At least, this is how I perceived my response and changes in behavior when I had anything less than two cups of coffee.  So when I say that I don’t like the effects of not having my daily dose of caffeine, these are the effects I mean.  More precisely, though, I don’t like knowing that I’m in withdrawal, and I don’t like being in withdrawal (obviously).  But I can’t (read: won’t) give up coffee.  In the decade and a half since I started drinking coffee and espresso drinks, I’ve given up caffeine entirely at least twice that I can remember.  I know I could give it up again if I wanted to, but I don’t want to.

However, I do want to drink less caffeine.  I sleep much better when I take in less caffeine, and somewhere deep inside I know that I manage my stress level better when I’m not drinking two or three cups of coffee in a given day.  To this end, I’ve started stepping down my daily coffee intake.  I have to be honest–the actual start to this goal sort of happened by accident.  It was a Sunday (11 days ago to be exact) and I had a commitment early in the day.  I woke up later than planned and only had time for one cup of coffee.  After I got home I crashed and took a long nap, but when I woke up my head was pounding–classic symptom of being in caffeine withdrawal.  I figured that that day was as good a day as any to start the withdrawal that would inevitably follow stepping down from two cups to one.  I also thought that if I was going to make this change, I should do it before school started.  The beginning of a semester is stressful enough; I certainly didn’t want to add caffeine withdrawal to the mix.

So, it’s been 11 days so far with only one cup of coffee.  There was one day where I had a minor slip–I went to the coffee shop in the afternoon a few days ago and ordered a latte.  I didn’t even realize what I was doing (i.e., having a second cup) but it didn’t derail all the efforts I’ve made to not have a second cup in the mornings.  I won’t lie–I still crave a second cup, and I’m not sure how long it will be before I don’t have that craving.  This morning when I got to the bottom of my cup I was really sad and wanted more, but I managed to say no.  I’m hoping this change will stick and that I won’t relapse once school starts and the pressure of the semester begins to mount.  I have always subscribed to the conventional wisdom that it takes 21 days to make or break a habit, but I recently read an article saying that that wisdom is more anecdote than proven fact.  Looking back, when I made the transition from mochas to lattes, it took about three months for the craving for a mocha to cease, so perhaps the smart thing is to alter my expectations based on that previous experience. Either way, if I can make it through 21, 30, or even 60 days, then I’ll know that I can sustain the new normal of one cup a day.

Then maybe I’ll stop being so obsessed with my coffee drinking habits…

sunday ROW80 check-in ~ #6

Hooray! I am finally ending my streak of missed Sunday check-ins!  I’m also making this check-in first thing in the morning, which is unusual but today it’s necessary.  My afternoon is blocked off for a very special friend’s bachelorette wine tasting party.  Yes, you read that correctly.  I’ll be touring a few of the local wineries this afternoon under the guise of a bachelorette party. It’s going to be a wild and fun time.

But that’s not why you’re here so let’s get to it.  Here’s how the last few days have gone since Wednesday’s check-in:

  • Goal #1 – Write 1000 words daily.  On Thursday I was about 180 words short of meeting my goal, but I made up for it on Friday and met the goal.  Knowing that I was probably not going to have time to write today because of my aforementioned plans, I wrote yesterday instead so that I could take today off, and I met the daily goal yesterday.
  • Goal #2 – Stick to my blog post schedule.  I missed Thursday’s blog post, but I knew that I was going to so I’m okay with that.  I am making today’s post (woo-hoo!) and I think I’m going to manage to get a book review done for tomorrow.  So, this goal is definitely seeing improvement but has room for more improvement.
  • Goal #3 – Complete the first draft of my WIP.  Since the beginning of Round 3 I’ve added almost 39K words to my draft.  I’m almost at a total of 52K words, and I still feel like I’m about halfway through the story.  I think I can still achieve this goal, but to do that I’m going to have to be disciplined about meeting Goal #1 once school begins.

Ah, fall semester.  It’s just coming into visibility on this road I’m on.  Starting tomorrow I’m going to start practicing my new work routine so that I’ll have worked out the kinks and already have an idea of what’s going to work and what’s not going to work in terms of how I’m going to get everything done everyday.  You might have guessed that I love having a routine.  I’m just made that way, I guess, and it takes me some time to get into a regular routine, so that’s why I’m starting early.  I’m also adding an item to my routine that hasn’t been there in some time.  Some of you are very familiar with it.  It’s that thing called exercise.  Yes, I’m trying to integrate that into my routine.  Four days a week.  We’ll see how it goes.  Me and exercise are not BFFs.  We break up.  A lot.  Definitely an on again and off again kind of relationship.  I’m all set to try this program called Couch to 5K.  Heard of it?  Done it?  If so, share your thoughts below.  I do not like to run (understatement), but it’s exercise I can get without having to pay for a gym membership and then feel guilty about not using it.  I downloaded the app on my smartphone and got a new armband for my phone (definitely less than even one month of a gym membership) so I should be all set to start.  I’m also starting zumba classes on Thursday. It’s not a whole new me, just me with some new stuff happening in my life.

All right, that’s it.  Everyone have a good week! Thanks for dropping by my blog!