No caffeine, no alcohol, no sugar... No, really?
The challenge for Week 16 of The Great Wake Up was a tough one, cutting out all caffeine, alcohol and refined sugar.
Chris, you have got to be kidding. What terrible timing! My birthday is this week and I'm negotiating a big job with a new client. And you want me to give up my cuppa?
I nearly opted out of this one. I have a complex relationship with caffeine in that I learned long ago that too much is a migraine trigger, but none at all causes withdrawal headaches. So I made my peace with caffeine and stick to my one cup of builder's tea each day. It's a ritual that grounds me, and that I look forward to every day.
However, in for a penny, in for a pound, and on day one I had no caffeine, with no ill effects. This was a pleasant surprise! On day two I had the nagging detox headache and (hangs head in shame) I eventually gave in. But only part way - I had a cup of green tea with no sugar, just to nip the edge off. And that worked. Day three I was back to no caffeine and the same on day four, although I was certainly craving caffeine by the end of the day...
This was a big learning for me - I already knew about the dependency we can build on caffeine, and the negative effects of an abrupt withdrawal, but I was pleased to know I'd managed my dependency down enough to manage a day without any, and then two more. It makes me a lot more confident about continuing to have caffeine free days. And I'm going to!
Sugar was surprisingly doable; although I wanted cake and cookies I found it easier to say no when I wasn't having a cup of tea. I did eat A LOT of fruit, though. And a lot of everything else... So I'm not sure that was a 100% win.
What is a win, though, is knowing I can give up sugar (and caffeine) even when the timing is bad, and it's given me the impetus to tackle my real challenge - giving up refined carbohydrates (wheat and sugar...). I've always put this off because it's never been a good time, and this weeks challenge has shown me it's never going to be a good time. So just do it now.
It's been a valuable - if not easy - challenge this week and a good chance to check in with my body. It's nice to know I do have functioning willpower after all!
(p.s. I feel like a total cheat on alcohol - I drink so little that drinking for four days in a row would be a much bigger challenge than not drinking. I wasn't brave enough to substitute wheat this time, but just thinking about that challenge to come makes me feel for the drinkers among us!)