Here is a personal story about when I recently decided to give up an addictive substance for my health:
I have been dieting my entire life (since age 9; long story there) so I am used to going it alone, but with this diet I would have the background support of my spouse. He wanted to shed a few pounds too. We decided to go back on “Eat to Live” which is a book with a 6-week vegan weight loss diet created by Dr. Joel Fuhrman. (We had done it before, and it was effective for me even in light of being a menopausal woman.)
But this time I decided to also give up coffee because I was told that my kidneys and adrenals were fatigued. I decided to see if cutting out all coffee would have a positive effect on my energy levels and overall well-being. So not only was I giving up meat, eggs, fats & oils, all dairy, and chocolate and more, I also gave up the coffee! My organic coffee with organic milk! I decided to stay away from Decaf too.
So step 1, I planned for it. I decided to begin with a week off work. My plan was to gift myself with a full week to focus on all the shopping, chopping, and intensive meal prep involved with a vegan diet. I also planned to do some spring cleaning in the house. So I also made a list of chores for the house ahead of time to keep me productive. I enjoy cleaning, so that was a good distraction plan with happy fulfilling benefits!
Much to my surprise, I ended up napping for the first 4 days because I felt exhausted in the early afternoons. I was able to do that because I had time off work. So I was kind to myself and had naps when I needed them.
The hardest part of not having coffee was my emotional sadness around so much food and beverage deprivation, so I noticed my feelings and I praised and encouraged myself with thoughts such as, “It is really great that giving up coffee doesn’t give you headaches! You are so lucky!”
I come from a family of coffee drinkers, so there is a history for me. Even though I replaced my coffee with tea, I felt sad, angry, and deprived. I just allowed myself to have my feelings but did my best to not allow my feelings to affect my spouse or loved ones. I know that feelings ebb and flow, so I do not worry when I have difficult emotions.
When my spouse teased me about chocolate or peanut butter toast (2 of my favourite things in the world), I asked him to stop talking about those things (step 10). He immediately stopped, and I let him know I appreciated his efforts to do that for me.
Each day I felt better and better in a lighter type of energetic way. The better feeling helped fuel me to keep going. And I continued to work with my inner encouraging voice to stay on track.
Also for step 10, I said “no” to going to the movies, because I didn’t want to have to think about “no popcorn”.
So as I write this I have about 4 weeks left. I am feeling confident and a couple of pounds lighter too!
At the end of my 42 days I will have a celebration of some sort. I have yet to plan that part. I may eat some meat!
Stacy Bremner, MA, RP (Citizen of the world)