, ,

The Breakup

Friday, March 25, 2011

Almost three weeks ago, I stopped drinking alcohol and coffee. Just woke up one day and decided to stop. Anyone who knows me knows that alcohol and coffee are pretty much my two favourite things, and saying goodbye to them, even temporarily, felt somewhat like an awkward soap opera breakup. "I still love you but I can't be with you anymore. It's not you, it's me."

I'm not Catholic, but I like to give things up at Lent. It seems easier to give up something I love when other people are doing it for whatever reason. Probably the same reason many people work out more regularly if they have a "gym buddy", it's less painful to suffer through breaking a bad habit or instilling a good one if you have support from others. When you make it 40 days, it's an awesome, accomplished feeling.

This year, I decided to tackle two of my biggest vices. I wanted to try and kick my daily reliance on caffeine. I didn't like the fact that I couldn't function without having a cup of coffee in my system and wanted to try getting by without the extra boost. This is something I've wanted to do for a while. I remember my mom getting hideous headaches when she was a couple hours late getting her morning coffee, since her body had come to rely on it so much. I was starting to worry about getting to that point since I have been a coffee hound for a few years, never going a day without at least one big cup of joe.

Saying goodbye to alcohol is more of a vanity issue. About four years ago, I lost quite a bit of weight through a combination of things: changing the way I ate, exercising regularly, and cutting waaaay back on the booze. I figured out the calories I was drinking every time I went out and it was shocking. Even having two glasses of wine with dinner is a couple hundred calories that aren't really providing any kind of nutritional value. Anyway, it's not that I have a huge drinking problem, but I feel like I'd been boozing a bit too frequently since Christmas and wanted to do a little mini-detox. Beach season coming up and all that. I'm training for a race this summer and it didn't make sense to run several miles and then cancel it all out with a couple beers later on. I like to eat my calories, not drink them.

My first day with no coffee, I was dragging a bit and had a dull headache by afternoon. The second day I felt fine, and I have ever since. I get up, get ready for the day, and make myself a decaf tea (Caramel Rooibos is my drink of choice these days) just so I have a hot drink as part of my morning routine. Giving up coffee was a lot easier than I'd feared.

Giving up alcohol has been harder. There are days I come home from work, look at the bottle of my very favourite pinot noir sitting in our wine rack, and think, ohhhh, that would be ahhhhmazing with a thin-crust pizza right now. And then I have a glass of water or chocolate milk and it's just not the same.

Going out is difficult since I'm just drinking water everywhere I go. I try to explain I gave up drinking for Lent, I've explained to some people that it's a bit of a cleanse, I say I have to work the next day or I just don't feel like a drink, whatever. People are just not buying it. Some have asked if I'm pregnant. Many just keep pushing the booze. I guess when you go from being the person who always is up for a drink to suddenly sticking to water with lemon, it seems a bit fishy.

Anyway, nearly three weeks into my no-caffeine-no-booze experiment I'm feeling pretty good. A little less bogged down. A little cleaner, a little healthier. Small differences, nothing major. I'm looking forward to my next latte and my next glass of wine, but taking a bit of a break from both seems to be working for me right now.

You Might Also Like


  1. I gave up booze a few years ago for about 6 months and I lost 5lbs probably? I'm short so this is a lot on me. I looked GOOD but I really love my glass of wine when I come home on a Friday night, Saturday night...you know.

    Caffeine...that's the hard one. Impressive that you gave it up so easily...I have no power against the great caffeine...I'm a slave to it.