So the other month I decided to set myself the challenge of going 21 days without meat (here) because I didn’t particularly enjoy eating meat. 3 weeks ago I set myself a similar challenge where I would go 21 days without fizzy pop and coffee.
I’ve known for a very long time that caffeine contributes highly to anxiety and panic attacks and yet I’d slowly creeped back into the habit of having 2 or 3 cans of Pepsi or Cola and at least 1 coffee a day (sometimes up to 3). I figured I wouldn’t find it too difficult since becoming vegetarian was really easy for me.
Man was I wrong! These 3 weeks I have felt so drained I thought after 10 days or so I’d be okay but today is day 23 and I am still so tiered. I guess I’d really come to rely on those little boosts more than I thought. My energy levels have never been so low and that has had a knock on affect on my moods. I’ve been feeling no get up and go for my novel, my blog and getting through a workday leaves me drained. I know this will pass given more time but it really highlighted how much I must’ve been relying on all this to get me through just an average day.
I also found for a week or so my anxiety got worse. I seemed to get really bad chest pains and palpitations and a couple of times I was really worried about this and considered going to A&E. I knew the pop and the coffee was a lot of caffeine to drink daily but I didn’t think my body would react so strongly to coming off it. I feel a lot better on that score now, I haven’t had chest pains for over a week so maybe it was just a sudden shock. Now that it’s evened out I can see why they tell you to really monitor caffeine when you have anxiety after the initial reaction my body had my mind is now a lot clearer and calming.
My biggest issue with the challenge was cravings though, unlike with the meat free challenge I have craved these every day especially fizzy pop. I’ll get home from work and my partner will have a cold glass of cola before his dinner, even though I hate full fat pop it takes all my self control not to guzzle it all! Also I was used to having a flavoured coffee at work every morning I’d then sometimes have one on Lunch and then again in the mid afternoon – the morning one especially is one I’m missing that would often be enough to get me going enough to find momentum!
I will say I do feel a lot more hydrated now as I’ve swapped to normal water or fruit infused water. My skin even feels a little better, I’ve never had terrible skin but I feel a lot less spots and my main issue was my skin tends to get dry super easy and that’s eased a lot.
I feel like this has maybe come across a bit negative but I’m actually really glad I did it. It sounds silly saying it’s been difficult but it really has been. I’m wanting to get to a place where I’m really looking after myself and doing it in a way that feels effortless but at first I’m probably going to set myself these little challenges where I focus on one area at a time. I read somewhere once that it takes 21 days to create a habit and though I do still crave coffee and pop I think it would take a lot for me to give in and drink it again knowing now how it’s affected me. As I have quite a competitive nature to though I’m not competing with anyone looking at it as a timed challenge is almost a guarantee for me to stick to it.