Coffee and Wine and Me

I am definitely one of those working mothers who lives on coffee and wine. You know the ones I mean. The ones who post coffee memes on their Facebook. The ones who use the emoji of a wine glass after any stressful statement they may text or post on social media. The ones who can’t seem to manage their busy lives without a cup of coffee in their hand and glass of wine to wind down at night. That is me. Well, it was me.

My average coffee intake looked like this: A cup of coffee enjoyed at home as I packed lunch boxes and prepped for the day. A large cup from Dunkin sipped throughout the morning and reheated at least once. Another trip to Dunkin in the afternoon for a least a medium cup, often doctored with a flavored syrup.

My average wine intake looked like this: A glass of wine with dinner most nights. I would pour a second glass if the day was particularly icky or if it was Friday…or because I enjoy it. I really do enjoy wine, especially red wine. I like the taste and, yes, I like how it dulls the rough edges of a day. On a Saturday evening I might consume more but unless I am out with my husband at a concert, wedding, or other social event, it is rare that I consume enough to really impact me the next morning. Parenting with a hangover is NOT something I enjoy and I try to avoid at all costs.

A few months ago I began to wake up with headaches. I recognized pretty quickly that it was related to dehydration from dry winter nights…and…the wine and coffee. Fall was a stressful season for me and so my wine intake had probably gone up a bit and the colder weather had definitely increased my coffee intake and decreased my water intake. I was actually a bit annoyed at my forty-something body. I don’t smoke, I don’t abuse drugs of any type, but yes, I enjoy a glass of wine. Was that really going to be “taken” from me? And I LOVE coffee. It’s warm. It clears my head. It tastes so good. Was coffee now my enemy too?

Fast forward to Christmas and all of the stress and the eating and the drinking and the merriment and wow, I felt like garbage most days. Right around the same time I started kickboxing (read my post about my newest obsession here). During the first week of January, the kickboxing club encouraged members to join a 45-day transformation challenge. To join, you committed to attending a certain amount of classes and making two dietary changes. I didn’t sign up for the challenge officially but I decided to give it a go on my own. Getting to classes was not an issue since I am LOVING it. As for the dietary changes, however, I was less confident of my discipline. I decided to give up alcohol during the week as well as sugar. I just couldn’t even fathom life without the coffee and I decided not to even torture myself that way.

Well, it’s been just over two weeks. Status check:

I am sleeping better. Did you know that it isn’t normal to wake up at least one time a night?? My “normal” was up at 3 am and wide awake for at least 30 minutes and then up at 5:30 with a headache. Now, I sleep through the night (unless I have a nighttime visitor) and I wake up refreshed. I am not tired throughout the day and I have energy until bedtime. Which means…

I am drinking less coffee. Because I gave up sugar, I also gave up my usual morning meal of a granola bar. Instead, I’m making a shake with vanilla protein powder, water, and frozen fruit. Since I’m drinking that in the mornings while I get ready for work I’m not drinking coffee. I still hit Dunkin but no sugar in my coffee means I’m enjoying it less so I often don’t finish it. In the afternoon I have no desire for non-flavored, non-sweetened coffee PLUS I’m not tired so I don’t need it. Instead…

I’m drinking more water. I’ve basically replaced all of my liquid intake with water. There is water in my morning shake, I drink water throughout the day once I’ve given up on my non-sweetened coffee, I guzzle water during my intense workouts (thank you kickboxing), and I drink water or green tea at night. Therefore…

No more headaches. I’m better hydrated so I have more energy and just feel better all around. My stomach never aches. My head never throbs. I’m hoping to eventually see smoother skin as well.

I gained two pounds. Groan. Sigh. Eye roll. I’m not sure about this one but I’m not letting it discourage me. Because of the no sugar rule, I needed to get more creative with my lunches and snacks throughout the day. I’m eating (and enjoying) different types of food and satisfying my sweet tooth with fruit. I’m eating more vegetables and less carbs. I’m working out harder than I ever have before. I’m hopeful that the number on the scale really means nothing. My weight has always bounced around a bit and a couple of pounds here and there isn’t really important. Maybe I’m gaining a bit of muscle mass from the kickboxing. Maybe it was because my hair was wet. While I would LOVE to lose a little weight my fitness goal is to firm up and gain some strength and muscle weighs more than fat. I’m less full in my waist and my clothes fit more comfortably. And I truly feel fantastic.

I had originally decided that weekends would be my “cheat” times. While I definitely enjoyed a couple of glasses of wine this weekend, I didn’t have one on Friday night (which I waited all week for and then forgot about) and I indulged with one piece of dark chocolate after dinner on Saturday and Sunday but never went back for more. I’m proud of my discipline but I’m also really happy to feel better. I don’t want to go back to feeling less than healthy again. I like taking care of myself and I like having energy for my family. I’m going to keep at it and see how it goes. While I am absolutely committed to my physical and emotional health, I’m also determined to be gentle and kind to myself. If my kids want to go out for ice cream, I may just have a scoop. If my husband opens a fantastic bottle of Zin with a freshly grilled steak, I’m going to have a glass with him. Overall, however, I’m going to stick with this new lifestyle and enjoy the benefits. Who knows? Maybe I’ll even stop posting coffee memes.

New year, new winter, new me.

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