When my mom talks about the diet mentality, she mentions how “good foods”/”bad foods” isn’t the best mind frame to be in, but it’s often the mind frame associated with the diet mentality.
She says it’s best to not restrict or limit yourself, but to allow yourself the choice, and to make whatever the most loving choice is for yourself in that moment.
In her upcoming book, Self-Love: The Only Diet That Works, she gives an example with a donut and an omelet. The self-loving choice may be to choose eating a donut over an omelet, and to enjoy that donut, and take in and savor its’ taste.
Or maybe the most loving choice is to choose the omelet, and to take the time to prepare the omelet, to cut up the tomatos, the basil, the meat, the whatever you choose to put into it.
She wrote about how eating the donut and feeling guilty about it would not be the most loving thing to do, or eating the omelet only to be healthy, and not wanting it would not be the most loving thing to do.
Maybe after enjoying the donut, you’d realize you didn’t like the energy it gave you afterwards, and next time you’d choose the omelet, not because the donut is a “bad food”, but because you didn’t like how it made you feel, and because you want to choose the omelet, instead of the donut.
It’s all about enjoying whatever choice you made, and choosing the most loving thing for yourself in that moment.
I’m applying this to myself and caffeine.
I started drinking caffeine when I went to college. I didn’t drink it by the carton, I went straight to the source and drank it from the caffeine ocean. I drank caffeine like it was going out of style. At one point, I was having 8 espresso shots a day, or at once, and around 12 shots a day. I took so much because I had built my tolerance. One day I had 11 espresso shots at once, and my gosh did I feel it then.
The caffeine would effect me differently, day to day. It wasn’t consistent to measure. One day 4 shots of espresso would hit me perfectly, another day it would be as if I was drinking water, having no effect on me, and another day, it would be too much, and I would be shaky. There were a handful of times where I had too much caffeine, and involuntarily puked it out.
When I went to college, I adapted the “I don’t sleep habit”. This lead to my caffeine use.
I remember in high school, rarely having caffeine, and drinking this strong energy drink with my brother. He had 2 sips, and felt it. I had half of the bottle, and was zooming the whole day. I was energized until the late evening. We got the energy drink at the gym, then afterwards we played basketball across the street from our house, and I was running all over the place. I felt like the never ending energizer bunny. I could have that same energy drink now, the whole bottle, and I may not feel its’ effects.
In my caffeine journey, there have been times where I quit cold turkey. I once didn’t have any caffeine for 100 + days, for a couple months, for a few weeks, but I always came back to caffeine.
Recently, I was drinking 2 (4 big) servings of caffeine, daily. I would have a double spark or Jamba Juice with 2 3G chargers in it, which both have the same amount of caffeine, 240 milligrams. I would have one in the morning, and one in the afternoon or evening.
Then I started to actively work on self-love again, writing daily self-love posts, getting more sleep, consistent exercise, drinking at least 8 cups of water a day, and then I just naturally cut my caffeine by half. I would have 240 milligrams of caffeine in the morning, but not later in the day. This wasn’t a conscious decision. It just naturally happened.
Then two days ago, I didn’t have caffeine at all, until around 9pm (so I would be able to stay awake for the midnight premier of Harry Potter). The following day, I had no caffeine, but I did sleep a lot. I woke up with 2 hours of sleep, and then drove to the San Fran airport to pick up Malia and Joyce without caffeine.
I was getting ready to pick up Malia and Joyce, and I got this sharp, intense pain beneath my right lower breast. I had similar pains, but over a prolonged period of time about a month ago. That worried me, so shortly after I went to the doctors and got a physical to make sure I was healthy. And I was. The doctor said it was probably a pulled muscle. The day before yesterday, I was exercising and felt like I pulled something around my rib area, so the sharp pain I felt near my ribs yesterday was probably a pulled muscle. But it still worried me, so I decided I wouldn’t have caffeine that day, because caffeine over works the heart, which is our most important muscle.
Those two days of little to no caffeine made me consciously think about cutting down my caffeine intake again. But I don’t want to completely cut it out, or think of caffeine as a “bad food”, which I often do. Sometimes I drink it and I feel like I’m slowly poisoning my body, and I don’t enjoy it. Other times I drink it, enjoy it, and feel good about it.
I think I just need to realize when my body can benefit from the caffeine, and when I’m just drinking out of habit, but don’t need it. I need to make the most loving choice for myself in that moment.
And that’s my plan for caffeine. I won’t eliminate it. I won’t label it as a “bad food”. I’ll drink it when my body and mind feels like it can greatly benefit from it, and I won’t drink it when my body and mind doesn’t feel like it can greatly benefit from it.
This morning, I was in the mindset of “caffeine equals bad”, and I didn’t want to have any, but after getting a good amount of sleep, drinking plenty of water, having a healthy breakfast, and exercising, I still felt so tired, so I made myself a single spark, not a double spark, and I’ve felt better. 🙂
I like this new mind frame of caffeine. I won’t have to view it as poison any more. I won’t have to think about it in a negative way, or feel like I’m doing something bad when I drink it. I’ll drink it when it’s the most loving thing for me to do in that moment, and I won’t drink it when it’s not the most loving choice for myself.
Emelina Minero writes for Curve Magazine and EDGE Media Network. She’s working on launching her own progressive LGBTQ publication. She’s a Connection Connoisseur, Networking Maven and Self-Love Enthusiast. She founded Community Bucket List and co-founded the Love Warrior Community. Find her on Twitter, @CommKr8veWriter.