paging... quintessential Dr Drew pouty face

Paging Dr. Drew…I have completed my 12 steps and  think it is time for our final session because IT IS DAY 29!!  1 more day until I have completed 30 days of Whole30 + no coffee.  It is time for me to reflect and share my thoughts and learnings from this process.

How do I feel?
I feel awesome.  Disclaimer: I am writing this on a good day so don’t think that everyday was awesome.  I finally feel ‘normal’ when I wake up in the morning and don’t notice the lack of caffeine.  I have realized that you are not supposed to feel like ‘night of the living dead’ when you wake up.  It is not normal.  Normal people (who have never been reliant on caffeine) feel energized and alert when they wake up.  I know… that seemed so wrong to me too.  Now I know what this feels like.  I am able to have a coherent conversation when I wake up and actually look forward to being out of my bed.  My productivity has gone back to what it was when I was jolted on coffee.  When I get up for the 6am class, I feel good (as good as one can feel at that hour). I also feel like I’ve been hitting my workouts with more intensity and drive which is making me very happy.  I feel like I am able to push myself to 100%, whereas before I just couldn’t do it because I felt sluggish.    Energy + drive = awesomeness.

I have had problems with sleep for as long as I can remember and I even have prescription sleeping pills that I occasionally used.  I did not use my sleeping pills AT ALL for the past 30 days.  This is HUGE.  I have never gone that long without having to take 1 to get to sleep….I don’t even think I ever went a week without taking 1.  OK, I realize that synthetic sleeping aids are the farthest thing from being Paleo and I might get patronized for admitting this  –  but I also knew that lack of sleep did awful things to my mood and mental functioning, so I took them when needed.  I saw it as the lesser of 2 evils.  The fact that I can sleep with no issues now is the biggest ‘wake-up call’ (no pun intended) that I had issues with caffeine.  I used to think that it was my mind keeping me awake, but now I realize it was the coffee.   AND, I never drank coffee past 9:30am.  This means it was metabolizing in my body for more than 12-13 hours.  That is not cool.  I hope to never use my sleeping aid again.

What have I learned?
My name is Summer and I’m a coffee-holic.  I knew I had a problem when I read the chapter on Stress and Cortisol in Robb Wolf’s Paleo Solution – he includes a checklist of questions that you need to ask yourself to determine whether you have potential issues with elevated cortisol.  I think I checked “Yes” to 8-10 out of the 12 questions.   I was shocked to realize that I (Mrs Perfectly Paleo, go to bed at 9:30pm and CF devotee) likely had issues with cortisol.  The bigger epiphany was that the reason why I checked “Yes” to these questions was because of my issues with sleep and caffeine.  Now when I read through the checklist, I answer “No” to all of these questions.  It is amazing what 30 days can do to transform you.

Will you be back for Season 2 of Celebrity Rehab?
I honestly think that coffee addiction is just like any other addiction…smoking, bread, sugar, crack.   It does not go away and you will always have that devil on your shoulder urging you to ‘just have 1 sip.’  This does not mean that I’m going to abstain from coffee…No, No,  let’s not get crazy here…I am no mormon.  But I am going to have a greater awareness of my reliance on coffee and make sure that I never fall back into my bad habits.

In the classic lyrics of Axl Rose, I have been asking myself “Where do we go now??”  Stay tuned for the riveting continuation tomorrow…leather pants and headband not optional.