Thursday, October 11, 2007

The Cost of Being Stubborn

I never cease to amaze myself with my ability to 'forget' important lessons that I've learned. One would think that once we've learned something that is really helpful, we would never forget it! Think again!

In my life, I've had to give up a number of things that I really like. For example, I have a lot of food sensitivities that have required me to stop eating many things. Over the years, I have found that I can't have a lot of dairy products (cheese, milk, etc) so I have mostly eliminated those from my diet. One of the toughest losses from this dairy products 'issue' was giving up mochas and lattes from Starbucks! Coming from Seattle, this was NOT a trivial loss!! (Although my waistline has enjoyed the benefits of not partaking in those anymore!)

Wheat can also be a problem for me if I have too much of it. I get extremely fatigued, and can even have migraine headaches if I get too much over an extended period of time. For someone who LOVES bread and pasta, this has been a tough reality to absorb! With my Russian palate, I could live on bread, potatoes and tomatoes. I swear I could!

I had to give up diet soda many years ago. For me, it triggers nauseating migraine headaches instantly. Actually, any artificial sweetener has this potential, so I have to be very careful of any 'diet' or 'lo-cal' products.

I could go on, but suffice it to say, there are a lot of things that I used to eat that I no longer eat. I've given up a lot. Although I'm much healthier than I used to be, giving up so many things hasn't been easy.

I like to joke that my 'one last vice' is iced tea. I love unsweetened black iced tea (with lots of ice!) It seriously is one of the last pleasant 'treats' that I get to have. I drink it every single day.

What I have found, however, is that caffeine has a very bad affect on me if I get too much of it. It's not that I can't get to sleep (although that can happen if I have a huge amount of caffeine.) What happens to me, when I get to much caffeine in my system, is that my sleep quality suffers. I don't get good quality sleep, and I wake up feeling as though I hadn't slept at all. It's a strange phenomenon. I sleep, but I don't get rested.

I know exactly how much caffeine I can have in a day to be 'under the limit' in terms of healthy, restorative sleep. I know. I know. Yes, I know.

And yet, I get to a place where I'm sleeping good every night, feeling great every morning, and inevitably, I start to 'indulge' in a bit more tea again. I go out to lunch almost every day. I enjoy being out, seeing people, and, of course, drinking tea. I just can't quite believe how I let the tea consumption creep back up, bit by bit, and day by day, until I always end up sleeping poorly again and feeling tired every day.

It is a cycle. I am doing well. I start increasing my tea consumption a bit each day, and within a couple weeks, my sleep is messed up again. It always takes me a while to 'realize' what I've done. I cut my tea consumption back down, and within a few days, I'm sleeping like a baby again!

My question is... why the heck do I do this? If I KNOW what's good for me and I KNOW what I need to do, then why do I keep going back to the behavior that I know causes problems for me? It is indeed a mystery!

I truly don't enjoy being tired in the morning. I do not enjoy the feeling of having to drag myself out of bed. I much prefer waking up feeling great and springing out of bed with enthusiasm and energy.

I've made it a new goal to 'remain conscious' when it comes to my tea consumption. I want to observe how the slippery slope starts to take hold. I want to learn to 'nip it in the bud' when that starts to happen. I want to stop myself from engaging in self destructive behavior and then being 'amazed' that I'm 'right back where I started' again.

As frustrated as I am that I've gone through this cycle so many times, I also feel a bit excited at the moment. I feel, for the first time, like my awareness of my challenge is at an all time high. It seems like the time is right to be able to permanently solve this issue (which wreaks havoc on my productivity by the way) once and for all.

Looking at ourselves to find these sorts of self destructive behaviors is a very worthwhile endeavor. We can truly free ourselves of limiting behaviors and systems of thought. One key to making this happen is to never give up! Even if we have to start over again... and again... and again. It happens to us all, so we can leave the embarrassment by the wayside and just begin again.

Today, I'll have two iced teas with my lunch... and not a drop more! Today is the first day of the rest of my life. :)

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