Breakdown on the Mat

I have felt and experienced a lot of things on the mat. I have had euphoric classes that felt like I was flying. I have been dizzy, nauseous, and had rolling black clouds pass before me. Classes have felt like that have lasted five minutes and others have felt as long as five hours. But yesterday was the first day I about had a mental breakdown on my mat and started to sob.

I honestly have no idea why or where it all came from. My thought is that this yoga just yanks everything out of us and that’s what needed to be yanked out of me that day – for whatever reason.

I was not in the best mood when I got to the studio. Again, no specific reason as to why. I was just crabby. I assumed I would start feeling better when class started, but I didn’t. My mood just got worse. Oh, I had a string of things that had annoyed me during the day, but they were all little petty things. Nothing major. Yet every single one of them kept visiting me during class.

At some point the coke cravings kicked in. Now, I am still working on getting rid of my soda habit. I’m moving slow, but I’ve cut my intake in half. I’ve learned to ride out my cravings. They usually go away pretty quickly. But not this one. This one stayed and screwed with my head.

I had already had my one allotted soda for the day. I have it earlier in the day so I don’t have withdrawal symptoms at 4:30pm yoga classes. It’s been a good system up until this point. All I know is that stupid craving got in my system and pointed out I had drunk all the coke I had allowed myself for the day. When I said I wasn’t going to be feeding it (look at how distracted I was on my mat! I’m having discussions with myself!), it responded with a headache.

Oh…..caffeine headaches are the worst.

It was at that point – during a savassanah – that I almost started sobbing. It would have felt good to. Sobbing for no real reason other than a bunch of stupid stuff got on my nerves and now I want a coke would have felt good. I almost let it go, but then I didn’t. I don’t know why. I really don’t think I have an issue with crying in class. As long as I wasn’t wailing, who would really know anyways? I had set myself up in a corner in the back.

Anyways, I made it through class, and I did have a coke. And my headache went away after I had about half of it. And yes I am over my coke limit for the week not, but I decided not to care. You know why? Because I have made so much progress. One tiny side step isn’t going to stop me here. I’m not going to be hard on myself.

As far as my class goes, it was interesting for sure. I had all kinds of things going on in my head yesterday that were not of any real importance, and yet they dominated my mind and about broke me down. That’s not a bad thing either. It was an experience I probably needed to help me learn how to focus better both on and off the mat.

Now, let’s see what today’s class brings. It’s #31 in the streak!

 

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Still Kicking the Coke

Back in November, I made the decision to stop drinking soda. By my calculations, I was drinking 420 ounces of soda a week at home. I made the decision to give up soda in my house. So – how’s it been going?

Well, the first week was the absolute worst, and I only cut out five sodas or about 100 ounces. I had major withdrawals which meant lots of headaches and extreme tiredness. It stunk.

After the first week, things started getting easier. I cut down to two sodas a day (or 280 ounces a week), and stayed there for three weeks. The first of the three weeks was when I reduced my intake. After that, it was Thanksgiving and then I traveled to San Diego. I didn’t want to reduce during those times. There was a lot going on, and I thought it was best to stay strong than fall off the bandwagon. For three weeks I held tight.

Now I’m back to reducing. Last week my goal was 12 sodas, but at the end of the week I had 9  1/2 (so around 190 ounces). I also had withdrawals last week, but I’ve figured out how to tackle them. See, I have reached a point where I hardly crave coke anymore. If I do, I can wait ten minutes and the feeling will pass. I was getting up in the morning and going on about my day and not drinking any soda. By early evening I was having withdrawal symptoms again. This went on for 2-3 days. Finally, I just started drinking a coke at breakfast. Problem solved. Drinking the coke first thing in the morning seems to keep the withdrawal symptoms at bay and I’m not having any issues with craving coke later on in the day.

Since last week was a bit rough, I decided to not actively reduce my soda intake this week. I’m staying at my allotted 12 cokes for the week, but as of today I have had five (which includes the one I am drinking for breakfast right now). I’ve got the withdrawal symptoms to disappear which means that next week I’ll be reducing again.

This process is a lot slower than I thought it would be, but I’m good with that. The point is to get myself off soda, and I’m definitely moving in that direction. I’ve already reduced by around half or a little less. It depends on how much soda I actually drink (what I allow myself vs. what I actually consume).

I’m currently not noticing any major physical changes although mentally I feel better with less coke (unless I’m having withdrawals and then I can’t think straight). My chocolate cravings went up for a bit last week, but now they seemed to have stopped. I went with it and let myself eat a bit of extra chocolate.

My advice to anyone wanting to kick a soda habit: Know that the first week (or possibly two!) will be rough, but once you get over that hump it gets better. Go slow. Set goals for yourself that you can do.

Riding the Withdrawal Wave

Yesterday, I found myself feeling great before I headed off to class. I dared to take class without having had any soda. I always go to a 9:00 am class having had one coke. But yesterday I wandered in feeling like I didn’t need that coke. I felt great! My head was clear. I felt strong.

By savassanah all I was doing was dreaming of coke. The craving kicked in, and the brain fog rolled in with it. The entire floor series was a giant struggle. I wanted someone to bring me a coke. Right then. Right there. I wanted to drink it in the room. I would wait and do it between postures of course. I’m polite like that.

I got home and got some soda in me and felt a bit better, but then in the afternoon I started to crash. I had already drunk my two allotted sodas for the day. I told myself I was having an emergency and that this justified having a third coke, but I held out. I rode this mess out for about a solid hour before the cravings subsided and my brain quieted down.

This morning, Day 10, I’ve been up for two hours and haven’t had the desire to drink a coke yet. I didn’t even think about it this morning! I just got up and started doing stuff. I juiced (half a cucumber and a granny smith. I’m out of lemons. I need a lemon for the cucumber juice. It was a little too cucumbery this morning, but I drank it anyways). I was cleaning up the kitchen when my eyes landed on an empty coke bottle sitting on the counter. At this point I’d been up for an hour. It was then I realized that drinking coke hadn’t even crossed my mind. The breakthroughs with this process oare phyiscal and mental. I have to retrain my brain not to get up and go for the coke. I have to get it thinking differently about what I drink. It’s working. It’s slow, but I don’t care.

I haven’t decided if I will have a soda before I hit up class this afternoon. Part of me thinks I should just because I’m slowly coming down and having one soda before class might not be a bad idea in terms of withdrawals. The other part of me thinks that if I don’t want it then I should just not have it. We’ll see how much I end up pushing myself in this department.

 

Day 9 and Feeling Fine!

For the moment, I feel like I’ve crossed over a rough part of coke withdrawls and have gotten some place very, very nice. Today is Day 9 of leaving the coke behind. Day 8 felt amazing. I had a soda in the morning, but not because I wanted to or was craving it. I thought perhaps I should drink it to ward off any ill withdrawal effects. I had it between 7-8:00 am. For the rest of the day I did not crave soda or have an ill side effects. My head felt really clear. Actually, I felt more focused than I could remember in a long time. That’s kind of a funny sentence if you read it twice.

Class on Day 8 was fabulous. I didn’t have any breakthroughs in postures or anything, but it wasn’t like class on Day 7 where I felt like I was in a fogd wading through jello. The room felt fabulous, and I pushed myself hard. I came home from class wiped out but happy. I had my second coke for the day with dinner, and I kinda wanted it. I probably could have gotten by on just one coke for the entire day, but I went ahead and drank my second one.

Today, on Day 9, I have not had any coke yet. I am not craving it. I feel great. I slept great which is something I have noticed no matter how bad my withdrawal symptoms may be. I always sleep great. I’d like to note the positive benefits I am finding from reducing my soda intake which I expect will continue or get better as I leave it behind totally. They are: (a) better sleep, (b) increased mental clarity and focus (when I’m not in withdrawal mode!), (c) reduced bloating, and (d) increased energy.

I was surprised by the reduced bloating thing. I didn’t even realize I had felt a bit bloated until the feeling disappeared. But it was totally there. I’m getting back into my juicing habit, and it is also feeling amazing. Yesterday I juiced one orange and one lemon. I was also going to include part of a grapefruit, but the orange and lemon hit right at 8oz which is what I was aiming for. I highly recommend the orange/lemon combo (or a grapefruit/orange/lemon combo) before an afternoon class. It gave me a ton of energy. I’ve had this juice before a morning class, and it does not work. Do a cucumber juice if you’re having your juice for breakfast and then going to class.

Having worked through some icky days of withdrawal, I’m starting to enjoy my decision to drop the coke. I had no idea I would start feeling this much better. I’m already looking forward to what class will bring me this morning.

 

Goodbye Coke (Again)

Practice Bikram long enough, and eventually you will start to adjust your diet without anyone telling you. It’ll be something you just want to do because you know it’ll make your life and your practice better. For me, the time has come to ditch the soda – for real this time.  I am kicking my coca-cola habit. I tried to get it jump started before, but then I got all anxious about the competition and bottomed out a bit. I didn’t do too bad. It didn’t get any worse, but it also didn’t get any better. Now that the competition is over, I feel like I have the brain space to do this.

I started off by laying a few ground rules. First, at the moment, I get to drink two cokes a day. One coke is 16.9 oz so about 34 oz of coke a day. When I’m eating out (which is honestly once a week at best) I am allowed to have a coke, and it doesn’t count.  Why? My goal here is to first get rid of the coke within my house. I’m not going to worry about the cokes I drink when I eat out or go to a party or something like that. This is hard. I have to set some realistic boundaries.

I figured I would make it through the first week and then lessen the amount of coke I drank at home each week until I got down to zero. I promptly proceeded to modify my rules on day four (today is day six if you’re curious). Days 1-3 were fine. I drank my two cokes each day. I didn’t have any major cravings or freak outs. Then day four hit. My two cokes were gone by 1:00 (maybe noon – and I was gone for class from 8:00-11:00! What does that tell you?). I desparately wanted another one. So I did a re-evaluation of my coke program and concluded I could have another one.

Here’s what I figured out:

I’m used to drinking three 16.9 oz cokes a week or 21 cokes a week. By reducing my intake to two a day, I’d cut out 1/3 right from the start. Maybe that was too much. Maybe I had overshot a bit. No biggie. I decided I could refine my plan and reduce by one bottle a week. So for week one, instead of having 21 bottles of coke I would have 20. Easy. I made a chart that showed how many bottles of coke I had each day. For days 1-5, I have consumed 11 so I am way under my goal. In fact, I told Mark that if I had two cokes today (Day 6), that would put my total at 13 meaning I could have seven cokes on Wednesday.

Just kidding. Although it does sound like a nice reward.

Seriously though, I am treating this like I did when I made the switch over to being a vegetarian. I’m setting a realistic goal – although for the cokes it’s weekly and not monthly -and then adjusting at the end of each week. I think once I decided I could have 20 cokes this week – instead of 21 – I relaxed into it a bit because I knew I could accomplish that. I’ll see what I hit when I go to bed on Wednesday and then readjust my goal for the upcoming week.

No caffiene headaches yet, but I do know one thing. I will miss my coke. But the time has come. It has to go.