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Coffee, Anxiety & Recovery!


Those recovering from an eating disorder often struggle with other conditions such as anxiety and digestive issues. Caffeine can also has an adverse effect on those struggling to reconnect with hunger cues, it can activate the body's stress response, increase heart rate, causing jitters and just overall feeling more anxious.



Coffee was something I began to crave on a daily basis. I became completely dependent upon it, thinking I needed it to function in my day to day tasks. If you ask any of my dance students they will tell you I arrive at the studio with a large coffee in hand, ready to tackle a full day or night of teaching and rehearsals. If for some reason I didn’t have time to stop and get my coffee, well lets just say it set my mood for the rest of the day, and it wasn’t good. It was then that I realized there was a problem, I was clearly addicted to caffeine.


I knew the caffeine was contributing to my anxiety and increased heart rate. I could feel my chest tightening on already stressful days. I was just making it worse by adding in my Venti Brown Sugar Oatmilk Shaken Espresso from Starbucks that I later found out had 4 shots of espresso in it!! YIKES! I was consuming at least 1, sometimes 2 of those a day! Never mind the financial impacts of purchasing those daily, the impact it was having on my body was even worse.




A quick google search on the side effects of caffeine will bring up the following:


Insomnia

Nervousness

Restlessness

Upset stomach

Nausea and vomiting

Increased heart and breathing rate

Headaches

Anxiety

Agitation

Ringing in the hearts

Irregular heartbeat

Fatigue

Frequent urination


Just to name a few……


As I looked at these side effects I sadly checked off a lot of the boxes. I realized something needed to change.


So I decided to kick the coffee habit cold turkey. It wasn’t easy at all, to be honest I was kind of freaking out the first couple of days, but then it got easier. I was extra anxious and irritable. I couldn’t sit still. My head was pounding and I just felt like my skin was crawling. My best advice if you decide to cut out caffeine is to make sure you are busy when you do. I wouldn’t do it on a weekend or when you have downtime. The fact that I had to teach dance and move my body helped me get through it.



I can happily say I successfully kicked my caffeine addiction and my anxiety level has dropped substantially. Do I have a caffeinated beverage from time to time, of course! I balance my caffeine intake by getting decaf coffee most of the time so I can still enjoy the taste of coffee without all the extra side effects caffeine brings with it. We all have a level of caffeine intake our body can withstand. There are studies out there of the health benefits of coffee, but in moderation. I recommend you truly listen to your body and do an honest assessment of how your daily caffeine intake may be affecting you in other ways aside from just helping you get through your day.



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