The Whole Life Challenge begins again January 17th and there have been several changes in the nutrition guidelines – the most controversial, it seems, is that wine has gone back to one glass per week rather than one glass per day.
I know I am wholly unqualified to write about wine consumption, as I rarely ever consume it, but I just gave up coffee a week ago so I feel like that entitles me to something.
I gave up coffee once before, in the winter of 1993, I think. I’d been seeing a chiropractor (professionally, not romantically) who said he thought coffee might be a contributor to my chronic back trouble. I drank at least four cups a day at that time, and I loved it.
I still love coffee. I’m sure I love it as much as you love your wine.
Detoxing from coffee in 1993 was horrible. Besides my grief from giving up something I loved, I fell asleep at my desk at 3 p.m. every day for a long time. Months. Then, eventually, my body relearned how to keep itself awake through an afternoon of work and I was back to my old, cheery self.
I started drinking coffee again only a few months ago and was plunged right back into that old love affair. It tasted great. I got more done. It made me happy. Every night during those months, I would go to sleep and think: Only a few more hours until I can drink coffee again!
But I gave it up 12 days ago because I got sick for a few days before New Year’s Eve, lost my taste for it, and then came to the terribly sad conclusion that it’s really not good for me. Caffeine and I do not make good bedfellows. Caffeine makes me anxious. Even when I sleep. I can feel the muscles in my face pulled taught through the night.
I’m not saying coffee is bad. In fact, I think it’s common knowledge that it has many benefits. Just as wine does. But I’m pretty sure wine is considered a “food that causes inflammation.” And the Whole Life Challenge eating guidelines are about eliminating or greatly reducing those foods.
I’m not going to tell you that you should or shouldn’t have wine, or that you do or don’t deserve it. (Of course you do!) I’m going to say this: All the stuff in my life that I thought would be a deal-breaker to give up was really not as hard as I thought it would be. No one is saying: No Wine Forever. They’re saying: Move out of your comfort zone (even if it’s only a few inches) and see how it feels for you.
Is my life so unfun that having a half a cup of buttered coffee every day is my main highlight? Sadly, yes. But the truth is, after a few days worth of headaches, it really wasn’t anywhere near as dreadful as I thought it would be.
If you’re doing the Whole Life Challenge and you’re trying to pick a level, I offer this:
If you’re a reasonably healthy eater and you think you’d benefit from the middle level (Lifestyle), play at that level, and if you want more wine than once per week, have it. Take off the points and enjoy it. What this will do is force you to make your wine-drinking decision anew every day. You will choose to drink wine because of conscious desire rather than habit. That alone will make your wine-drinking experience lovelier. Some days you may choose to forgo and notice it’s not all that bad. Or that it’s awful, and you’ll look to discover why. Those are all good scenarios. No one cares about your score. The Whole Life Challenge is hard. We are pushed to inspect all the things we do mindlessly and decide if they serve us. If you’re worried about having to give up wine, then, in my opinion, this is exactly the level you should be playing at.
And no whining.
(My Big Fat Whole Life Challenge Blog Post #1)