2020 was a significant year for all of us. The whole world went into a standstill and the sudden lockdown gave all of us a lot of time to reflect on the ongoing situation. People dying with a virus gave a strong reason to look out for health which, to be honest, I never cared about up until recently. I never exercised in my life, never said no to sweets or junk food.

While I was thrilled to notice some good changes in my body after doing a beginners’ workout, I made no changes in my diet. I wanted to take things slow. I didn’t want to commit too much at the same time.

I knew I had an iron deficiency and consuming tea or coffee could hinder the absorption of iron in my body. So, to get started I thought to stop having tea for breakfast. Of course, I couldn’t stick to this tiny rule for even a day. If I  wanted to have a hot bod I had to alter a few food choices. So quitting tea became my main priority. Yes, during lockdown!

My love for tea goes way back. I grew up having tea both for breakfast and evenings. And never realised that it was a slow poison running in my blood vessels.

I started to make mental notes on why I like having tea so much.  I soon realised that it was not the tea that I enjoy but the experience I was getting through it. Sipping hot ginger tea with a paratha in the cold weather of London was one of the highest points of the day for me. I put on my favourite sitcom on the side to make it even better. Not only this but tea also satiated my sugar cravings. In the evening, tea was the easiest option to pair with snacks.

I had to not only give up tea but also deal with my boredom, emotions, as well as the hunger pangs attached to it. I would go back to tea if I didn’t deal with these first.

Giving up evening tea was easy for me as instead of drinking tea I took my dinner early, around 6 or 6:30 pm. I even managed to push myself not to consume tea for 15 days. During that time I realised how my mind did everything in its power to make me give up. I couldn’t get tea out of my head.

There are no good or bad habits, there are only effective habits. Tea was not good for me, period. One day I had a few friends over and we had evening tea. Since I didn’t have tea for a good 15 days, I thoroughly enjoyed it. Little did I know that tea could hit you with caffeine. I couldn’t sleep that night properly. My mind was on high alert, talking continuously in my head. This was getting way too serious now. That night I was sure that I would not have evening tea.

It took me a long time to give up tea for breakfast, until I stumbled on a video that talked about keeping 16 hours fasting and having fruits for breakfast. I immediately applied this and it worked wonders for me. I used to finish my dinner at 6 pm and eat only fruits the next morning at 10. First, four days were incredibly difficult but I didn’t miss tea at all. The eating time window was so small that I only wanted to feed myself with good, nutritious food. The first day I had pomegranate and mango for breakfast. And I couldn’t be more grateful. Try intermittent fasting and you will realise the importance of food.

Turns out fruits became the ultimate alternative to my tea cravings. I broke my bond with tea during this period. I am no longer on intermittent fasting as my agenda is now complete. However, I still keep a close watch on emotional and boredom food cravings as they will put in me back from where I started. It’s not like I have completely given up tea, I do have it when I want, on my terms and conditions.  It feels good to be not controlled by food or things. I feel liberated and empowered. Little changes made today will bring long team benefits.

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Shaily Rawat

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