As usual, I am trying to get work done for school in the few precious hours we get between bedtime and when I need to go to bed. Quarter grades are due tomorrow, so I’m trying to get everything graded. It has been a busy couple of weeks, and I am severely sleep-deprvied. Most nights I’m sleeping from about 12 a.m. to 5 a.m., with one wake-up to feed the babies at some point during that time, and then I can get another hour of sleep at nap time Monday-Thursday, if I am lucky. I used to keep this kind of schedule all of the time, but then I could go to bed right after work on Fridays, sleep for 12+ hours, and attempt to get caught up. I really haven’t been able to “catch up” (other than the rare day here or there when we’ve had family to help out) in the last year, so I feel like my tank is running on E, constantly.
As a result, I’m afraid I have become absolutely addicted to chai tea. And not the kind from the tea bag, which probably wouldn’t be that bad for me. Big Train Chai Tea Latte Mix, which is 140 calories per cup. (I have really been wanting to write a post about post-pregnancy weight-loss and body image, which will have to come later, but my chai tea consumption is playing a decent-sized roll in this.)
I have had 1 or 2 chai teas daily in my adult life for as long as I can remember. I have never liked coffee, and I don’t drink Diet Coke anymore, so it’s my main source of caffeine. I started with Oregon Chai, but then discovered Big Train Chai last summer, which I didn’t think possible, but is even more delicious. I used to strictly limit myself to 2 cups a day, but this new form of sleep-deprivation brought on by twin babies has dramatically expanded my maximum capacity.
This morning in my sleep-deprived, hazy state, I accidentally poured unheated water into my to-go cup which already had the chai tea powder. I needed to heat it up, so I poured it out into a clear glass measuring cup to put into the microwave. This is when I realized just how out-of control my consumption has been.
I blame the portion size. The measuring cup that comes with the mix equals three table spoons. You are supposed to mix this with 3/4 cup of water to make 1 cup of tea. I quickly learned that 3/4 cup of water is hard to fill up exactly on my liquid measuring cup, and even harder to eyeball. So then I started using 1 and 1/3 cups of mix and adding 1 cup of water. Then sometimes I would finish my cup and want just a little more, so I started using a little more powder mix, and adding a little more water, and then a little more.
As my portion size was increasing, I also started allowing myself to go from 2 to 3 servings a day. I used to have one in the morning, and then most of the time, one later in the day. The first time I broke the limit was last summer during a four day training session I attended during the summer. We had an hour drive up, an 8 hour day of training, and then a 2 hour drive home. At home I had 2 month old babies who were waking up 2 or 3 times a night. I needed to drink SOMETHING during class so that I didn’t fall asleep.
I went back to two servings a day, for the most part, for the rest of the summer. When I started work again in September, though, I quickly felt the need for more caffeine. I began having one serving in the morning, one after work while I tried to get the babies down for their afternoon nap, and then usually one in the evening while I was working on stuff for school. I went from doing this some days to most days to almost every day.
Back to this morning, when I saw just how much liquid was in the measuring cup. It was over a cup and a half. And I am doing this (most days) 3 times a day. That is 630 calories in chai tea! Oops.
So I guess it’s time to cut back. The only problem is I still need a solution for what started me on the bigger servings of chai tea in the first place: how can I get more sleep so I am not so freaking tired all of the time?