Sunday, January 20, 2013

Giving Up Coffee

I mentioned in my last post that I had given up coffee as part of my “cleaning things up” program. If you are like me a few weeks ago, you’ll probably think, “That’s nice for you, but that’s not something I’ll ever do.” And that’s fine. In fact, I have been drinking coffee for 25 years, and it has never occurred to me to give it up completely.

I have successfully cut back to drinking one small cup a day several times over the past 25 years, but giving it up completely was never on the agenda until recently. Coffee has reported benefits, and I actually think drinking it in moderation (like most things in life) is fine and can even be beneficial.

When I was drinking one cup a day, I didn’t see a problem with it. The problem started when I increased my coffee intake more and more. Somehow over a stressful period in my life, I had increased it to up to five, or even six, big cups a day. I know. Not good.

How did I give up coffee?

Over the holidays, I had already cut back from five cups to about three cups, but I still needed those three cups desperately. When I decided to let go of coffee completely, I did it rather quickly, and I did have very unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. Here is what I did:

  • Day 1: Cut back to 1 cup of coffee – I had a bad headache all day and was in a daze
  • Day 2: 1 cup of 1/2 coffee 1/2 decaf – Again, I felt miserable
  • Day 3: 1 cup of black tea – You guessed, it, I felt miserable
  • Day 4: No caffeine at all – I didn’t feel great, but I had learned that going for a walk helped a lot

What helped when giving up coffee?

  • Finding other warm beverages I enjoy helped a lot – I now start my day with warm lemon water and love it. If you had told me this a few weeks ago, I would have laughed. I also enjoy all sorts of herbal teas. I had known for years that one of the draws of coffee for me was the ritual of sitting down with a warm beverage. Other warm beverages work just as well as coffee for the ritual.
  • Going for a walk really helped with headaches.
  • I realized that the headaches would eventually go away, and things got a lot better on the second day without caffeine. By the third day without caffeine they were gone.

How do I feel without caffeine?

I am amazed by how well I feel without caffeine, and I truly don’t need it at this point. In fact, I don’t even want it anymore! In the past, I would stumble out of bed and make some coffee right away. I needed that cup so desperately, and if I didn’t get it, an ugly headache would soon rear its head. I was truly dependent on it, and I couldn’t imagine getting out of bed or functioning without it.

Now I wake up ready for the day, and I am much more alert right away. No more crawling into the kitchen, unable to function. I really like that feeling. The alertness also lasts throughout the day, which is wonderful.

Will I drink coffee again?

I don’t have plans right now to getting back to coffee. I don’t like the idea of being addicted to a substance that makes me feel so miserable if I stop drinking it. I also love feeling so alert throughout the day. Never say never, but at this point, I don’t have any plans on drinking coffee again.

Questions: Do you drink coffee? If so, how much? Have you ever given it up or thought of giving it up completely?

Be well,

Andrea

39 comments:

  1. good for you! I go through different phases with coffee - currently I drink about 1 cup (half decaf) for the same reasons as you- I love the routine but don't want to be addicted to something! I just wish I didn't love it so much! :)

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    1. One cup (half decaf) sounds great! I did that for a long time, and it worked. Trouble started when I increased it more and more...

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  2. good for you! I just started drinking coffee 1.5 years ago - I enjoy it, and of course haven't drank much at all since the pregnancy. I planned to start drinking it again (again - a cup or 2 a day) once baby is out, at least to get me through the first year with a newborn baby! haha

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    1. I remember when you started drinking coffee! :) Enjoy your cup once baby is born!

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  3. glad to you "survived" without it so quickly, I'm very impressed.
    I love coffee for its taste, not its effect on me. I gave it up when I got pregnant and kept it that way until now because I'm breastfeeding. but since I love coffee for its taste, I do drink decaf espresso daily and love it! :)

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  4. Wow Andrea, I'm so impressed. I've told you about my decreased coffee/caffeine intake over the past few years. I went from 500 mg/day to now about 200 mg (or 2 small cups of coffee). I have been good with that, and have consistently been sticking with that amount for quite a long time now, so I think I'm ok. Like you said, coffee has benefits, so I think I'll continue drinking it. If, however, I ever notice an upward trend, it's good to know it CAN be given up! Good for you Andrea. Glad you still feel good, and even better!

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    1. Sounds like you and coffee have a good relationship! :)

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  5. Wow! I am so impressed. Right now I am one of those people thinking, "I can never give up coffee," HOWEVER, like I told you before, I have switched 100% to decaf. That was big. I don't even know if the switch is permanent, either...I really, really like coffee for both the taste as well as the buzz.

    At the height of my commuting, I was drinking 5-6 cups a day. I gradually cut that back down to my usual two. When I got pregnant, I switched to half-caf and drank 1-2 cups per day. Now with nursing I'm doing 1-3 cups of decaf. I'd like to cut down but we'll see...I really love the ritual and tea doesn't cut it in the mornings quite the same. But I'm pretty inspired by your commitment, so who knows where I'll be down the line!

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    1. Yes, I would have never thought I would give it up 100%. And I think Andy is even more surprised than I am! He had noticed my ever increasing intake and was getting a bit concerned...

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  6. Hey!!! I'm sorry I haven't been around more! I've been reading your posts in my email on my phone. Yes, I have given up coffee mostly because it was making me sick to my stomach and making me really tired. I'm super sensitive to caffeine. I LOVE coffee...the darker the better and black but unfortunately my body doesn't love it so I now just have a few sips of Brent's or occasionally I have a very small cup. It was easy for me to give up physically but hard mentally because I enjoy it so much.

    I know this isn't on the same post but I saw you got a Zip. I love mine! It motivates me so much. I really need something like it to move more! xoxoxo

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    1. It's sad to give up foods and drinks you love, but if they don't make you feel good, it's really the only thing to do...

      And, yes, I love my Zip!!! It really makes a difference in how much I move throughout the day! :)

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  7. Greta,
    Ich würde auf viele Nahrungsmittel verzichten,nicht auf Kaffee.
    Ich habe einmal ein halbes Jahr keinen Kaffe getrunken,da ging es mir sehr schlecht.Ich trinke nur noch die Hälfte von den aus früheren Zeiten.Wenn ich zu abgedreht bin trinke ich Halb/Halb und manchmal auch nur Coffeinfrei für mehrere Tage.Zur Zeit trinke ich Halb und Halb und nur noch morgens.

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  8. I use to drink WAY too much coffee! I pretty much stopped last May which was tough at first, but got better quicker than I thought it would. Now I will drink a cup, maybe 2 over the weekend, other than that it's tea for me!

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  9. So impressive! Coffee makes me really happy, but I have noticed drinking more than I used to. If I drank it black (and decaf) I would see less of an issue...but, I don't :) I've cut back to 8 oz at home and about 12 ounces at work that is half-caff. It's been hard to do that, but I would love to cut back to just my cup at home again...working on it. My budget and teeth would appreciate that! :)

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  10. you are one tough chick! like you though i used to have a lot of coffee. i am happy i have cut back. so proud of you!

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    1. Thanks, Kalli! You did a great job cutting back!

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  11. On the weekends its not unusual for me to drink 3/4 of a 12 cup pot, since my husband usually only has one - when he has two cups he feels his heart flutter!

    But during the week, its usually just one travel mug on the way to work - never actually thought to give it up!

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    1. And you shouldn't if it's working for you! :)

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  12. I have 1 cup of coffee everyday, and occasionally two...before 1PM...I cannot take caffeine after 2PM otherwise it will affect my sleep...
    Have a great week Andrea!

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  13. I think it's so great that you have given up coffee!
    I do have a cup or so a day but don't usually finish it.

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  14. Congratulations on reaching your goal, Andrea! It's tough to give up something like coffee - I know! ;) I actually never drank coffee in my life until I went back to school for dietetics, then I started having a cup or two a day (coincidence? I think not!). I drank it for a few years after that, and then a funny thing happened this past fall: I had a string of colds where my appetite disappeared, and I wasn't eating or drinking anything, including coffee. When my appetite came back, I found I didn't want coffee any more. So I guess I had it the easy way ;)

    Have a great week, Andrea! :)

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    1. Well, losing your appetite because of colds isn't fun, but it can be a "natural" way to let go of coffee I guess...

      Have a great week, too!

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  15. Hi Andrea! Something else you can be proud about is that coffee is acidic and hard on your teeth, so quitting coffee will help protect your teeth.

    I am so wretched about soda pop. I should quit that again, mostly to protect my teeth. :D

    :-) Marion

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  16. I drink coffee and I drink too much and I have no intention to give it up nor did I ever think about that. I love it too much. I do want to drink a little bit less of it and replace it with tea which is working so far.

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    1. Tea is a nice partial replacement!

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  17. I admit that I get headaches if I don't drink coffee each day. I do have one cup (sometimes two) in the morning but then I drink decaffeinated tea or water the rest of the day.

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  18. Good for you! I have a 1 1/2 cups of coffee a day. Can't handle more than that as it gives me the jitters if I do! The rest of the day I go caffeine free.

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    1. Thanks! Your coffee intake sounds perfect!

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  19. Good for you Andrea! I am lucky to be one of those people that is not addicted. I have my one latte a day and sometimes a diet coke. If I don't, I get no headache. I have never had more than one coffee per day. So, I don't feel like giving it up b/c I enjoy it - but it helps that I know I could pretty easily. My husband drinks coffee all day. He should cut back.

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    1. I wish I could have one cup a day and no headaches if I don't...

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  20. Coffee can help me to passed my free time. When i meet with my friends i go to a coffee shop and drink coffee. I personally like organic coffee. Because it has low amount of caffeine.

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