Two weeks ago, I started talking about some parts of my eating habits that I didn’t like: one of the big ones was how much coffee I was drinking. In the last few months, I feel like it’s gotten a little out of hand. I’ve been a coffee drinker for YEARS, but since September I’ve gone up from one cup per day to about three. For me? That’s a LOT of caffeine. Some days I’ll have even more than that. There are so many reasons that so much coffee isn’t good for me. The biggest reason is that I put tons of sugar in one single cup. Like, 3 or 4 sugars usually. It’s pretty bad.
When I started writing about health once a week, I received a lot of comments about my coffee intake and most of you related to it, which I think is totally normal. Coffee is the most widely used *drug* in America, and apparently 450 million cups of it are drunk every single DAY. That is crazy, am I right? I knew that for my own health I needed to start cutting down on coffee, I just didn’t know how to go about it.
That first week, a lot of you mentioned cutting it out of my diet completely. I knew this sounded like a great idea, but realistically that just did not feel possible for me. Instead, I tried cutting one cup out of my diet per week. It worked pretty well, except I was cheating more than I would have liked. Whenever I was hungry and didn’t know what to eat, I just grabbed a cup of coffee; whenever I was feeling the least bit tired at school, I grabbed another cup. I think my addiction may have gotten WORSE- not better- since starting to keep track of myself.
On Thursday, I was back up to my third of fourth cup of the day, and I knew I’d just had one too many, but I just went with it. By the end of that last cup, I did NOT feel good. I spent the rest of the evening out with friends and felt sick the WHOLE time. Like really, really sick. I’m about 90% sure that coffee was the culprit- my true love! How could it do this to me?
Anyway, the whole ordeal left me feeling sick up until Friday morning and I realized I needed a nice day off from caffeine. It wasn’t so bad to start; I replaced my usual two-three mugs of caffeine with hot chocolate- but the whole day I was just too tired to really move. I spent more time in bed than out of it, and I had the worst headache all day. Bright side? I wasn’t SICK. Also, I wasn’t craving coffee AT all. The hot chocolate that I had was perfect and I didn’t even think of coffee until I started falling asleep everywhere I went.
I woke up this morning and realized that my caffeine headache was back. I also realized that I was one day into a *caffeine detox* if you will, and I figured why not try one more day? So today was my second full day without coffee, and I have to admit it’s not the worst thing ever, but it’s definitely hard. I have a constant headache, I’m always sleepy, and my mood is all over the place.
I’m going to see how long I can go without caffeine. I’m still not CRAVING it- I know that it’s more of a comfort to me than anything, and by substituting with another hot drink I get the same satisfaction. Now, if I can just find a way to get out of this withdrawal stage, that would be great!
I’ve read that caffeine withdrawal can be as tough to get through as with any other kind of drug because it affects your central nervous system; your sense of well being and your energy, in very much the same way. Even though I didn’t REALIZE I was addicted, I definitely still was. I have all the symptoms and all I want to do is have a cup of coffee so that I don’t feel this way anymore.
Some tips I’ve read that may help:
1- Drink lots of water to fight off the headache
2- Take an over the counter painkiller (also for the headache, they get really bad!)
3- Take a nap to fight the fatigue (recommended is 20 minutes, I took a 3 hour one, but anyway…)
4- Try yoga, meditation, or some other kind of activity to help you relax!
5- Give it time. After a few days of intense headaches and annoyances, they’ll decrease in intensity. (That’s not super helpful for right NOW, but it certainly makes sense)
Finally, here are some good articles on the topic that I read! I particularly enjoyed this one. Apparently it’s not good to quit cold turkey, but since I’m not planning on quitting forever, I don’t think it’s too bad!
What do you do to fight off caffeine withdrawal? How do you cut back without cheating?