Hi everyone! So I spent the last four weeks cutting back on Caffeine consumption and I’m so happy I did, I thought I’d share my experience in case you’ve thought about reining in the caffeine monster.
Why I Decided My Caffeine Intake Was Too Much
In graduate school I used to take breaks from caffeine on vacations. I’d spend the first couple days relaxing and popping Ibuprofen, taking a nap when I got tired, and kick the habit within three days TOPS. After my internship I finished this summer, I never kicked the habit. Instead I just started studying for the RD exam and then planned a wedding and then started work, I never quit the caffeine train.
- I was a do not talk to me unless I have had my coffee type person
- I craved the “caffeine” high and would keep drinking until I was shaky
- For the above reason I was up to 32 ounces a day or more (drinking it in the AM and PM)
- I got anxious if I didn’t have a planned cup of coffee brewed or a planned stop in the morning
- In sum, I was totally dependent on caffeine emotionally and physically to get through the day
Cutting Back: The Plan
I knew that with starting a new job I couldn’t afford a major caffeine crash and a bunch of withdrawal symptoms so I decided to start slowly. I didn’t say I was going to cut out caffeine completely, but my goal was to reset my tolerance. (AKA one cup of coffee would be enough.)
Step One: Nix the afternoon habit by substituting with tea. I also stopped “placing my coffee as priority for energy” and started sleeping more, I aimed for 8 hours a night.
Step Two: Keep habits from step one and begin substituting half decaf coffee. I was scared this would be gross, I heard bad things about decaf before. However, I found a wonderful vanilla hazelnut in bulk at Sprouts that I loved!
Step Three: More Decaf less regular, try tea lattes. Don’t drink the whole cup if I don’t need it or want it.
Step Four: Gather up some courage and leave the house without caffeine, don’t stop for caffeine.
Here are the official recaps of my journey:
Symptoms & Benefits:
I had two moments where I knew I had won and beat the addiction which made me ecstatic! The first mini victory was when I went an entire day without caffeine and felt fine! The second mini win was when I got a decaf iced americano from Whole Foods and it had the same affect on me that 3 cups of coffee would have had before!
Symptoms of Withdrawl:
Most of the withdrawal symptoms I experienced were totally tolerable and only happened within the first couple days, such as:
– slight headache
– slight stuffiness
– slight fatigue/sleepiness/lack of motivation
– increase appetite
– I feel healthier and awake in the morning not like a zombie
– I still enjoy my cups of decaf coffee, but I really enjoy them instead of being dependent on them
– I feel free and released from the need to have caffeine EVERY single morning, my morning can start without it and I will be fine
– I sleep better, a lot better! I don’t toss and turn at all anymore
– I do not feel extreme fatigue throughout the day anymore (no caffeine crash)
– Less anxiousness. Even though I craved the caffeine high, I was also extremely anxious while I was on my high getting things done.
– Less anxiety means less cortisol, an inflammatory hormone that gets released under stress
You Can Do It Too
Most of my kick in the pants encouragement came from reading this blog post written by Kris Carr, I highly encourage you check it out. She gives really good information on the effects caffeine has on the body and the caffeine content of specific types of drinks including teas, coffees, and soda. I put together this graphic to help you cut back your caffeine dependency if thats something you want to do!