I Gave Up Coffee for a Month -- Here’s What Happened
I love coffee. For the longest time it’s been the best part of my morning routine. Wake up, let the dog out, start coffee. But I could never just call it quits after the first cup. I’d need another, and then empty the rest of the pot into my to-go cup and carry on. I was easily drinking 6 to 8 (according to the coffee pot,) large cups of coffee a day. Throw in one of those popular Bang energy drinks on top of that in the afternoon, and my caffeine consumption was through the roof.
So what’s the big deal, right? Many of us start our days with some sort of caffeine. But is there such a thing as too much caffeine? You probably know the answer: Yes, yes there is absolutely such a thing. (Skip ahead to the end of the blog for my TL;DR pros and cons!)
According to the Mayo Clinic, there are some simple signs and symptoms that you might be overdoing it including:
Frequent urination or inability to control urination
Fun, right? For me, I was taking way too many trips to the bathroom, was constantly jittery and anxious feeling, and just felt meh in the energy department. The caffeine had stopped working the way it’s supposed to, and I was making up for it by just drinking more.
So I quit the coffee cold turkey.
But I’ll be honest, I didn’t exactly give up caffeine completely. I made the switch from numerous cups of joe a day, to one occasional cup of Matcha with almond or oat milk. If you haven’t heard of Matcha, it’s a finely ground powder of specially grown and processed green tea leaves. Some sources debate the amount of caffeine in Matcha, but most agree it has roughly half the caffeine compared to a single cup of coffee. (Stay tuned for an article all about Matcha!)
The first week was the worst. I had headaches almost every afternoon, was definitely crankier, and all I could think about was how badly I wanted a warm cup of coffee to sip on. My morning routine felt awkward without spending time waiting for the coffee to brew. On the plus side, I shaved a good five minutes off my getting-ready time. The most obvious and immediate change? I cut my trips to the bathroom in half.
By week two I was doing a little better. I was still thinking about coffee a lot, and looked longingly at my co-workers cup when she’d get that afternoon pick-me-up. But I was starting to notice more positive changes, too. My energy wasn’t crashing in the early afternoon, my hands were less clammy (I don’t know why I just have clammy hands, ok?), and I was able to fall asleep faster.
The next two weeks were even easier. I was able to skip the Matcha, going caffeine-free for days in a row for the first time since I probably started drinking coffee. The headaches were gone, I wasn’t missing coffee hardly at all, and my energy levels felt consistent throughout the day.
By day 30, I felt like I had officially kicked my addiction. The determination to finish strong got me through the last few days. I started this experiment mostly just to prove to myself that I could, and that I wasn’t a slave to my coffee pot before I could function properly. Turns out, I’m just fine without the caffeine.
Less trips to the bathroom.
No day-long jitters.
Cut some fat out of my diet without the creamer.
Saved some $$$.
Drank more water.
I thought about coffee everyday.
I probably talked about wanting coffee everyday.
Afternoon headaches for the first two weeks.
Some days I just really wanted some dang coffee.
What I Learned:
It really does take 30 days to kick or start a new habit.
Matcha and teas are great alternatives to get a smaller caffeine fix.
I like the taste of creamer more than I like actual coffee.
I can easily go a few days without coffee if I need to.
I’m stronger than I thought! I tend to cave easily to my cravings.
The routine of coffee was harder to break than actually drinking it.
I made it 30 whole days without my favorite morning beverage. When the new month began, I didn’t even want a cup of coffee, and the realization was liberating. Sure there were some rough patches and the first week I wanted to give up multiple times, but I didn’t, and I’m more mentally strong because of it.
As cheesy as it may seem, this 30-day challenge helped me gain some strength and confidence that I can now carry with me into other areas of my life. New PR on my deadlifts? No problem. No alcohol for a month? Easy-peasy. Now maybe I’ll finally tackle a Whole 30 month and make it more than a week in!
Whether it’s coffee, sugar, or even a new workout program, starting and sticking to a routine is tough. But take it from me, the rewards are going to be worth it. Now that the challenge is over though, I’ve had a few cups of coffee in moderation, and that cup of coffee I had on May 1st was probably one of my favorites, jitters and everything.