I love caffeine. I really do. I start looking forward to my morning cup of coffee (or two) as early as the night before. I love having coffee dates with friends. I love spending quiet mornings with my crochet hook and a cup of coffee.
But you know what else? I’m a caffeine addict. Maybe you are too. So many of us are addicted to caffeine that we don’t think anything of it. We smile understandingly at that coworker pouring his fifth cup of coffee. We share a knowing look with the busy mom holding her Venti latte in one hand, and pushing a stroller in the other. Coffee culture is rampant, and I’m totally in on it.
However… It turns out that large amounts of caffeine are not actually good for you. Surprise!
So as part of a ten-day shred, where I cut out habits that weren’t serving my body (such as drinking alcohol, and eating dairy and processed foods), and added more good habits (like drinking more water, getting more sleep and exercise, and eating more fruits and vegetables), I also gave up caffeine.
Day one was literally the worst. Fortunately, I started the shred over winter break when I had a lot of free time. I didn’t have any commitments that first day, which was a blessing because I definitely was not my best self. I had a horrible headache. I was exhausted. I lazed around the house all day, took more than one nap, and tried to trick my body into thinking that herbal tea was just as good as coffee. It didn’t work. I felt like garbage.
But after my body had finally detoxed from the caffeine I was addicted to, I started to feel pretty good. By day two, my headache had almost completely gone away. By day three I was actually feeling great.
I am decidedly not a morning person, and most mornings I have to talk myself into getting out of bed. When I’m on break from school and have no real reason to ever get out of bed, it’s common for me to sleep in for quite a while, and then still spend an extra hour in bed on my phone.
But after just a few days of giving up caffeine, I started to notice the effects. I noticed that I was actually waking up feeling rested, awake, and alert. WHOA. This was definitely a new sensation for me. I started waking up earlier without even setting an alarm, because I was getting better sleep. I noticed that I actually had the energy to last me throughout the whole day, with no caffeine at all. I was actually excited about getting up in the mornings, drinking my protein shake, and getting to the gym for my daily workout.
I was feeling so good, that at the end of my ten-day shred, I actually stayed off caffeine for another week. I just loved how good my body was feeling, and didn’t want it to end.
Of course, it didn’t last forever, because caffeine is almost a necessity in grad school. Once winter break was over, I went right back to my morning coffee. I’m back to at least two cups of coffee a day now, because I love that caffeine rush that makes me productive… but I’ve definitely noticed that my sleep has gotten worse again. I’m never ready to get out of bed when my alarm goes off. I have to compromise with myself by spending some time in the morning just scrolling through my phone in bed, hoping that the blue light will wake me up.
It’s just so crazy how I didn’t have to struggle with mornings like this when I gave up caffeine. It’s so counterintuitive – caffeine is supposed to wake you up, right? So why am I so exhausted?
I will definitely be doing the ten-day shred again, and along with that I will give up caffeine. It’s important to detox every once in a while so you can remember just how good your body was designed to feel. Eliminating bad habits for ten days is totally doable. Adding in good habits for ten days is also totally doable. You can do anything for ten days, even give up caffeine. Just… maybe try to slowly ramp down from your usual caffeine intake over a few days, instead of quitting cold turkey. That caffeine withdrawal headache is NOT something I want to go through again!
If you’re interested in learning more about the ten-day shred, or the Shred10 as it’s officially called, check out www.shred10.com for more info on what to eliminate, and what healthy habits to add to your routine for ten days.
Be happy. Be healthy.