I Quit Caffeine For 30 Days – Here Is What Happened
Let’s get one thing straight before we get into this post: Caffeine is amazing.
Now, like most of you reading this, I love caffeine and how it makes me feel. Because of that energy boost I love, I would have it in some fashion almost every morning. Okay, I had it every single morning. It woke me up, made me feel more focused, and was just part of my routine.
Maybe you can relate?
Well, one time as we were grocery shopping and I was about to load the cart up with my weekly dosage of caffeine I realized that I was a little addicted. The word addiction is usually associated with negative things and in this case, I’ll agree, it was negative. You see, I don’t like relying on anything to make me feel like I should. I don’t want to depend on an outside source to get through the day.
The fact that I had to have an energy drink with 300mg of caffeine (sugar-free though) every morning just to feel normal was a problem.
So I quit cold turkey.
In this article, I want to take you through my experience. Because I know most of you reading this are daily consumers of caffeine as well and the thought of giving it up even for a day may seem like a crazy idea.
The goal starting out was to give up caffeine for 5 weeks. I didn’t want to taper down my intake and give my body a chance to acclimate. Instead, I just stopped. I woke up that morning feeling like I normally would. Sluggish, tired, and ready for my 16 ounces of motivation.
It went on like this for a couple of days. The fourth or fifth day was the worst and even though my body was telling me I needed it, I didn’t give in. Let’s say this was a mild case of withdrawals.
We’re talking about caffeine here, not drugs or alcohol so labeling this as a full-on withdrawal would be a serious mischaracterization. I am in no way taking away from the seriousness of addiction and the struggle that comes with breaking it.
But caffeine intake does have some similarities with drugs. Now, we aren’t going to go full scientist here because frankly, I’m not qualified to talk on those topics but let’s just dive into some facts.
First off, caffeine, no matter how you consume it, releases the neurotransmitter dopamine. Most of us have heard of dopamine and connect it to the idea of feeling good. If that’s what came to mind for you then good because that is exactly what it does. Unfortunately (or fortunately whichever your opinion) quite a few drugs also cause your body to release dopamine and give you this feeling as well like cocaine, ecstasy, and others.
If you want to learn more about caffeine, it’s affects on our body, and the science behind it here are some resources:
- Why Does Coffee Make Us Feel So Good?
- What does caffeine do to your body?
- The Effects of Caffeine on Your Body
I guess this is as good of a place as any to mention another reason I wanted to quit caffeine besides my obvious reliance on it. I’m sure you know that your body can build up a tolerance to almost anything. Sometimes that’s a good thing, like exercising or running. If you have ever gone through a party phase though, you know that after a while, it can take more and more alcohol to create that same buzzed feeling. This is exactly what happened to me with caffeine.
At the peak, I was consuming over 600 mg a day. For those keeping track at home that’s two full-size Monster Energy Drinks or more than seven cups of coffee. Yes, I enjoyed the taste but I also needed that much to get the positive side effects.
To me, that’s a problem.
What I Did Instead To Wake-Up
Like many of you reading this, the main reason I was drinking caffeine packed products was to wake up in the morning. Without it, I just didn’t feel like myself so when I cut it off I needed to find another way to give me that feeling.
First off, I started out my mornings with an ice cold shower. Truthfully, it was absolutely awful at first. But our bodies being the amazing organism they are, I slowly adapted and the ice-cold water definitely woke me up. I even started to look forward to it.
For a couple of weeks.
After the second week, it didn’t seem to phase me anymore. Not because I had gotten tougher. It was still ridiculously cold but just because I knew it was coming.
The second thing I turned to was flavored carbonated water. One of the positive side effects of drinking carbonated, caffeinated, amazing energy drinks was it made me feel full. I’m not a huge breakfast guy so I needed to find a way to fill my stomach without the energy boost.
Carbonated water was the answer and it is still something I drink 2-3x a week. The psychological effects of drinking bubbly water gives me all the same feelings without caffeine.
Who knows? Maybe I’m just tricking my brain for a limited amount of time before it figures out what is actually going on. But I’m going to ride it out while I can.
My Plan Going Forward
Some of you may be reading this and think it would be easy to give up caffeine. In fact, based on the Twitter poll I conducted, the majority of people believe just that.
To that I say good luck! You’ll need it.
Since my 6-week hiatus of caffeine, I have only consumed it a handful of times. Most mornings I don’t even think about it. I guess you could say the addiction is broken. I still have cravings every so often and many times I will fill it.
The whole point of this was not relying on anything to make me feel the way I should feel as a human. Our bodies are capable of amazing things and I trust mine to look out for me if I take care of it.
If you read this article and thought to yourself “I should try to give up caffeine”. Then I say go for it. You may think it will be easy but I promise it’s far from a walk in the park. If you want to learn more about the topic then check out this video Alex Becker did. I found it quite interesting.
The Bottom Line
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