Week Without Coffee

Talk about one of the hardest weeks ever. First of all, I’m wondering why I even challenged myself to do this. I love coffee. I mean I really love it.  Not only does it give me the energy that I need to start my day and give me a pick-me-up towards the end of the day, it tastes delicious!

When I was in my early twenties, I probably consumed maybe one cup of coffee per day. The rest of what I functioned on was my natural energy. Now, in my mid-upper twenties, one cup of coffee will barely get me four hours into my day. As a busy professional with multiple endeavors and as a doctoral student, I’m consuming three to four cups per day. When I don’t have my coffee, I feel it. I’m sluggish, irritable, tired, and just plain miserable.

I’ve always been really conscious of the things that I put into my body. I’m completely aware that consuming large or excessive amounts of caffeine, or anything for that matter, is just not good for you. So I made the decision to cut back on my coffee to make more of an effort to get back to my natural energy and a normal sleeping pattern. Those late afternoon brews don’t make for a good night of sleep.

The first day was hard. The first thing that I reached for in the kitchen was my coffee mug. I decided to drink out of a different cup that day. Going to work was the worst because we constantly brew Dunkin Donuts, Starbucks, and Seattle’s Best in the office. I attended meetings where my coworkers sipped on their coffee and bragged over how scrumptious the blends were while I drank water. By 2 pm I was ready to go home and go to sleep. When it was time to lie down to get some shut-eye, I had a difficult time doing so.

By the third day I had a headache. I’m sure you’ve heard about those people who drink so much coffee that when they stop they get headaches among other ailments. Apparently, that’s me. I managed to fight through it and continued to drink more and more water. 

By the fifth day, I was actually feeling kind of good. I usually run three to four times per week so by this time I could feel myself running on my own natural energy again (if I ran in the morning) instead of daydreaming about coffee. By the end of the week, I was pretty excited to challenge myself to see if I could make it another week without coffee. 

By removing coffee from my life for a week I learned a few things about myself.

I figured out how much sleep I need to function and to function well. For me that’s about seven hours a night.

Not drinking coffee also caused me to be more conscious of the other things that I put into my body. I found myself wanting to eat even healthier than I already do. I also pushed myself to stick with my running regime in order to boost my natural energy. 

All in all, a week without soy lattes wasn’t so bad. Since my challenge, I’ve actually gone days without coffee and they days when I have had some, I’ve limited myself to one cup instead of three.

Try a week-without challenge for yourself. Is there something that you want to cut back on in your life? Try weaning yourself off first instead of giving yourself a headache like I did by going cold turkey and keep a journal while you do it. You’ll be amazed to find out how amazing your mind and body really are and what you’re capable of without all of the junk we give ourselves. 

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