I Gave Up Coffee for 30 days
Yes, you read that right... I gave up coffee for 30 days. No Starbucks runs, no cafe mochas on the weekends, no K-cups... no coffee. And I survived. Here is how my body, my mind and my habits were impacted.
I knew these were coming. Giving up coffee, something I drank daily for the last year was not going to be easy. I googled caffeine detox symptoms and knew that I could expect: headaches, irritability, fatigue, digestive issues and insomnia were what most people talked about when giving up coffee. I thought it was interesting that both fatigue and insomnia were listed. But I went into this knowing what could happen.
The first few days seemed to go by smoothly. I didn't really experience any of the "normal" symptoms. It wasn't until 4 days in, when I was hit with a stressful situation that I found myself needing a fix of coffee. I noticed that my thoughts would drift to standing in line at Starbucks. I noticed that I would watch co-workers drink their coffee (in a non-creepy way). I found myself wanting to be around coffee more than actually drinking coffee.
As the month went on, and stress triggered my craving for coffee, I found myself looking for new ways to cope. I started taking a short walk around my office building or at home when the stressful cues hit. The fresh air, the activity shifted my focus from the cue I felt and provided a different reward - endorphins.
I expected for my digestive system to get funky and out of wack but the opposite happened. I because regular and consistent. (Too much info?) It turned out that coffee actually upsets my digestive system - an uncomfortability I experienced - and assumed was normal - turned out not to be normal. As the month went on, my stomach and gut felt significantly better than it had in months. I also found that my appetite changed. I would wake up ready to eat and be less hungry in the evenings at dinner time. I started eating regular breakfasts and noticed that my energy lasted throughout the day instead of crashing before lunch and before I went home for the day.
This change has led me to eat more food throughout the day, feel more energized than when I was drinking coffee and to be more physically active. When the craving hits (and it still does) I take a short walk.
Through out February, I was reading the book The Power Of Habit by Charles Duhigg. As I was reading it, I was able to identify that my coffee drinking had become habitual and ritualistic. I was willing to drink burnt coffee, not because I liked the taste but because I felt I needed it to successfully start the day.
I firmly believe that my struggle this month was more a mental struggle and a physical struggle. I noticed that my cues that triggered my urge for coffee were the following: Sitting down at my desk and turning on my computer, feeling stressed, starting a big project, driving out to my mom's house, waking up before the sunrise on the weekends, and going to the beach/Disneyland. All of these things spiked my urge for an iced vanilla coffee.
I had to recognize that the reason I wanted the coffee was not because I needed it to survive, but because my body got used to having it. When I first had Addie, I struggled with postpartum depression. It was hard to leave the house without feeling overwhelmed and anxious. I started using the drive-thru Starbucks as a reward for getting out of the house. If I got out of the house, I hit Starbucks before I went anywhere else. I needed a reward to get out of my head and into the world again.
It became a routine that I didn't realize until one month, I kept track of my coffee spending. $125 in a month - spent on a coffee that I usually did not finish or that I complained wasn't as good as it normally was.
My habit was leave the house - drink coffee.
I wanted to see if I could truly change a habit. If I could rewire my brain to crave something else. My cue was leaving the house. My action was buying the coffee. My reward was feeling accomplished and put together.
As the month went on, I tried different actions to see what would give me the same satisfaction as buying the cup of coffee. Turns out bringing a bottle of water and seeing if I can finish it before noon has helped a lot. The other thing that has helped a lot is shifting my focus on what makes me feel accomplished and put together.
This month, I am focusing on Habits. I am creating a 4 day Habits workshop that you can do from the comfort of your own home and on your laptop or phone! And it is FREE! All you have to do is subscribe to my blog! I promise I will not sell you anything! I promise I won't try to push a single product on you! This is just me sharing what I learned throughout the month of February about my habits and how I am changing my "bad" habits into good habits.