“I could never give up coffee!!”
I wish I had a dollar for every time I hear somebody say this! I can totally relate – up until a couple of years ago this would have been coming out of my mouth aswell.
But what I realised was that yes I could, and yes I did. And you can too.
Now before you get all upset let me just clarify that I am not suggesting that you give up coffee forever – no way! If you know me or follow me on social media you will soon work out that I am a big fan of double shot macchiatos It would be pretty hypocrytical of me to suggest you do something I am not willing to do…
My coffee story
So let me tell you a bit of background. I have been drinking coffee for pretty much as long as I can remember – certainly when I was still at primary school my mum would make me milky coffees. Now we are talking instant coffee here, and how much actual coffee was in it I couldn’t say, but it was enough to colour the milk. I felt very grown up that I was having a coffee with my mum.
Certainly by my mid teens I was drinking strong black coffees. I remember going on a school trip to France when I would have been 14 or 15 and ordering a long black and it nearly blew my head off – we weren’t so accustomed to espresso in England! It was good old Nescafe all the way.
In fact I only really started drinking “real” coffee when I emigrated to Australia. The cafe culture had a long way to go back in the UK 10 years ago (not sure how much it has progressed now to be honest) Anyway I digress…
By my mid forties I had pretty much a 30+ year caffeine habit that I “thought” was impossible to give up. Hence the “I could never give up coffee” line. My husband Mark would bring me a double espresso in bed every morning just to clear the brain fog and wake me up enough to get me up. If I didn’t have a coffee by mid morning I had a withdrawal headache.
In short my body had become reliant on coffee – I was addicted.
Giving up coffee for 30 days
A few years ago I was feeling extremely fatigued, very stressed out and relying on coffee to pretty much get me through the day. That was my “normal” – it didn’t ever occur to me that I could change that.
In mid 2014 I started a 30 day detox program in the hope of losing a few kgs, and as part of that program I was told I needed to give up coffee for 30 days to assist the detox process. I was all ready and excited to start when I was told this, and I have to say my initial reaction was no way can I do it! (I am not sure I would have even committed to the detox if I had known!!)
The advice I was given was priceless to me. Don’t think about giving up coffee for 30 days – just take it one day at a time. Every morning when you get up, just make a commitment that you are not going to have coffee TODAY.
So that’s what I did. I am a bit of a perfectionist, so I wanted to follow it to the letter. And I guess I just wanted to prove to myself (and others) that I could do this.
I am not going to lie, the first few days were not pretty. I had a withdrawal headache for the first 3 days, which is only to be expected given I was drinking 2 or 3 double strength coffees a day. I remember on the third day I was working at a clients and they were all giving me a very wide berth as I was in a foul mood!
But what amazed me was Day 4 – I woke up, the headache was gone and I had this overwhelming feeling of clarity in my head. I actually felt awake not foggy or groggy. It was a completely new feeling for me, I couldn’t remember ever feeling that way during my adult years.
It still blows my mind now that after 30+ years of drinking coffee, all it took was 3 days to get it out of my system. And I can honestly say that the rest of the 30 days was a breeze! I didn’t crave coffee once.
What I also realised was that whilst I thought that the coffee was helping to calm my anxiety, it was actually contributing to it! Once I got it out of my system, the knot that was pretty much permanently in my stomach disappeared, and my moods became far more controllable (I think this was the first benefit that my husband noticed!)
So what do I do now?
As I said at the start, I love my coffee and there is no way that I would ever permanently give it up, or suggest that anyone else should.
The difference is that now I drink coffee because I love the taste. I love sharing a coffee with my husband every morning. I love the social aspect of meeting friends for a coffee. I don’t drink it because I need it to function.
Every so often I will give it up again. It might just be for a couple of days, or a week. A couple of times a year I give it up for a full 30 days again.
When I don’t drink coffee now I get no withdrawal symptoms.I get no headache if I haven’t had my fix.
I know the warning signs, and I will never allow myself to get back to the point where my body is reliant on it again.
So every so often I just need to check, for my own peace of mind.
But I have to tell you, that first coffee back always tastes AMAZING!!!
So for all of you out there who believe that you can’t give up coffee, I am here to tell you, if I can then you can too. Just take it one day at a time.
I CHALLENGE YOU to give up coffee for 30 days and see how amazing you feel! And please comment or shoot me a message to let me know how you go
(Credit to my husband Mark for the pic, he really does make the best coffee in Brisbane ❤)