How I Quit Coffee

Wild Things!! It's Wednesday and today I started my new ritual of getting up at 5am and working out and meditating before getting ready for work.  Remember my new mantra:  No excuses.  

Since I'm adjusting to this routine, I thought I'd repurpose some older blog posts.  And since I woke up before the crack of dawn (literally, the sky was pitch black) I thought I'd talk about coffee or more importantly caffeine.  I gave up coffee over a year ago!  I still treat myself to a decaf soy latte every once in a while but more often than not I'm drinking hot water with lemon, tea, or dandy blend.  

Drumroll's how I accomplished the unaccomplishable:  

Over a year ago I was “Just a girl trying to navigate her very own caffeinated fairy tale” (that was my old blog's tagline).  

My very identity was wrapped up in coffee culture.  Including my clever tag line I had one of the first Starbucks gold cards, a collection of Starbucks city mugs, and a Keurig which I doted on like it was my pet.  I loved the hot comforting liquid after being jolted awake from a jarring alarm clock.  I loved the creamy soy or almond milk.  I loved the latte foam art and the seasonal red cups.  And let’s be honest, I loved how it helped me poop.

So how’d I do it?  What’s the secret?  Come in closer and I’ll tell you.  The real trick is that you need to WANT to quit coffee.  That’s right.  It’s as simple as that.  Not easy for sure, but simple. 

See a few years ago I tried to quit.  I realized how much my daily happiness depended on a trip to the coffee shop and despite this morning treat I was still dragging at work.  I hated the cycle.  So I decided to quit.  The thing is, I knew Thanksgiving was right around the corner and I’d be visiting my cousin who drinks coffee 24/7 and so I knew this was caffeine break was really only temporary.  And so it was.

Then I signed up for a cleanse and caffeine was not included.  I signed up for the cleanse as a gift to myself, not a treat, but a true gift as an intention towards a healthier life.  I was ready to go all in before I knew about the no coffee rule and even then I decided to stay all in.  I was committed.  

The week before the cleanse, I followed the rule of decreasing my caffeine intake.  I had already reduced my number of cups to two per day so that week I went down to just one.  The first day I had a full cup of caffeinated coffee.  The next day it was 3/4 caffeine and 1/4 decaf.  The day after that was 1/2 and 1/2.  The day after that was a full decaf cup of joe.

Now if you’re expecting a climax to the story here, well there isn’t one.  I am very lucky that I did not get caffeine headaches so at least I didn’t need to worry about that.  I was worried about the ritual of the coffee but was able to replace that with a steaming cup of water with fresh squeezed lemon.

I was also worried about my energy levels without the support of a caffeine IV and I have to admit, and here’s the best part, I have more energy without it.  That’s right!  Since I’m not dependent on the coffee to wake me up, I’m in charge of waking up.  So that feeling of being ready to take on the day is purely up to me.

Another great side effect is that I’m also less anxious.  My heart seems to beat slower throughout the day and my breaths feel deeper.  I’ve read reports about caffeine triggering a cortisol release which is your fight or flight hormone.  I’m not a doctor or a scientist so I won’t report on that here, but feel free to look it up on your own.

I’m also drinking more water now.  Before I used to struggle to drink the recommended eight 8 oz glasses per day and realistically drank about 6.  I used to spend all morning drinking coffee and the first time I would have water is with my lunch.  Now, I drink close to 80 oz per day, that’s ten 8 oz glasses per day!

It’s not always so easy.  There are certainly some days where I just cannot wake up.  And there are other days, like these more recent ones with the bluest of skies and not a cloud in sight, that it seems like nothing would be more fantastic than a nice iced coffee.  But then I remember how great I feel without the caffeine and it just doesn’t seem like something I want to sacrifice.

So if I can go from having blog tag lines about caffeine and losing my Starbucks gold card status and still surviving, then you certainly can do it too.  If you want to give up caffeine, then you need to truly want to give up caffeine.  It’s as simple as that.


Even my photo albums are filled with pictures of lattes and coffee cups!  This was in NYC in the Fall of 2011.  

Even my photo albums are filled with pictures of lattes and coffee cups!  This was in NYC in the Fall of 2011.  

UPDATE:  I have now been caffeine free for 446 days!  I use the Streaks app to track my progress.  I was going to offer a link to it but the Streaks app that I found is not the same one I have.  So no official recommendation here but I'm sure you'll find one you like.  You pay need to pay a few dollars for it but it's totally worth it.  Sometimes a small investment helps keep you in the game!