Having brunch with my mother over Easter, we reminisced about the little things we used to give up for Lent. One year she gave up coffee, and I caught her sneaking a cup within the first week. Indignant at her lack of self-control, the 10-year-old me lamented over how she could break her “promise.” She just rolled her eyes and said I didn’t understand. Now, as a coffee-addicted adult myself, I’m amazed she didn’t ground me!
That memory got me thinking. How addicted was I really? I decided to run a little experiment and give up coffee for two weeks, agreeing to record the results for BBL so I couldn’t back out! Here’s how it went down:
Day 1: I felt great, in control and energized, until about 3 p.m. when I crashed. Thankfully I can touch type because my eyes were so heavy that I could barely see my keyboard. I was very nostalgic about the 3 (4?) cups of coffee I had with my delightful brunch the day before. Damn you never-ending refills. Where are you when I need you?
Day 2: Some misguided individual told me to try green tea in lieu of coffee. It has a small amount of caffeine, and at least it will give me something warm to hold and drink while I eat my cereal instead of my icy cold water bottle. You know what’s not the same as coffee? Freaking green tea.
Day 5: The one thing that has really improved is my chronic insomnia. Now when I get into bed, I’m so exhausted my eyelids are heavy and I’m not tossing and turning for hours. I’ve heard caffeine should only affect your body for 5 to 6 hours, so cutting out my morning coffee shouldn’t really be affecting my midnight bedtime. Maybe it’s all in my head, but I’ll take it!
Day 6: I almost broke down today! Pancake brunch and NO COFFEE? Positively un-American. Thankfully my brunch partner sympathetically refrained from getting coffee as well because I don’t think I could have handled the peer pressure!
Day 9: Going strong! I’m much less fatigued during the day. In fact, I feel really alert and wide awake throughout the morning and afternoon. It definitely takes me a bit longer to warm up in the morning without a caffeine jolt, but there’s no mid-afternoon crash to worry about either.
Day 10: I cheated a little bit today. I went on a snack run to a coffee shop with some coworkers and got the most delicious chocolate chip cookie that was just begging for something to drink with it! I got a decaf cappuccino – not the same effect, but at least it was something warm to hold and sip.
Day 14: I had planned to officially finish out 14 coffee-free days, but I called it quits this morning. A rainy Saturday languishing in my local laundromat absolutely screamed for a cup of coffee to accompany my crossword puzzle. It was heaven in a paper cup, good smelling, good tasting and … gone in about 3 minutes flat. I will say, as relaxing as it was to sit there and sip (well guzzle), I paid for it later. My heart was racing a mile a minute for the next four hours, and I felt like it was burning a hole in my stomach! I guess it takes as long to readjust to caffeine as it does to wean off it.
In the end? It’s good to know I can control my coffee addiction, and not the other way around. It’s definitely worth decreasing my intake for the sleep benefits – maybe I’ll save a big cup of coffee for crazy Monday meetings and lazy Sunday mornings!