Giving Up Coffee Forever

So. I made it 30 days with no caffeine. Well, except on Half-Marathon day when I had about 6 ounces but you best forgive me for that or else we can’t be friends. For real, okay. No one enjoys a stickler for the rules. Seriously. NOBODY.

Anyway. How did I celebrate that accomplishment this morning?

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With a giant cup of fully leaded Peet’s Holiday Blend. Sorry, I’m not sorry.

I have more to say about the entire Great Skin Care Experiment (A’Dell, put the Clarisonic back on your Christmas List!) but obviously giving up my morning coffee was the biggest damn deal of them all so I want to talk about that separately.

Despite my sensationalized title: I’m just not giving up coffee forever. Not gonna happen.

That said, I found this month so super refreshing that I really took pause for a moment and thought about it. I was far less irritable, my mood swings noticeably decreased, my morning appetite came back so I was up eating breakfast at a decent hour, I slept LIKE THE DEAD, and honestly after the first 4 days (which were totally rough) I felt like a rock star every morning: no caffeine required. These things? These are things one can not ignore.

The Real Deal

But it wasn’t all sunshine and roses. The thing about coffee is that I REALLY enjoy it. And when I say coffee, I mean just that. Black coffee — no cream, no sugar, not fun coffee-infused beverages. I really REALLY love coffee. Part of that comes from the fact that I worked in the Specialty Coffee Industry for over 10 years. The tasting ritual and subsequent rabbit holes of information that you can dive down based on origins and brewing are similar to wine. And I really enjoy that in my life. Not having a connection to that for an entire month really felt like a loss for me. I know that sounds stupid, but it is 100% true. I gave it up, and I survived, but there was never a morning where I didn’t really miss my morning cup. I missed tasting the variations in my beans. I missed switching it up to an Americano once in a while. I MISSED MY COFFEE! And the thing that really underscored that for me was it still felt like a loss even after I had gotten over missing my caffeine.

So how did I respond to all of that missing of my coffee? Well since I felt punished and like my last holdout vice was being taken away from me, I really let myself indulge in other things. Treats, baked goods, sugar, gluten, Halloween Candy — whatever. If it was a forbidden vice, I let myself have it! And in the end, I was NOT better for it. Mentally and emotionally I just felt so DOWN. But I wouldn’t stop trying to fill the hole. That space for that delicious pleasure in my life was empty and so I did my best to make sure if it wasn’t going to be filled with caffeine it would be filled with frosting of some sort. And seriously? It was gross.

But.

BUT BUT BUT.

I don’t want use my consequent poor nutrition as a reason to dive right back into my prior habits. The good parts of giving up caffeine are just too much too overlook (though ironically, my skin didn’t dramatically improve. BOO. But more on that later.) My sleep and appetite and overall function was so much better without daily caffeine imbibing for 5 hours a day. My hydration improved ten fold. All of these things I would like to keep around with maybe a few little tweaks.

So here’s what I decided I can manage:

*I’m going to have a cup of coffee at home in the morning and I’m ONLY going to have one. Yum. I can’t wait to get back to that. Before I was drinking 2-2.5. Garrett and I are also going to move in the direction of making that daily pot a half caf pot.

*I’m going to continue drinking herbal tea at work instead of coming into the office and brewing another cup or two. I think drinking tea at work all day long has been the biggest contributor to my overall feelings of good hydration. I want to keep up that good habit that I’ve put into place over the last 30 days.

*I’m going to start treating coffee like wine. I really enjoy it, and don’t want to give it up. But if I feel like a part of my health is suffering because of it, or if my consumption is increasing I’m going to just STOP drinking it for a bit. My biggest fear when I embarked on this was that I was totally nursing a coffee addiction. But now I KNOW I can go 30 days without it, so if I need to rein it in in the future, I plan on doing it.

All of these things mean that I need be observant about my consumption. I am not great at moderation, and I’m usually not a big advocate for it. But I think with coffee, I need to LEARN how to moderate. So I’m willing to try. It seems sort of hard to me, but even harder is giving up something that I just really get great pleasure from. If it doesn’t work, I’ll rethink it, but for now I’m so happy to be back enjoying a cup of Joe!

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