Second Months Challenge – No Caffeine for 30 Days

by Damon on August 1, 2012

I Heart Coffee!

Photo by Nevit Dilmen (Wiki Commons)

Do you consider yourself an addict? I know I do. No, I’m not talking about drugs or alcohol I’m talking about caffeine. Until about a week ago when I slowly started weaning myself from coffee I was a full blown self confessed caffeine junkie. It had been years since I had went a day without a caffeinated drink. Like many people my addiction began when I was young with the occasional soft drink I preferred Mountain Dew. Then in no time at all I began sucking those things down left and right and soon it was all I was drinking. This probably sounds familiar to many of you reading this. Anyways, as I got older my life began to change I was staying up later and getting up earlier. Needless to say I needed something stronger than pop and this is when I found my second true love, Karen being my first, and that was coffee. I instantly loved everything about coffee the taste the smell and most of all, the buzz it gave me. Even when I stopped drinking pop a few years back I didn’t even consider giving up my coffee. As far as I was concerned it was just something I was always going to drink and up till last week that is exactly what I have done everyday. So it should go without saying that I am not crazy about the whole idea of giving up my coffee which is my only source of caffeine, but to be honest it is something I have wanted to do for myself for a long time. Why you ask? Well for several reasons, for one I don’t like feeling like I don’t have full control over my mind and body so when I feel like I am becoming addicted to something (i.e. coffee/caffeine) I get angry with myself for being weak. Secondly I know it is having a negative effect on my personality for example on days that I have had a little too much coffee I become overly tired after the buzz wares off and find myself being less patient with my kids which just isn’t acceptable in my book. I mean lets be honest having patients with kids is something that parents are tested with on a daily basis so who needs to make it any harder, right? And the third reason I want to eliminate caffeine from my diet is that I suffer from mild anxiety and even have the occasional panic attack which if you have ever had one you know how horrible they can be. I know for a fact that these feeling are brought on by or made worse from drinking coffee because they typically happen on days that I have had too many cups. This is especially true on days that are particularly stressful.

Negative Effects of Caffeine

Now I understand that caffeine doesn’t affect everyone the same and that there are even some studies that show that coffee and caffeine actually have some health benefits. But there is an equally long list of negative side effects like

  • Irregular and/or rapid heart beat
  • Nervousness
  • Mood Swings
  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Restlessness
  • Insomnia and other sleep disorders
  • Irritability
  • Upset stomach/diarrhea
  • Panic attacks
  • Prolonged depression
  • Difficulty concentrating

And according to Roland Griffiths, PhD, a professor in the departments of psychiatry and neuroscience at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine “Caffeine is the most widely used mood-altering drug in the world,” he also states that “People often see coffee, tea, and soft drinks simply as beverages rather than vehicles for a psychoactive drug.”  Kind of crazy isn’t it?

Take the Challenge

Now whether or not you admit it if you are drinking very many caffeinated beverages a day then you are probably suffering from one or more of these ailments. You might not even realize that they are being caused by what you’re drinking. And really there is only one way to find out, do this challenge with me. What can it hurt, if you don’t notice any difference then just start back to drinking all you favorite drinks again. But if I’m right and you are being negatively affected then chances are you’re going to start feeling better and who knows if it’s pops your drinking you may even lose some weight in the process. Sounds like a no lose to me.

One Tip for Your Sanity

If you do decide to take this challenge I do recommend that you do like I have done and taper off on the caffeine before quitting cold turkey. The reason for this is that you will more than likely have withdraw symptoms that will include varying degrees of headaches. Some people will get terrible headaches while others will hardly notice anything but just incase play it safe and taper, it’s just easier.

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