Perhaps with it being Lent, this is a topic that I’ve been asked about with much more frequency in the recent past. Here are my tips and tricks for nixing that coffee habit in a hurry!
Admittedly, I was never a huge coffee drinker. Maybe two cups a day maximum, but usually at least one a day. Though sometime around 2013, I made the decision to stop drinking coffee cold turkey. Even with my limited intake, stopping was incredibly difficult. No shaking or anything, but I was so used to holding a warm cup in my hands early in the mornings, that the practice alone was routine to my brain. These days, I’ll have the sporadic cup of green tea, but coffee has completely been removed from my repertoire.
While this decision is not for everyone, it’s something I’ve been asked about regularly since I’ve started the blog. And so, with that (drum roll please), here are the primary reasons I stopped drinking coffee and my tips for if you’re planning to make the same decision. I’m hoping that it helps you feel educated on my reasoning, but I’d be more that happy to answer any questions you might have on this one – it’s surprisingly much easier said than done. Feel free to drop them in the comments section below. Also, if you’ve quit drinking coffee, please drop your tips below, too!
WHY I Stopped Drinking Coffee
Completely TMI here, but actually started with acid reflux…
I started getting small bouts of acid reflux six years ago. If you’ve had bad reflux in the past, you know what it feels like – like your heart is beating a million miles a minute and you can’t catch your breath. It can be scary stuff!
As I would always recommend, I spoke with my Primary Physician, as well as to the Gastroenterologist, who both suggested taking an antacid once a day to see how that worked out. While I’m never (rarely) one to question doctors, I hated the idea that I might be dependant on a pill to make me feel more like myself.
After doing significant research on my own, as well as asking the opinions of my doctors, I found that there are three, primary dietary elements that lead to acid reflux, in addition to a wide variety of other elements (genetics, lifestyle factors, etc.)
3) Caffeine, but primarily Coffee
While I could absolutely limit my intake of the first two, they were not something I was ready to completely cut out if my life. But, after having a conversation with my brother who had also had acid reflux and had successfully gotten rid of it almost completely, he highly recommended cutting caffeine from my diet.
Since following his advice and quitting coffee and soda cold turkey, I have almost entirely gotten rid of my acid reflux without the help of any antacids. When I do get symptoms, it’s typically from having three or more drinks the night prior or because I’m eating too quickly. But what’s most important to me is that I’ve gotten rid of the symptoms for my everyday. It’s clear to me that I was essentially feeding myself a primary culprit to something that was making me incredibly uncomfortable every single day.
Like I mentioned earlier, everybody has a different body and a different reason for making the decisions that they do, though cutting coffee from my diet is absolutely a decision that I would gladly make again.
HOW I Stopped Drinking Coffee
Even though I wasn’t a huge coffee drinker, it was incredibly difficult to quit. Use these tried and true tips – using these learnings, I was back to normal in ~3 months.
1) Plan Ahead – Getting a date on the calendar allowed me to do bit of weaning prior. I cut my average drinking down, and stayed actively conscious of how much coffee I was drinking. I was also able to avoid skipping coffee entirely on mornings where I knew I’d have to be 100% alert. This preparation allowed me to feel a lot less pressure when the quitting time came around.
2) Inform Family, Friends, and Co-Workers of Your Decision – You may be moody and incredibly tired, especially at the very beginning. Let those close to you know what’s going on, not only for accountability, but so that they know why you might be acting a bit differently for a while.
3) Determine Your Coffee Shop Alternative Order – It’s amazing how often folks like to go out for coffee, something you might not even realize until you stop drinking coffee. Determine what you plan to order when you’re in those situations. Whether it’s iced tea, steamed apple juice, or a water bottle, having that alternative planned will be incredibly helpful, especially early on in your detox.
4) Have advil on hand – Even being a light coffee drinker, I got some headaches when I was quitting. If you are impacted heavily by headaches, it will be beneficial to have your preferred headache medication available so that you don’t have to head to the store.
JOIN THE CONVERSATION
Are you a coffee drinker? If so, have you though about quitting? If not, what’s kept you away?
Create a great life!