Giving up caffeine can be quite energizing.
Yes, that’s right. The drug that’s supposed to provide a boost of energy is actually drains it, based on what I’ve re-discovered.
So, it’s now been two months since I haven’t had any caffeine. I tried this before, as I shared last year in my post about a caffeine-free month. That trend lasted a few months, before I ended up getting back into caffeine. However, since the New Year, I’ve stopped caffeine consumption altogether.
My drink of choice was Diet Coke, but had also included some coffee as well as tea. No quick energy drinks were consumed, just the aforementioned beverages. It became a habit once again.
The thing is, I noticed the same “blah” feeling again after getting hooked on caffeine. It’s easy to get into a cycle of feeling that way, but it’s good to stop and reflect what things were like without it.
Compare life with the habit and life without the habit.
With the habit, I would generally get a drink in the morning. Often this was a Diet Coke, but sometimes coffee or tea. In the afternoon, I would skip coffee, but have a Diet Coke or tea. Maybe I’d have one in the evening too. Three drinks in a day is quite a bit, I think. Even when I would have two, it might not be a single serving. For example, if I was at lunch and there were refills, I might get one.
So, I confess: my 2010 caffeine-free move ended up giving way to the old habit again. And the ups and downs in energy level came back.
We can always try again, right?
Yes, we can keep on trying. Thus far this year, I haven’t had any caffeine. It’s been two months, and I’ve consumed nothing. It was a bit of a challenge at first, but the New Year’s resolution was so strong that I was able to get the momentum going and keep it going. There have been a few weak moments where I’ve felt like having a soda, or a cup of hot tea – especially during this cold weather where I live.
However, I’ve made substitutions, which I recommend as alternatives:
- Instead of Diet Coke – Try sparking water with natural flavors (orange, lemon, etc)
- Instead of Caffeinated Tea – Try herbal tea
- Instead of Coffee – Try decaffeinated coffee
These days, I have been having 2 herbal teas a day, and maybe a sparkling water or decaf coffee every other day.
The costs savings have been present, as I’ve cut my beverage costs by over 50%. That said, the substitutions have not been perfect. Water would probably be beverage perfection….healthy and free!
What about health and well-being? I’m telling you, I feel more energy again. When hooked on caffeine, I noticed ups and downs in energy levels. Spikes up, then a mini-crash. When you combine a poor night of sleep with excess caffeine, you’re not operating at anywhere near optimal capacity.
Without the ups and downs of caffeine, I feel more alert and can sleep better. Those spikes in caffeine aren’t a part of a long-term strategy to improve personal productivity.
What’s interesting is that I’m convinced that people that get hooked onto something don’t realize just how good they would feel without the vice. As I compare now vs. then, there’s a noticeable positive difference.
Is this permanent?
Realistically, a total personal ban on caffeine shouldn’t be necessary, unless there are medical reasons for that. I can’t imagine that an occasional glass of tea or cup of coffee would be so bad for most of us. Sodas…well, we could probably do without those.
Really, I’m thinking a better longer-term strategy is moderation rather than total avoidance when it comes to caffeine. If one really fights and takes control of our weaknesses, and develops the discipline to do things in moderation, it can go a long way.
The next endeavor: reintroducing the right caffeinated beverages in moderation. The key will be to have the occasional tea or whatever when I feel like it, without letting that first one get me on the path to overconsumption. That’s the big challenge, now that I know I can give up caffeine for months at a time.
With moderation, balance, and discipline, we can develop healthy habits that save us money too.
Questions for You:
Have you ever thought about reducing your caffeine intake or giving it up altogether?
Also, importantly: how have you successfully managed your dietary habits to successfully conquer such cravings over the long term? It could be caffeine, carbs, meat, etc. Have you generated monetary savings in the process?