Why I Quit Caffeine...

That’s it…I have had enough!!! That is what I told myself this past Monday morning when planning my usual 6am quick stop to pick up my usual 20oz Mt Dew for my needed boost of energy for the day. I have tried for years to quit caffeine, but time and time again…I failed. Without any planning or preparation I decided to quit cold turkey right then and there. I’m disgusted at myself for not being able to quit before now, and aggravated at the feeling of being so dependent on something. I realized that I was in fact…addicted! I sat in my car for a few minutes to look up some of the withdraw symptoms on my phone so I could mentally prepare for this decision. Then I accepted the challenge. As much as 90% of our country is addicted to caffeine in some form (coffee or soda), and I set out to be a part of the other 10%...for probably only the second time in my life outside of infancy.

Why I Quit:
One 20oz Mt Dew a day = $1.75 times 365 days = $638.75 (conservative estimate). I can think of a few ways I’d rather spend that money.
I have had trouble sleeping at times in my life, and I was always curious if caffeine could be the culprit.
Being in the US Military there is no guarantee that I will have access to soda or coffee for days if not weeks at a time. I would hate to experience the withdraw symptoms when I really need to be alert and active (and alive).
I love to push myself, and test out my body’s limits. I believe this is important for us all to do a few times in our lives…test the limits of what we are truly capable of.
What are the common side effects of drinking too much caffeine? Glad you asked…

Stomach ulcers
Poor digestion
Decreased bone density
Increased muscle tension
Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Tendency to dehydrate

What are the common withdraw symptoms? Important to consider before diving in (do as I say…not as I do)…

Muscle Pain, Stiffness, Cramping
Lack of concentration
Flu-like symptoms
Nausea and Vomiting
Brain Fog
Heart Rhythm Abnormalities

Daily Journal:
Day 1: Ready or not, here we go… (1/25/2016)
Foggy, mild headache started by about 3:00PM. I was irritable, unable to focus, slow moving, and had trouble making routine decisions effectively. Lots of water and 300mg of Ibuprofen did the trick. Went to bed 2 hours earlier than normal.
Day 2: Feeling withdrawal affects: annoying, but not unbearable (1/26/2016)
Woke up for work feeling pretty sluggish. Thinking to myself – is this really it? Not so bad…!! I can do this! Little did I know, that seductive she-devil had much more in store for me! Work was a constant battle to stay awake and push through the pain. I couldn’t believe how one minute I felt fine, and the next my head nodded down right in the middle of an email. 600mg of Ibuprofen at 1PM and 7PM to take the edge off the headache. Lots of Water!
Day 3: The day I would like to forget…forever! (1/27/2016)
Worst day. Getting out of bed was a chore, wanted to nap constantly, headaches in FULL FORCE. 600mg of Ibuprofen every 5hrs barely kept the headache manageable. Very irritable, impatient, mind was dull. Luckily I was on the go all day long to keep me from randomly falling asleep. The times that I sat down I was done for…Ugh. The whole day I was off, moody, run down, and mentally dull. The headache finally subsided towards the end of the day right before bed.
Day 4: Glorious workout saves the day? (1/28/2016)
Woke up feeling slightly more alert and energetic than day 3. Start of my upswing? Nice Breakfast. Mild headache during the mid morning. Pushed through and did a four mile run at the local park. Turns out this run was the best decision I’d made since starting this experiment. Well, my endorphin’s helped a fair amount, but they only lasted an hour or so. Then it was back to hurting. Lots of water, and some Ibuprofen.
Day 5: Is there a light at the end of the tunnel? (1/29/2016)
Woke up feeling decent thanks to chugging copious amounts of water the night before. Had another nice breakfast, Not easy but I didn’t get distracted like I often do. Could this be a sign of what’s to come? Did another 4 mile run that offered resistance to the dreaded headaches.
Day 6: Definitely on the upswing (1/30/2016)
Woke up feeling refreshed. Every morning seems to be easier than the last.  Couldn’t believe all the energy I had! I was even tired at normal times. Another run today served me well.
Day 7: More in tune with my body (1/31/2016)
Started to notice how my energy revolves around food like clockwork (this was not the case with excessive caffeine). Wow…is this what normal feels like? Makes me feel as though I wasn’t taking good care of my body for all those years…
How I feel today Day 7 compared to Day 1:
  • Improved concentration.
  • Better sleep and feel more alert in the morning.
  • Tired at more normal times (can fall asleep by 10PM instead of 1AM).
  • Increased awareness of the messages my body is sending – example: I’m hungry at normal times and I notice increased effects of food choices (both healthy and un-healthy). Crazy to think I didn’t notice the extreme effects of caffeine affecting my stomach and hunger schedule for so long.
  • More patient/relaxed when decision making.

What now?

I vow to never be addicted again! Having made great strides with something that has been such a vice for me…it is time to move on to the next challenge. Will I ever taste a soda again…yes, let’s be real. I’m sure being out to dinner on a particular evening I could indulge just once or twice. But, never again will I be forced to search for the next gas station so I can stop to get a soda just to ensure that I won’t get a headache later in the day. V I C T O R Y !!!

Tell me your experience with this amazing/horrible/addictive drug. Do know anyone addicted to caffeine that might benefit from a break? Please share this post.

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