I recently did a caffeine cleanse and I wanted to share my thoughts with you! You might be experiencing similar side effects of caffeine intake so this could be helpful for you and your well-being.
I’ve always been a huge coffee addict. I really enjoy the taste of it, the atmosphere of coffee shops; coffee simply makes me happy just by thinking of it. What can I say? A cup of black coffee is a very powerful thing! Caffeine is a drug, though, and unfortunately, I would say that I was addicted to it. I definitely don’t think caffeine is bad, but just like anything else, it should be consumed in moderation. Caffeine has dehydrating effects on the body, so it’s important to increase your water intake. You can learn more about staying hydrated in Healthy Hydrated You.
I was experiencing the worst lightheadedness that I just couldn’t seem to shake. No amount of water, sleep, or food could help me feel better. And I was living in a constant state of tiredness, which I tried to solve with more caffeine. I was snacking more often, too, thinking that maybe my symptoms were a result of not eating enough. After my caffeine intake gradually increased to an unhealthy level and I began to feel worse and worse, I decided I had enough and I was taking control of the situation.
So here’s what I did; for an entire week I stopped drinking caffeine. Yup. I did the unthinkable (for me anyway)—I ditched the coffee, the white monster, the preworkout, the caffeinated tea, all of it. Okay, so I did allow myself to have 16 ounces of decaffeinated coffee per day, but in my defense there is hardly any caffeine in decaf coffee. Plus, I’d been consuming caffeine to the point where coffee didn’t even energize me anymore so believe me, the decaf did nothing except for satisfy my craving for the taste of coffee.
For the first two days, I had a terrible headache, I was sluggish and just couldn’t seem to wake up. I had no energy or motivation to do anything at all. This sounds terrible, I know, but the truth is I didn’t feel any worse than I had for weeks prior to my caffeine cleanse. Starting is always the hardest part of anything, so I knew I just had to trek through the initial couple of days to come out feeling better on the other side. I started feeling better already on day 3 and by day 4, I began to feel like a new person. I felt naturally energized. I slept better. I was in a better mood. I wasn’t living in a constant state of haziness that I had been for weeks prior.
Moral of the story? It did not take long for my mind and body to feel better. It was incredible to feel energized due to my lifestyle rather than relying on stimulants to perk me up.
Is completely quitting caffeine cold turkey the best option for you? Maybe, maybe not. It’s recommended to slowly decrease your intake instead of a hard stop, but I’m a very impulsive, 100%-in-attitude kind of person so this is how things usually roll with me.
After a week or a strict no caffeine diet, I allowed myself to start having a bit of caffeine again. I’ve taken a liking to mixing decaf coffee grounds with non-decaf coffee grounds so that I don’t end up in the same boat as I was previously. I only allow myself one 16-ounce coffee a day now as opposed to previously having coffee in the morning, after lunch, and after work. Yeah, I know, my coffee consumption was out of control. Now, drinking even partly caffeinated coffee boosts my energy level. I would hate to see what drinking a whole white Monster energy drink would do to me now...
This week-long caffeine cleanse was something that I absolutely needed to do and I think it would be highly beneficial to many other caffeine addicts out there. It feels good to be in control of how your body and mind feel. It’s so easy to rely on stimulants to provide energy, but this isn’t the healthiest way to live. Take some time to focus on why your energy levels are low and work on them naturally. Maybe you need to sleep more. Maybe you’re not eating enough carbohydrates. Whatever it is, your body will thank you for noticing and making healthy changes in your lifestyle.