Friday, April 29, 2011

Oh, the aroma! Sweet heaven. I love the smell of coffee. It brings back great childhood memories of waking up every day to the familiar and comforting scent of my father's coffee.

When Danny and I were first married in '95, we used to enjoy our morning coffee together. We had our own bean grinder and would explore different flavors. At night, we enjoyed our beer and brandy. We fell in love over Malibu rum and Bob Marley. In the morning, we'd start another day with some java.

This went on until 1999 when we both decided to stop addictive substances, particularly alcohol and coffee.

We were fortunate enough to be able to give up those items without too much trouble. We were abstinent for many, many years.

But, I became a coffee-drinker, again. It didn’t happen overnight. It began with caffeine tablets once per month to help me through PMS. Then it became ½ tsp instant coffee once per month. The coffee use joe-balled to more and more – stronger doses, more days per month, more times per day. I would stay up later, telling myself I’d make up for it with a cup of coffee in the morning. The longer my to-do lists became, the more I would drink. I had many excuses to justify my use.

I wasn’t getting the same effect as I once did. It used to make me happier, brighten my day, reduce my anxiety, ward off depression, and give me enough energy for the demands of motherhood. Towards the end, I was more tired with uneven moods. I felt I had to have it and was dependent on it. It certainly didn’t help control my appetite; if anything, it stimulated it.

I’ve been studying intuitive eating and exercising the past several months. Those things emphasize listening to the body. It dawned on me that I was not listening to my body’s cues and was instead trying to manipulate them with coffee. 

About that time, I became ill. I thought this was a perfect time to completely detox from caffeine. I felt horrible anyway, what were a few more caffeine headaches/migraines?

That was a few weeks ago, and I see and feel a huge difference now that I vowed to not drink coffee anymore. I wake easily in the morning. I fall asleep faster at night. I do get tired in the afternoon, but instead of ignoring my body’s signal for rest, I honor it and sit or lie down for 5-10 minutes with my eyes closed. I’m not groggy afterwards. To perk up (and if I have time), I take a 10-20 minute walk. Sometimes dancing around the kitchen is a good substitute. And, without the stimulating caffeine, I can also listen to my body’s true hunger cues. My next goal is to simplify my life so I don’t have a marathon of activities tempting me to bring on the brew, again.

I still love the smell and have a coffee-scented candle. Gotta say, though, it feels good to be decoffeenated.
Has anyone else given up coffee (or sodas)?


  1. I gave up caffeine many, many years ago. I figured out in college that it was keeping me up at night when I wanted to be sleeping. I like the taste of coffee, with sweetening and milk, but don't have it except every now and then when I pass a Starbucks. But in the past year I have become a decaf tea drinker and consider that to actually be a healthy habit. Lots of benefits of green tea.

  2. Not sure if I will ever, ever give up coffee completely, but I will say I have cut back to about half of what I used to drink. If I need to drink more hot stuff, I drink decaf tea.

    Good job on listening to your body - and SUPER good job on the afternoon naps!!! :)

  3. Good for you! I stopped drinking diet coke six weeks ago by recommendation of my new awesome trainer.i feel amazing and have lost five pounds.

  4. I've been letting too many diet sodas back into my days, so I've put myself on 'taper' for the next few days. I doubt I'll ever stop drinking them completely, but I want to get back to 'sporadically'. :)

    Good for you for tackling a tough task successfully!

  5. Caffeine, the only performancing-enhancing drug that's legal in professional sports. It's powerful stuff.

    Even so, it's awful to let any substance have control over you. Good for you for doing it twice! It's a real devil to give up.

    Even after being off caffeine for a year, I still crave it. I found that coffee did stiffle hunger pangs. It's more difficult to get through my afternoon slump without reaching for sugar instead. If it wasn't for doctors orders, I'd still be hooked on java.

  6. No soda for me....but coffee??? Yikes! Not sure I can go there just yet. Mose likely it would be good for me....Because I don't just drink coffee, I have to add cream...All those extra, useless calories.....

    Still not ready to give it up....

    Stay focused!

  7. I tried giving up coffee but never got to the "I-feel-so-much-better-now" stage. I drink between 2-3 cups a day and use half-n-half instead of fake creamers. This is how I've made it work into my day.

    Having said that, I'm all for being careful to get your rest and not rely on caffeine to keep you awake. I try and nap for a few minutes if I get tired and get my rest at night. Nothing replaces real sleep.

    Great job on tackling a very tough habit to break!

  8. Karen - I heard there's lots of benefits to green tea. One of my favorite teas is Apple Cinnamon Spice herbal tea. I'm not an herbal fan, but this one is great and almost makes up for my caramel macchiato.

    Jill - Giving up something you love is difficult. I didn't have a healthy relationship with it, though. Good job cutting back.

    Amy - That's wonderful!

    Cammy - I love the fizz of soda but am trying to stay away from them, too, although I never got into them much. My hubby, though, is a different story.

    Runblondie - Caffeine probably has its time and place. Who knows, there may be a time when I will use it again (driving across the country, for instance). The nice thing about staying away from it is that it will be more effective if I do need it. My fear is it snow-balling again. Great job keeping with your goal.

    Joy - I hear you about the cream! The cream, the caramel, and of course, the doughnut or cookie (Starbucks has THE best old-fashioned doughnut!). It all ads up. That was another reason I cut out the coffee.

    Leah - Have you seen the creamer "Coffee House" flavored creamers that use real cream instead of the "other" stuff? I've only seen them in one grocery store here (Walmart). (Half and Half is probably better, though, and less sugary). Yes, nothing replaces sleep. When I couldn't sleep, I'd take melatonin or sleep aids. I'd feel hung-over in the morning. Then I'd drink coffee all day, which didn't seem to kick in until it was time to sleep, again. Awful cycle.

  9. Ive moved to decaf in the morning.

    thats HUUUUGE for me :)

  10. Very good post Gina!! I have totally given up soda (and don't miss it one bit!). But your post about coffee hits home with me. I do allow myself 1 cup in the morning. I use 2 t. skim milk and 1 t. raw sugar...but through the holidays when things got a little stressful around here, I found myself making a pot of coffee every evening to 'help me relax' extra cup of coffe in the evening soon turned into 2 cups every morning and 2 cups every evening and snacking here and there (and me feeling worse and worse with lack of sleep and moody).
    I am now happy with having my one cup in the morning. I give you applause for cutting it out all together! I think for me it is the smell in the morning I love the best, never thought to get a real good coffee candle!! Might have to give that a try :)

  11. I don't drink much coffee anymore, although I admit to going in spurts. I've switched to mainly decaf green tea, and the occasional cup of black tea. Good for you on listening to your body!

  12. I could never give up coffee. Its one of my few vices.

  13. I am so late to the game! I only subscribe by email for blogs & since I can't do that for yours, I forget! Ah, good ole age! ;-)

    Congrats on taking control!

    I gave up diet soda years ago. A stressful job caused the sodas to bother my stomach - I never went back.

    As for coffee, I water it down big time so I am not giving it up any time soon. :-) I love having my coffee & we all have to have our vices, right! ;-)