Everyone’s been there. Waiting in line to buy another overpriced mocha double chocolate frapa creation that neither looks nor smells anything like coffee, you begin to feel guilty. You might wonder how all this caffeine consumption is affecting your health, pocketbook or ability to sleep at night.
Whatever your reason for choosing to give up America’s most beloved chemical, the road to freedom is a long and arduous one. What are the right first steps to make?
Make a list of everything caffeinated you eat or drink.
Popular choices include sodas, teas, coffee and chocolate. Look on ingredient lists for hidden caffeine. Take note of when and where you get a fix. If you’re always stopping by a local fast food chain to get a cup of cheap coffee on your way to work, recognize that you may crave caffeine on your way to work when you quit. Knowing this will help you resist the urge.
Choose a few items you can live without, or replace with cheaper alternatives.
The best items to choose are ones that will benefit you in more than one way. Taking expensive trips to the coffeehouse off your list will benefit both your wallet and help your cause.
Cut back gradually to avoid dreaded side effects.
Your body is a lot less likely to notice 1 less cup a day than if you suddenly went cold turkey.
Replace caffeinated items with safe alternatives.
There are many decaffeinated options for drinks so you can give up caffeine without giving up taste.
This can help any lingering emotional attachment to caffeine as well. If you’ve had coffee every morning for the past year, waking up without it will be hard at first. Try a decaffeinated version to keep your morning ritual, or replace it with a healthier one.
Get friends, family and coworkers involved.
Ask them if they want to also quit caffeine at the same time. Some might surprise you with their enthusiasm. Give them updates when it’s going well and confess when you’ve messed up, and you’ll feel more accountable for your actions.
Stick to it and keep eliminating caffeinated foods and drinks until you are caffeine free or happy with your intake. Remember it will get easier over time as your body adjusts to having less caffeine. Try to find solace in the fact that many others before you have successfully given it up and you can too.