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Quitting Caffeine

Caffeine has worked its way into our lives in many ways, into our drinks, our remedies, and sometimes our food. But it was not until this year that I realised just how serious the effects of Caffeine can be on our bodies.

In the early 1990’s on a night out I was stabbed in the head during a freak accident with a gang I had never encountered before. I spent a lot of time recovering, and a lot more time putting a variety of things down to the injuries I received. The most notable being the terrible headaches I received during rest time (my time away from work). It seemed that only when I was at my most relaxed that I would suffer from these terribly painful headaches, sometimes during my time off I would be in so much pain I could literally do nothing else other than cower in pain, or sleep to try and get rid of the pain.

What I never at any time considered was what was under my very nose. It was this year that I engaged in conversation with a work colleague who had decided to cut out caffeine from their lifestyle. The resulting effects being that he suffered from the most horrific headaches for a week after putting an end to his caffeine addiction.

What people forget is that Caffeine is essentially a drug, a drug that gets hold of your system and affects it rather like heroin, or smoking cigarettes. Because Caffeine’s effects are not so disastrous as drug addiction it is treated as harmless. Caffeine however requires regular intakes in order to avoid painful side effects.

I had never given much thought to caffeine, especially since I did not drink coffee; what I did do however was drink a lot of Coke whether it was Pepsi or Coca Cola. Although I knew that caffeine was in Coke, its after effects had no thoughts in my mind.

This year I reached a certain age, and started to question my own mortality. I had recently heard of a number of people around my age who had died well before their time. I had started to show signs of age, my weight for the first time in my life had started to increase beyond any expectations, my headaches worsened, and worse still if I lifted certain weights for a length of time I found myself feeling dizzy, and sometimes I would pass out.

For some reason the conversation of my work colleague came into my mind, and for some reason I gave thought to my Coke drinking habits. While at work I drank Coke, but at home I never did, however over the last ten years it had only been at home that I had experienced the headaches so severe. I decided to put an end to the habit I had formed over the years, ensuring that the last day I worked that week would be the last time I would drink Coke.

As usual I had the weekend headaches, and the following week the headaches became stronger and stronger as the Caffeine addiction I had created slowly lost its hold on me. On the Thursday I finally shook off the headache, just in time for another weekend. Due to headaches I had hated the thought of weekends for years. But this weekend I was headache free, and ongoing the headaches decreased, I now started to get a headache very rarely. The strange feeling of faintness I experienced when carrying heavy things disappeared, and for the first time in four years my weight began to drop again odd considering that caffeine is supposed to increase your metabolism.

I now feel better than I did ten years ago in my twenties from a health perspective. The downside is that caffeine does give you a small amount of energy and I am finding the need to go to bed earlier than before, and about the mid day point I hit a lull in my energy. But while I’m fully awake I feel great, I can now run a fair distance, something I have not been able to do for years.

If you can knock the caffeine habit I advise it whole heartedly.

Some things to consider:-

When withdrawing from caffeine the headaches you experience will be some of the worst you have encountered in your life. Make sure you have plenty of painkillers to hand, I found Ibuprofen to be the best to remedy this.

You will eat more at the start of your withdrawal, its best not to worry about this too much.

You will be more tired, not just initially but ongoing. It’s best to get a good group of vitamins to counteract this. In the UK Holland & Barrett do a range of vitamins called Busy B, which is mostly B vitamins but designed to give you slow release bursts of energy throughout the day.