Giving up coffee is an excellent resolution, but many also find it an impossible challenge. From headaches to fatigue, giving up your cup of Joe can be overwhelming, unless you plan ahead. This year, conquer your resolution with ease by following these 5 simple steps to give up coffee.
Why is giving up coffee such a popular request? Sleep, for one, is something that comes more easily to those who resist a daily surge of caffeine. Not to mention, a more stable energy state, one without the coffee-induced highs and lows that keep your addiction ever present. A coffee-free bloodstream leads to a more relaxed, less acidic, better-rested body. In short, giving up coffee is a healthy thing to do, and that’s why it’s such a common resolution.
But, quitting your coffee habit cold turkey can come with some irritating side effects. If you want to make a smooth transition to a coffee-free or reduced coffee existence, follow these five tips.
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First, take a minute to research your goal. Why? Because depending on your age, gender, weight, and state of health, your daily caffeine and coffee guidelines may vary. What may be a healthy amount of coffee for a 20-year-old female marathon runner will likely be different than for a 70-year-old female on bed rest. Do your research to determine a realistic and healthy goal for yourself, one based on facts.
Another topic to research is decaffeinated coffee. Although it is lower in caffeine than the original, the chemicals used to extract that caffeine can be quite harmful to your health. You should have an informed decision about whether you plan to quit coffee or switch to decaf, as it may not be beneficial in the way you thought.
Once you have researched your goal to give up coffee or reduce it to a healthy amount based on the factors listed above, you are ready to dive into the process.
Using the taper method to give up coffee is one of the most successful. Rather than quitting cold turkey–inducing nausea, fatigue, and headaches–reduce your coffee intake slowly over time to avoid unwanted side effects. Tapering allows your body to gradually get used to the decreased amount of caffeine.
If, for example, you typically drink 5 cups of coffee per day, taper by alternating 5 cups per day with 4 cups per day for the first week. This small reduction will be barely detected by your body but will begin your path to success. Follow that week with only 4 cups of coffee every day for a week, and so on.
If at any point you feel like you’ve tapered too quickly, add a little bit of coffee back in, wait a bit, and try again to taper.
Another method for giving up coffee is substitution. There are two main coffee substitutes from which to choose: tea and caffeine supplements.
Tea is a very healthy alternative to coffee, offering antioxidants and other health benefits along with reduced (regular tea) or no caffeine (herbal tea). In particular, green tea has been associated with weight loss, lowered cholesterol, and cancer-fighting benefits. When it comes to replacing a cup of coffee, tea is the best substitute.
However, if you are not interested in tea, consider taking a caffeine supplement as a substitute for coffee. Of course, this method is not really meant for long-term use, rather, it should be paired with the taper method. You can figure out about how much caffeine you consume through coffee on a daily basis and take that as a caffeine pill instead. Over time, taper the amount of caffeine you are supplementing.
But, when you’re in the throes of needing a coffee-fix, a good distraction can work wonders to help you resist picking up the coffee habit again.
Healthy distractions from coffee include going for a brisk walk, stretching, eating a snack, or any other form of exercise. These distractions are effective because they increase your energy level, as coffee would, only naturally. Sometimes you just need to keep your mind busy, try starting a new hobby or a side business.
Once you’ve tried all of these tips, remember to repeat. It takes time to break a habit, especially an addictive one like coffee. You will have to repeat these tips until your body becomes accustomed to your new coffee-free life. You may even have ups and downs when you drink more or less coffee before you are able to kick the habit altogether.
Giving up coffee is an achievable resolution as long as you are realistic, have a plan, and are patient with the process. Drinking coffee is both a habit and a physical addiction, so it will take effort. But the benefits of better sleep and stable energy are certainly worth that effort.
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