5 Unexpected Ways Giving Up Caffeine Changed My LIFE
Benefits of quitting caffeine timeline
Giving up caffeine changed my LIFE.
It is one of the best decisions I have ever made, as I had no idea caffeine was silently ruining the quality of my life.
How could I know? With Starbucks and Dutch Bros on nearly every street corner, and with coworkers, friends, and family all drinking coffee to start their day, the message that caffeine is the root to a lot of our problems isn’t quite there in our society.
Most people know to drink caffeine in moderation, as it can be addictive. So what’s the big deal?
A headache if you don’t get your daily dose? I recently learned it is so much more than that.
As someone who only drank one to two cups of coffee a day, I thought I was doing a good job with controlling my caffeine intake and that I was in the “harmless zone”.
However, my doctor recently shared with me one small fact about caffeine that caused me to stop drinking coffee immediately. I will explain further down.
The aftermath of quitting caffeine and what has happened to my body since then has been simply AMAZING.
I wish more people knew about the silent side effects of caffeine.
Quitting Caffeine Before And After
If you are like most adults, caffeine is part of your daily routine. Millions of people rely on caffeine to wake up and to keep going throughout the day–be it coffee, tea, soft drinks, or energy drinks. But, how much is too much?
Yet, people often drink some form of caffeine without giving it much thought because for one, it is delicious and two, it has many health benefits along with helping you focus and have energy.
But, do the benefits outweigh the risks or negative side effects? For me, the answer is no. Here’s why…
The before and after of quitting caffeine was similar to stopping birth control. If you have ever taken birth control, you probably know what I mean.
I was on the pill for nearly a decade. When I got off of it, I felt like a new person. A weight that I didn’t even know existed was lifted.
With the extra hormones leaving my body, I just simply felt better. It is hard to describe.
After I made it through the withdrawal period of no coffee, the same thing happened. I was blown away. I had no idea caffeine had the ability to affect our hormones so significantly.
The change was so unexpected because I never realized I wasn’t feeling my best until I stopped drinking coffee.
I had the epiphany that caffeine ruined my life (or the quality of it, rather) for all the years I was a coffee drinker because all of these things that I thought were just “who I am” stopped and got better once I quit coffee…
How Coffee Ruined My Life
I began drinking coffee when I started teaching. Coincidentally, I also started having to use the restroom a lot.
I just figured I had a small bladder and that I hadn’t really noticed it before my teaching career.
But, I was going so frequently that two of my middle schoolers asked me if I was pregnant.
When that happened, I thought, “Maybe there is something wrong with my bladder,” and I made an appointment with my doctor.
She then suggested I see a urologist. A few tests later, the urologist said my bladder and all pertinent organs were healthy, but that some people just have to go more than others.
The urologist said if it doesn’t bother me, then no further action is needed, and I can just live with having to go often.
Fast forward to becoming a mom several years later, and I was peeing nearly every 30 minutes to an hour, or at least feeling like I needed to go, but I would often just hold it.
The deeper into motherhood, the worse it got. Some nights I was waking five times a night to use the restroom. Most nights it was three times.
Even if I stopped my water intake by 4 pm, the problem persisted. I was exhausted and felt that I needed to double check that my bladder really was okay.
That is when I learned the little-known con of caffeine.
My new doctor (as my previous one retired) asked me if I was a coffee drinker. She said that caffeine can irritate tissue in the bladder and could very well be causing my middle of the night peeing–even though I am only drinking a couple cups a day and only in the morning.
My doctor suggested I cut the coffee first to see if that resolved the issue before going through the motions of seeing a urologist again.
That is when the lightbulb went off…I realized I started drinking just one cup a day when I began teaching (hence all the peeing then).
When I became a mom, I upped the caffeine intake to two to three cups a day (hence the middle of the night peeing).
I was so desperate for sleep that I quit coffee cold turkey.
After the withdrawal period (headaches, brain fog, exhaustion, irritability), I felt like a new woman! Here’s how…
How Giving Up Caffeine Changed My Life
1. My bladder feels BETTER.
Caffeine can irritate the bladder, creating an urge to use the restroom. Everyone’s body is truly individual and different, but mine is super sensitive to this.
I have always known that caffeine is a diuretic, but I thought that was in reference to only bowel movements…I did not realize it also meant you could pee more frequently and potentially become dehydrated.
Now that I have cut caffeine, I have the freedom to enjoy the activities I love without the interruptions and stress of feeling like I always need a restroom nearby.
My middle of the night wake ups to go to the bathroom are over!
2. I have MORE energy WITHOUT caffeine.
After the withdrawal period ended, I realized caffeine made my highs REALLY high and my lows REALLY low.
If I woke tired as a coffee drinker, I could not function until I had my cup of coffee. Now, I am just steady.
If I wake up tired today, it is NO WHERE NEAR the exhaustion I felt during my caffeinated days.
I no longer have midday crashes like I used to. My energy levels are controlled by the sleep I get, the food I eat, and the exercise I do.
It is pretty great!
Side note: If you are a busy mom like me, eating healthy can feel hard. Check out my 26 Healthy Snacks for Moms That Are Quick & Easy.
I had no idea coffee made me feel like I was on such an energy roller coaster. I was so intrigued by this that I wanted to learn how this could be…
I found out that caffeine blocks the neurotransmitter adenosine in your brain. Adenosine is what tells your brain you are tired. Caffeine blocks adenosine, but that does not mean your brain stops producing it.
So, when caffeine starts to wear off, all the extra adenosine your brain has been making rushes to your brain, making you even more tired than you were before.
3. My periods are PAIN FREE.
My breasts used to hurt SO BAD just before my period would come. The pain was intense. I also had the typical menstrual cramps.
With caffeine out of my body, my breast pain is 100% gone. My menstrual cramps are hardly noticeable now, too.
Aaaaand! My periods went from being ten days long to only six days long!
Side note: If you want to know a life changing hack on periods, check out Menstrual Cups vs. Tampons: Why I LOVE the Cup.
Caffeine intake may lead to high estrogen levels, which in turn can affect your menstrual cycle.
Caffeine is also a vasoconstrictor, meaning it narrows blood vessels. Reduced blood flow to the pelvic area can lead to more intense menstrual cramps.
The hormonal affects from caffeine can be wild!
4. My stress levels and anxiety are MUCH LOWER.
I used to think I’m just a worrier. That I just always carry anxiety with me…it’s “who I am”.
The anxious pit that rarely left my chest is GONE now that I stopped drinking coffee. There is a sense of calm within me now that feels so good.
I shared this newfound realization with my cardiologist…His response was, “It is amazing what no caffeine and proper sleep do for the body. Caffeine does not cause stress, anxiety, or sleep deprivation. But caffeine makes all of those things worse.”
I can’t believe that! I feel like coffee (and all caffeinated beverages) should have a warning label regarding these health effects.
5. I sleep so much BETTER!
Random episodes of restlessness and/or insomnia are nonexistent for me now. I used to struggle with falling asleep or staying asleep once I finally got some Zzzzz’s.
But now, all of that is gone! I quickly fall asleep and maintain a solid deep sleep all night long.
I actually wake feeling refreshed now. It is AMAZING!
I did not realize that even though I drank my coffee in the morning, it could still have an effect on me in the evening.
I know everyone’s individual tolerance and sensitivity varies, but I just always assumed caffeine can’t alter sleep if consumed so early in the day like I was doing.
Side Note: If you ever feel like there isn’t enough time to achieve adequate sleep with everything you are juggling, check out 7 Organization Tips for Moms That Saved My LIFE along with 8 Best Self-Care Tips For Moms.
All of these unexpected changes with giving up caffeine have given me the freedom to feel more in control with my body and who I am.
Knowing that I am not reliant on a beverage to help me get through the day feels so awesome. Instead, I am reliant on how I take better care of myself through sleep, exercise, and nutrition.
My overall health and mindset have improved. I know quitting caffeine is not for everyone–nor is it necessary for everyone–but I am so happy with my decision to stop drinking coffee.
Giving up caffeine changed my life for the better.
What I Drink Now to Start My Day
Water! Everyone should drink water right when they wake up before they eat or drink anything else.
Drinking water right when you wake up increases levels of alertness. After having six to eight hours of sleep with no water, your body needs hydration.
There are so many awesome benefits to drinking water first thing in the morning, from helping prevent infections, to jump-starting your metabolism, and more!
After my couple cups of water, I move onto a hot drink. I love warm beverages, even in the summer.
I drink non-caffeinated teas or heated water with lemon. Did you know there are awesome health benefits to starting your day with lemon water?
Studies show lemon water may aid in digestion, weight loss, vitamin C, antioxidants, and more!
If you are interested in cutting out coffee but are worried about missing the coffee flavor, I have heard about different natural teas tasting like coffee. I personally haven’t tried any of them, but they are worth noting.
For how much I loved my cup of coffee every morning, I am pleasantly surprised at how little I miss the coffee flavor.
What are your thoughts on caffeine? I would love to hear! Share in the comments section below.