The good, the bad and the ugly – but not in that order.

When you talk about caffeine the majority of people think coffee but caffeine isn’t only found in coffee, it is also in some teas, chocolate and sodas such as coca cola so however you have yours these tips on kicking the caffeine habit can help.

Love it or hate it caffeine is popular, according to the FDA “ninety percent of people in the world use caffeine in one form or another. In the U.S., 80 percent of adults consume caffeine every day – the average adult has an intake of 200 mg per day, the amount in two 5-ounce cups of coffee or four sodas.”

It can also be quite pricey if you like drinking coffee – depending on where you like to purchase your particular blend. Maybe you like to make it yourself at home or if you are always on the go maybe you prefer to stop off at one of the many different coffee shops where you have little control over exactly how much caffeine you have in your cup.

As with kicking any habit, you have to have the intention and want to give it up, if you just think you should kick the habit but don’t really want to you are going to struggle from the beginning. But maybe you are just perusing websites to get an idea of why you should give it up and what you are in for if you do decide to give it up once and for all.

8 Reasons to Give Up Caffeine:

  1. Caffeine inhibits the absorption of essential minerals into the body. Magnesium, zinc and iron are not absorbed into the body in the way they should be.

  2. You have trouble sleeping. Caffeine is a stimulant so it is going to wake you up and affects you neurologically it also takes a long time to leave the body (between 4-6 hours), this is especially important to note if you like to have a soda or coffee in the late afternoon or in the evening as it could affect you by increasing the time it takes for you to fall asleep or you find it difficult to sleep through the night and wake frequently and prevent you getting into a deep sleep.

  3. You wake up in the morning and can’t get started until your first cup of coffee for the day, hey maybe you even have a can of coca cola first thing in the morning.

  4. You need caffeine throughout the day to keep you energised and give you that boost to be able to keep going. If you cannot get through your day without caffeine and reach for it regularly there is a high chance you are addicted.

  5. You feel jittery and get heart palpitations/racing heart beat. These side effects can vary depending on the amount of caffeine consumed. Not everyone is affected in the same way. For some people only one cup of coffee can cause these feelings.

  6. You find your stress levels increase if you have caffeine. If you are already stressed or anxious caffeine can heighten these feeling and make you feel even worse instead of better.

  7. Your teeth are becoming stained and your whitening sessions are becoming more frequent.

  8. You gave up trying to give it up because you suffered withdrawal symptoms.

Deciding to give up the habit is the first step but once you actually stop, as with any addiction, you will find you crave it even more. If you don’t give in to that urge you may find yourself suffering from any one of the following:

  • Headaches
  • Mood swings
  • Fatigue
  • Anxiety
  • Nausea
  • Tremors

Don’t let this deter you though, you can get past this phase and there are ways to ease those withdrawal symptoms.

8 Ways to Kick the Caffeine Habit:

  1. Don’t go cold turkey Cutting out caffeine altogether in one go sounds like a good idea but, depending on how much you consume, I suggest you wean yourself of it slowly. Going cold turkey may work if you don’t consume much caffeine to start with, then it may be easy to do but otherwise you may find yourself suffering from withdrawal symptoms as mentioned above within 12-24 hours after ceasing consumption.

  2. Find a substitute Replace caffeine with something else, if you are going to give up something it is usually easier to do if you have something else to replace it with. That way when you get a craving you can use your substitute – but be careful, make sure your substitute is a healthy alternative otherwise you are swapping one bad habit for another. If you drink coffee as a way or warming up then try alternatives such as herbal tea (check labels to make sure they don’t contain caffeine), maybe a cup of horlicks or hot chocolate could do the trick – in moderation though due to the high sugar content.

  3. Prepare for the withdrawal symptoms If you are going to suffer from withdrawal symptoms then it is better to be prepared to deal with them than risk them being so bad that you fall right of the wagon and reach for that cup of coffee or soda and be right back to where you were before.

  4. Drink more water Caffeine is a diuretic which means your body will be getting rid of fluids so make sure you drink enough water to prevent your body from being dehydrated. If you drink water when you feel thirsty you will find you are less likely to reach for the caffeine laced beverages you would normally go for. If you don’t like the way water tastes trying adding a slice of lemon to it or drink fruit juice (keep in mind that fruit juices are high in sugar so can be calorific).

  5. Sleep more One of benefits of drinking caffeine is it makes you feel more awake and energized even though your body may not actually feel that way by itself, therefore make sure you get the right amount of sleep to prevent you from feeling like you need the caffeine to function.

  6. Reduce the amount consumed You can wean yourself of caffeine slowly by gradually reducing the amount you consume. If you only drink 1 or 2 cups per day and not able to just stop then try reducing the amount of caffeine, if you drink coffee you can reduce the amount of coffee you put in your cup by mixing it with decaf, so 75% coffee and 25% decaf and then gradually change the ratios so then 50% each then 25% coffee 75% decaf until you are just drinking decaf. If sodas are your caffeine weakness then reduce the amount you drink in quantity and have a substitute drink at hand.

  7. Meditate Meditation is a great way to increase your willpower (something you need when giving up caffeine). There are many benefits to meditating some of which are improved sleep, feeling ore restful, it can help anxiousness and depression. Try it you may be surprised at how different it can make you feel.

  8. Exercise A great way of feeling more energized and having more energy is to exercise. It may sound bizarre but after exercising you will feel more energized and it will also help you sleep better and a good nights sleep will allow you to wake up with more energy and not need the caffeine to get you going.

Why caffeine can be good for you:

Caffeine isn’t great for you so to find reasons why you should drink it are hard to come by but there are occasions where it can help.

Boost of energy – If you are feeling a little lethargic and need a boost of energy to help you be alert and get you through a test, presentation or to stay up studying then it will help, but don’t use it every time you feel that way as it is easy to become addicted and the more you have the less you will feel the effects leading you to drink more and more.

Helps you burn fat – Caffeine both raises metabolism and increases the oxidation of fatty acids, this is due to its stimulant effect on the central nervous system. Caffeine also gives you an energy boost – this allows you to give that bit extra when you normally wouldn’t be able to, so you can give 100% during your workout and get the benefits of working out harder than you would have.

If you are going to drink caffeine then you need to think about the smarter way to do it, drink black coffee rather than high calorie coffee (cappuccino) or high sugar drinks, especially if your purpose is to lose fat.

Once you have kicked the caffeine habit you might want to consider moving on to kicking the sugar addiction.

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