You need to wean yourself off caffeine slowly in order to avoid the withdrawal headaches. Cut down your usual amount by a 1/4 of a cup every few days. It's the only way to do it without the awful headaches and fatigue.
One question that came up was why do I want/feel the need to quit. I don't like the idea of needing an external substance to regulate alertness.
Also, with the caffeine intake, I was skipping meals until lunch because I was not hungry. As the SparkPeople edict tells us, eating is a must, the coffee was not helping.
I compensated the need to drink by 'treating myself' to sparkling mineral water and orange juice (8 oz twice a day) as morning drinks, along with twelve flights of stairs when I started to feel tired at mid-day.
What has helped this weekend is that A) My husband bought the nasty Fat-Free creamer by mistake so we don't have the good stuff in the house, and B) Understanding what is happening physiologically. I read that caffeine molecules fits into the chemical receptors for adenosine, which help regulate sleep and offset the feeling other chemicals give us, as well as tell the body NOT to produce yet other chemicals that help regulate mood. Understanding WHY I am feeling a certain way, WHY I have the headache, WHY I feel congested has really helped me.
... it's like when you realize you're acting like a total jerk because it's PMS... "You'll have to forgive me... I'm experiencing a chemical imbalance at the moment." LOL
Fitness Minutes: (2,155)
6/20/14 12:52 P
Done it a number of times for various reasons, though never for reasons of losing weight or "getting healthy" as such. One time it left me with a minor atypical headache for like six weeks, which was maddening and toward the end concerning, but otherwise the bad effects seem to go away within a few days.
I find that while I really miss the boost of alertness when I'm overtired, overall I feel better when I'm not consuming a lot of caffeine; the sleepiness when the stimulant effect wears off is worse than I would have felt if I hadn't had any at all.
The general health recommendation for caffeine is no more than 400 mg daily for the healthy adult. This equals about 32 ounces or less of regular coffee.
I now keep my caffeine intake to a minimum (seems to help with the fibroids in my breasts); I use decafe. I went "cold turkey"---took about 1 week for my energy to return to a normal level without the addition of the caffeine stimulant.
Coffee isn't harmful and may even be helpful-- there's a strong link to lower incidence of pancreatic and liver cancer in coffee drinkers (which doesn't mean it prevents cancer; there hasn't been enough research to rule out the possibility that people who drink coffee also do something else that's protective.) It may also reduce your chances of type 2 diabetes, although that's an even weaker link. The possible health benefits aren't enough to say that people who don't drink it should start, but they're at least enough to be able to say you don't have to quit to be healthy. Certainly it's something that you could do later if it's problematic now.
But if you really do feel you have to quit, step one is to make sure that your "caffeine withdrawal" isn't actually dehydration. A lot of people forget that if you cut out 2 cups of coffee, you're also cutting out 2 cups of liquid. Be sure to replace that liquid with water. Even very, very slight dehydration causes headaches for some people, and it can also cause fatigue and even lapses in judgement.
When I was in graduate school, I used to give up coffee every summer to save $$$. I did it by buying a bag of decaf, and whenever there was a little empty space in my container of regular coffee, I would re-fill with the decaf and shake it up. By the time I got halfway through the decaf, I was weaned off the caffeine. (It's important to note, though, that my weight didn't change at all-- in fact, that was before I started monitoring calories, and I actually gained a little.)
Do you like cream or milk in your coffee? If so, increase the milk/cream quantity a bit more each day so the coffee volume (and caffeine) slowly reduce. You can either keep doing that until you have a glass of milk, or when you're at about half the coffee volume you currently drink, switch to something else like a morning smoothie.
I did that until I was about half coffee, and then switched to tea. I did get withdrawal headaches for two days or so, but they were not bad and not anything Advil couldn't manage. That was two months ago now, and all is well. Funny thing? I don't feel any particular difference in morning energy since swapping my morning coffee for a good breakfast.
6/19/14 10:12 P
I quit cold turkey, but this time I didn't have the headaches. I think because I was drinking a lot of water and hot tea. I drink peppermint and other mint teas. It seems to make me feel more alert.
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