Tomorrow is the first day of my caffeine detoxification. I have been attempting to do this for weeks now and have had limited success, which I hope to expand upon beginning tomorrow. This past week, I managed to not have any caffeine Sunday through Tuesday, but I felt the urge to go to Wawa on Wednesday and grab me a cup of coffee, not only to boost my mood. I was tired and a bit down, and needed a pick me up and the act of doing something devious filled my heart with glee. I was literally on cloud nine as I headed to Wawa on foot, and was unable to contain my excitement. No lie, it kind of felt orgasmic. When I got there, staring at the beautiful jugs of assorted flavors of java, I grabbed a 12 oz empty cup and went for that jug which was labeled 'Regular.' Empty it was, as were the other three with the same label. Maybe that was a sign to stop while I was ahead, but I disregarded it and requested that a 'Regular' container be refilled and in one fell swoop it was replaced with a full one, and I proceeded to fill mine, covered it with a plastic top, and slipped a red straw inside and headed for the register.
The woman who replaced the empty coffee containers proudly responded that they had full containers on hand, when I expressed surprise that they were ready to go, as she said at 'this hour, we go through them so fast, so we have many pre-filled' This made me feel less guilty for my deviance. After all, everyone else was filling up to the max at this hour. Who would I be not to join in on the fun? As I stood in line, and the line was rather long, I had some time to contemplate my decision to curtail the caffeine withdrawal period. However, I figured I made it this far in filling up the cup. There was just no way I would let it go to waste. So there I was, at the register. I swiped my card, and beamed as I headed out the door and all the way back to the office. I was like a kid in a candy store on a shopping spree. Everything I could ever want was at my fingertips and I was allowed to revel in the joy of the present moment to the fullest extent, because I knew that I would soon taste the richness that I so longed for, and would be able to savor it throughout the remainder of the day.
Of course it then became pointless for me to resist the urge to consume coffee the remainder of the week, as I could not very well start abstaining again when only a few days remained until the end of the work week and the weekend was approaching. Furthermore, I just didn't feel like having the first day headaches smack dab in the middle of the week. At least if I started earlier in the week, my self control would be more intact. I figured, just a few more days and I would begin again. An unfortunate part of this story, is that I do not do well with moderation, so of course, this momentary caffeine fix led to me later purchasing a pack of mint patties and some chocolate bars and indulging in those as well as coffee the rest of the week, through today. The resultant side effects of such caffeine consumption on my part has prompted me to re-evaluate why exactly I wished to halt my caffeine intake in the first place and I now feel a renewed motivation to start this detoxification process tomorrow. Another reason I am documenting these adverse side effects is to hopefully remind myself why I need to limit my caffeine intake to the occasional treat rather than make it a regular indulgence. This is because in my case, it seems to do more harm than good. Sure it's a delight and a pick-me-up, and heightens concentration, and has health benefits, but it also has its detriments, which I will detail below. This is not to say these are side effects everyone will experience. I think I am particularly sensitive to stimulants, such as caffeine, so these side effects are simply more magnified in my case:
My list of reasons as far as why I wish to abstain from routine caffeine consumption:
1. Anxiety: This is probably the most concerning side-effect. It causes my heart to beat at what seems to be lightning speed and my thoughts to race also. Other anxiety symptoms which surface include excessive sweating, increased pulse rate, and an inability to fully wind down and relax. At times, when I have too much caffeine, it's a definite feeling of discomfort in terms of the manner in which my heart beats.
2. Restlessness: I wake up at odd hours of the night and have difficulty going back to sleep. Going along with the first point, my mind is on overdrive to the point that it is difficult to rest, period. When I eliminate caffeine, my mind is more calm overall and my mind and body feel much more at ease, thereby making it easier to sleep soundly.
3. Hair thinning: The hair at the top of my forehead area thins when I consume caffeine. My hair as a whole seems to thin, yet it is the top of my forehead where it is most prominent. This thickens as soon as I discontinue the caffeine, so I know it is the culprit.
4. Moodiness, irritability, shortened fuse anger-wise: Enough said.
5. Energy crashing: I will feel a surge of energy while consuming the caffeine, yet it all comes tumbling down within a few hours and I then feel foggy and like crap. This causes me to become unmotivated and less productive in the long run. The energy crash effect seems to be cumulative, I have noticed. For instance, four days into a regular caffeine consumption routine, I feel much more lethargic and foggy than I did the first day. Granted, this is likely also given my lack of moderation control. For instance, today I had a cup of coffee and tonight, about a half of a chocolate bar, so I have upped the caffeine, causing my energy level to become less stable.
6. Skin issues: During my withdrawal period this past week, my skin took on a more dewy appearance and looked more hydrated. When I drink coffee, I notice my skin becomes patchy and less even toned.
7. Dry mouth: My salivary glands do not function properly when I consume coffee. They dry up and my mouth becomes so noticeably parched. It also contributes to me becoming dehydrated and diminishes my desire to drink water, further exacerbating the issue.
8. Decreased appetite: The longer I get hooked on caffeine, the worse my appetite becomes. Like my energy, my appetite also becomes less regular/stable.
9. Physique: I look better when I drop the caffeine from my diet. I look more shapely, whereas caffeine makes me lose some of my curves, namely in my hips/buttocks area and breast area.
10. Clean teeth: I don't have to worry as much about acid build up and enamel erosion when I do not consume caffeinated products. My confidence in smiling subsequently increases, which is of course an added benefit.
11. Obsessiveness: When I get into the habit of drinking coffee, getting my fix becomes a primary concern rather than just a background choice. I find myself thinking about coffee often and feel like I need the fix and cannot get enough of it, whereas when I do not drink coffee, I wake up feeling refreshed and not so focused on my need for this particular pick-me-up throughout the day.