6 Months without Coffee

Today marks the day that I’ve been off the coffee for 6 months and I thought it might be a good time to talk a bit about it. I’ll tell why I quit and what that brought me both in work, private life and endurance sports.

I’ve been speaking to a number of people recently about the pros and cons of coffee and have come to the conclusion that at this stage of my life it just isn’t wise to make coffee a part of my diet.

The main perceived benefit of drinking coffee are that it kickstarts you in the morning and keeps you more sharp during the day.

Well, let me tell you – that just isn’t so. There is contradicting scientific evidence – at best – that supports those claims. You might as well be chewing bubble gum – it’s all in your mind.

That dawned on me, as I kept experiencing caffeine-interrupted sleep, digestion issues, and elevated heart rate and blood pressure. These things impact all other areas of how I function as a human being and how I perform in those areas.

I listen to a podcast and read a blog by coach Brett and he’s spoken from time to time about his love/hate relationship with caffeine, and how it took a bit of experimenting on his part to find out about the impact coffee has on him specifically.

And so I decided to see what it would be like to not drink coffee.

After the first few weeks of headaches from not getting my coffee shot I started to see improvements.

  • improved nutrition and digestion, especially since the time where I used to drink coffee now has been replaced by drinking less negatively impactful drinks;
  • improved well-being: I just wake up and Go! No coffee needed to kickstart this engine;
  • improved sleep…
  • …which leads to improved sharpness during the day, so I don’t need the perceived benefits of coffee, and don’t need to go for one more cup;
  • no jittery feeling of having slightly increased heart rate or blood pressure after the 5th cup of coffee and too much caffeine.

Also shortly after I quit coffee I dropped 5 kilo’s to arrive at my early-twenties weight, but much fitter than then. I can’t explain why that should be attributed to coffee as the calory count for even several cups of coffee is limited. Still, it strikes me as odd, that it happened at the same time.

The whole experience made me feel more healthy and reinforced my motivation to be consistent about my training. The thought was along the lines of: “I’m doing something which is good for my body and it feels good. Let’s give it some more”.

Now and then I will have to turn an invitation to drink a cup of coffee down and get a glass of water or whatever else is available.

You might be thinking “why didn’t he just scale back”, but that would have never worked. One cup a day would have become a two-cups-just-today-exception, which would quickly become the new limit. That would soon move up to three, four, and five cups a day at least putting me right back where I started. 0 is easy to measure. There’s no “how many cups DID I have today, OK I can have one”. It’ just “none”, which works great for me.

Only problem I have now is what to change inmy diet next…