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Whatever the reason, if you’re reading this you probably want to give up caffeine once and for all. According to Mayo Clinic, too much caffeine can cause an upset stomach, sleeplessness, and restlessness, all of which can be detrimental to your health.
Whether you’re addicted to coffee, energy drinks, energy shots, or other energy supplements that contain caffeine, you should make a change. Here are a few handy tips on how to stop drinking soda, coffee, and energy drinks — for good!
If you’re cutting out your daily dose of caffeine, treat yourself to a healthy smoothie instead! Check out our smoothie guide — just avoid adding any caffeinated ingredients and stick to healthy fruits, veggies, and protein powder.
Assess your reasons for quitting
In order to quit using a powerful central nervous stimulant like caffeine, you need to understand why you want to quit. Some common reasons for quitting caffeine include hypertension, tooth decay, anxiety, dependence, disrupted sleep, dehydration, or financial costs. Write the reasons down on a piece of paper and keep it displayed somewhere as a reminder of why you want to quit.
Believe in yourself
In order to overcome an addiction to caffeine, you have to believe you’re going to quit. Have faith in your efforts, but never forget that quitting will not be simple. This will help to keep your goals obtainable and keep you grounded and focused.
This change won’t come without consequence, as you’ll most likely suffer from caffeine withdrawals that may include fatigue, depression, headaches, irritability, and anxiety. Doctor Oz offers a free, printable caffeine journal that reminds you to reflect on just how far you’ve come each day by analyzing your daily moods, caffeine intake, focus level, and more.
It’s easy to become disheartened and give up, especially when you’re battling those awful withdrawal symptoms. West Virginia University recommends the following activities to help yourself stay motivated:
- Stay positive: Turn up the volume on your favorite song and dance like nobody’s watching, open the curtains and catch some sunlight, or go for a walk outside.
- Turn to friends: Use the buddy system to help each other stay motivated. This also gives you an opportunity to talk to your friend about why you’re giving up caffeine, what you hope to gain from it, and how you feel right now. Your buddy will help hold you accountable and provide encouragement.
- Visualize your life with no caffeine: Imagine how great you’ll feel without caffeine. Some of the benefits of quitting caffeine include better sleep, lower blood pressure, decreased anxiety, and more money in your pocketbook.
- Fuel yourself in other ways: Eat healthy, regular meals, stay hydrated, and get plenty of sleep. These sources of energy are far better than the sugar rush — and subsequent sugar crash — you typically get from caffeinated beverages.
- Reward yourself: Just because you’re cutting out caffeine doesn’t mean you can’t have other treats. When you hit a milestone, such as going two weeks without caffeine, treat yourself to a night out, that pair of shoes you’ve been eyeing up, or even just a relaxing weekend afternoon. You deserve it!
There’s always been wide debate about whether or not you should quit caffeine cold turkey or wean yourself off. The general consensus is that weaning yourself off of caffeine slowly is the best approach.
Some ways to wean yourself off of caffeine include reducing your coffee cup size, brewing weaker coffee, and cutting your energy drink consumption in half. Adjust your caffeine consumption once a week until you’re no longer drinking caffeinated beverages.
There’s a way to get the energy boosting benefits of caffeine without the side effects by incorporating exercise into your routine. According to Mayo Clinic, “Exercise and physical activity deliver oxygen and nutrients to your tissues and help your cardiovascular system work more efficiently. And when your heart and lungs work more efficiently, you have more energy to go about your daily chores.” Not only will exercise give you more energy, it will also help you sleep better at night.
Replace your drink of choice
Even a decaf coffee can serve as a replacement if you normally drink caffeinated coffee or soda. Yes, it still has caffeine, but about 75 milligrams less than a regular cup of coffee. This makes it a great way to wean yourself off of your caffeine addiction.
If you crave a hot drink, try herbal tea or hot water. Health.com recommends skipping the lemon, though, since it can aggravate your acid reflux thanks to its high acidity.
Cure withdrawal headaches with Tylenol
One of the most common problems you might face when quitting caffeine is a nasty headache. Don’t be afraid to take a Tylenol to ease your pain, but avoid aspirin and ibuprofen as these can irritate your stomach.
With motivation, determination, and maybe a little Tylenol now and then, you can cut back and eventually kick your caffeine habit. The road may be tough, but the rewards are well worth it!
Are you currently cutting caffeine out of your diet or have you already quit drinking soda and coffee? Share your experience, tips, and what keeps you motivated with us in the comments below!