Having now got through the magic one-month barrier of no caffeine in my diet I wanted to reflect on how I feel different.
People usually associate caffeine consumption with drinking coffee. For me my caffeine addiction came in the form of Diet Coke. Caffeine is not necessarily a bad thing if drunk in moderation, in fact caffeine can have some positive effects such as a greater level of awareness and improved memory function.
For me quitting Diet Coke itself was the target with the caffeine-quitting an extra benefit. The nastiness of Diet Coke will make another blog, another day.
So what changes have I noticed in the last month?
There are three areas where I have noticed the biggest difference. The first is stress. A lot is going on in my life at any one point in time and it’s incredible easy to feel stressed. As you may have read from my About post I am an emotional eater so stress leads to eating – the vicious circle. I am not saying that I have not felt stressed at all, but the ability to keep calm in situations seems to be noticably better.
Mid afternoon I would regularly feel like I needed a ‘lift me up’. This would normally result in another can of Diet Coke and usually a chocolate bar. Of course any positive effects of both were pretty short lived taking me back to how I’d felt before having them – it’s that vicious circle again.
The other big difference is my skin. It feels softer, clearer and just more glowing. Of course I suspect that it is not the lack of caffeine in my diet that has resulted in this, instead the 2+ litres of water/squash that I am drinking each day. However if I had not stopped drinking Diet Coke then I would not be consuming this amount of water/squash that I am.
I thought that I would do a bit more research on the topic of caffeine and I have come up with some interesting information that supports what I have experienced plus a whole lot more of benefits that I had not realised.
Having caffeine 6 hours before going to bed can disrupt your sleep at some point during the night, advises the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, resulting in distur
bed sleep so that when you wake up you are tired and in need of more caffeine.
Caffeine triggers the release of adrenaline putting you into ‘fight or flight’ mode – more on edge. In addition caffeine is a vasoconstrictor which means that it narrows your blood vessels so raises your blood pressure. Removing caffeine from your diet and you’ll feel less stressed and anxious, plus your heart will not be having to work so hard.
Quitting can even out the ups and downs during the day. Many people feel grumpy before having their morning caffeine fix or feel lethargic during the day.
There’s definitely some common ground here …..
If you suffer from lots of headache’s then caffeine could be causing these. For some people caffeine can also be a migraine trigger.
Cutting out caffeine can have a positive effect on tooth decay. Fizzy drinks can affect the enamel on teeth potentially causing tooth decay, just as acidic and sweet caffeine loaded drinks can. In addition these energy drinks or fizzy drinks often have preservatives in them to enhance their shelf life in-store. Cutting these out, or minimising these in your diet, can only have a positive effect on your health.
If you are planning to reduce or cut out caffeine from your diet please be aware of the initial side effects that you may encounter so that you are prepared. Caffeine is a drug so depending on how much you consume you may suffer ‘cold-turkey’ type withdrawal effects.
If you have given up caffeine I’d love to hear what effects this may have had on you.