It’s hard to believe, but the last time I had a cup of coffee was one year ago. To be honest, my intention was never to fully give up coffee, but I’ve gone 1 year without coffee. After a work conference last summer I did a three-day juice cleanse through South Block. It was such an awesome experience and I was really surprised by how good I felt at the end of the three days.
As part of the cleanse, I did not drink coffee, and whether or not the two were connected, I was really surprised by how much natural energy I had by the end of the cleanse. As I moved into my first week post-cleanse, I decided to hold off on introducing coffee back into my diet. I had been a heavy coffee drinker since I was in college and I think I wanted to see if my newfound natural energy would continue post-cleanse. Prior to giving up coffee, I’d easily have 1-2 cups in the morning and most days I’d make 2-3 more cups of coffee during the day. Drinking coffee was something I really enjoyed, but I never realized how much coffee impacted my life, both in bad and good ways.
After a few weeks sans coffee, I was amazed by how much earlier my body naturally wanted to go to bed. For years I’ve stayed up until 11 PM or 12 AM, working on my blog, getting things done around the house, and watching TV. I figured I was just a night owl and that those late night hours were my only chance to do my own thing. What I didn’t realize was how much my coffee consumption was impacting my sleep. Obviously it’s common sense to think, “Hmm. You were drinking anywhere from 1-5 cups of coffee a day! No wonder you were staying up so late.” But to me, it had just become my lifestyle. I drank coffee like it was water, so I didn’t even think of how it could be affecting me negatively.
Although I knew this from a year of dieting, I was amazed at how much better I felt spending my calories on things other than coffee creamer. I was easily spending 400-600 calories a day on just coffee creamer, and that’s if I was measuring out my creamer. I can’t say that I’ve lost X amount of weight this year by giving up coffee, because let’s be honest, I didn’t lose any weight by giving up coffee, but I’m just happy to see that I’m no longer consuming that many calories through coffee creamer.
On the flip side, I really miss the social aspects of being a coffee drinker. It’s weird when a friend wants to meet up at Starbucks for coffee or a co-worker wants to meet over coffee. Sure, I can buy tea, and I do, but it’s just not the same as getting a nonfat caramel macchiato. I miss those days. I miss waking up and enjoying a hot cup of coffee to get the day going. I miss buying cute coffee mugs, filling them with hot coffee and sweet creamer, and sitting by myself in the morning sun. I miss going to the farmers market and getting an iced coffee before walking around the market. Yes, I can drink tea, but it’s just different. I didn’t realize how much coffee permeated my life. I mean, heck, my blog is named Coffee, Cake and Cardio. I dropped the comma a few years back because most thought it was Coffee Cake and not Coffee and Cake, so I just rolled with it. Either way, I like Coffee and Coffee Cake.
About halfway though the year I started craving coffee again, but at that point, I just wanted to see if I could give up coffee for a year. I’m glad I did and honestly, I don’t know if I’ll go back to drinking coffee. I’m sure at some point, I’ll have a cup of coffee. Goodness, especially if I have more kids. Regardless of the caffeine, I genuinely love the taste of coffee. I still consume caffeine through tea and Advocare Spark, but I definitely consume way less caffeine than I was through those 1-5 cups of coffee a day.
In the end, giving up coffee helped me learn to not be dependent on a particular food. It showed me that I do have the willpower to give something up and that positive things can come from giving up something you’re dependent on, even if it’s not a bad thing. I get much more sleep having given up coffee and I spend WAY less money. I was easily spending $75 a month on coffee and honestly, that’s on the low end. If you add up money spent on K-cups, creamer, and coffee shop runs, I’m sure I was spending $100+ monthly just on coffee.
The year went by quickly and although I miss that morning cup of joe, I’m proud of what I’ve done!