That Time I Quit Caffeine

Raise your hand if you’re addicted to caffeine. No really, almost everyone should have their hands raised right now. As of 2 months ago, I would have raised my hand too. Today, I wanted to share my story about how I ditched caffeine! I’ve had lots of questions from lots of people about how I did it, how I felt while I was was detoxing, and how I feel now. This is not a sponsored post, these are my own thoughts. I am not a doctor, and cannot tell you what to do or how to do it, but I am sharing my own personal experience.

Firstly, why did I want to get myself free of caffeine? Well, the simple answer is because I was addicted to it. Without some sort of caffeine in the morning, I would get a headache and become irritable and just feel like poo until I got some caffeine. I hated feeling like I HAD to have pop or tea. And more often than not, I would find myself reaching for pop, which not only has caffeine, but also has tons of sugar. I wanted to stop, once and for all.

Secondly, what was my end goal? My end goal was (and is) not to never ever have caffeine again, but simply to not be addicted. There will be times I want caffeine. I will want warm tea in the winters to warm me. I will want a cold pop now and then. I will have an iced tea in the summertime. I simply didn’t want to depend on the caffeine.

The game plan: SLOWLY lower my caffeine intake to zero. I had tried to stop cold turkey before, and it’s awful.  The headaches, irritability, and crappy feeling just sucks! I knew I wouldn’t last trying to quit cold turkey. I did some research and decided that caffeine pills were the way to go, for me. I found these pills and bought a pack after reading tons of reviews and talking it all over with my husband.


The pills came, and I would be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous to start! The pills I chose to taper with were 20mg caffeine pills, and the plan was a 4 week taper plan. I began with 10 pills on the first few days (200mg of caffeine, which is about the equivalent of 2 cups of coffee), and tapered down to 1 pill, before having no pills at all! The taper lasted 4 weeks. I started on February 1, and by February 26, I was down to 1 pill (20mg of caffeine) and decided to not take any, just to see how I did. I ended the 4 week taper with 3 pills left over.

I have not had caffeine now since February 26, so just shy of 1 full month of 0 caffeine. The biggest challenge for the first week was just the habit of getting caffeine in the morning. I coped with that by replacing pop and tea with sparkling water. I tried la croix and was just not satisfied, so I have been drinking sparkling water. The fizziness and hints of sweet suitably replaced the pop craving, along with the allotted caffeine pills. I am still drinking my sparkling water in the morning, but no caffeine pills!

What is my plan moving forward? To generally not need caffeine! I am going home to Hays this weekend, and plan on having a snoball, which is my very favorite. I plan to have 2 when I’m in town, and then Monday when I’m back in KC, no caffeine. 2 days of having some caffeine should not induce caffeine withdrawal headaches. I plan on having caffeine occasionally, here and there. I hope to stop drinking sparkling water every day too, to only have that occasionally, and have herbal or green tea more often, as there is no sweet or sparkle in that, and the health benefits of herbal and green teas are much more than in sparkle water, and definitely more than pop!

So there you have it! I’m off caffeine, guys! I’ll still go have coffee with you, though, I’ll just have my sparkle water with me.  🙂

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All you have to do is FLY

I’ve been running lately. But my running doesn’t look like it used to. Instead of doing a 4 miler after work like it’s no big deal, I struggle to get in 2 miles. Instead of going for a long run of 8-12 miles on the weekend, I do a run/walk ratio and barely get 6 miles. And I cry during my run because I’m not where I used to be.

Don’t get me wrong, I am beyond happy to be running again since my surgery. AND I have no knee pain! I do have some hamstring and calf pain, but it’s muscular… the ACL screw removal surgery was successful. The surgery has eliminated the nerve pain caused by the screws from my ACL surgery 10 years ago.

But I have so many frustrations with my current state of running. I’m slower than I was before surgery. I am heavier than I was before surgery. My lungs don’t breathe as well as before surgery. My legs don’t turn over as quickly. My mind is second guessing everything and is weak. The list goes on and on. I cannot stop comparing my current fitness level and current running self to my previous running self.

I was never fast, not by any  means. But I was consistent with my running. I was confident that I could go out and run 5 miles with no problems. I was proud that I could complete a half marathon. Now, I feel like all of that is gone. It’s all lost. I can’t consistently run, and if I do, my muscles are sore. I’m not confident that I can go out and even run 1 or 2 miles without having to stop for one reason or another. I’ve signed up for a half marathon in 5 weeks and I’m terrified that I won’t be able to complete it, even with tons of walking.

I know I have a lot to be proud of. Just 3 months ago I was still in physical therapy 2 times a week, running with a therapist watching me in a highly controlled environment. 4 months ago I was running on an Alter G treadmill at a percentage of my body weight. 6 months ago I was still on crutches. 7 months ago, exactly, to this date, I had a second surgery in 9 days on my knee.

I know I have come a very long way in 7 months, but I cannot stop comparing myself to where I was before surgery. Sure, my knee hurt, but I could run. I had a base built up. I had 13 half marathons under my belt.  I know I will get back to that point, but right now it seems so very far away.

Last month, I finally had the courage and support to quit drinking pop. That was a bad habit… let me tell you. I’ve not had a pop since January 31, and I’ve actually weaned myself off caffeine too. Because I wanted to feel better. I wanted to not feel the addiction, the need for it. I would be lying if I said I also quit pop to help my running. So now that I haven’t had pop in 33 days, why can’t I run any better?

I feel like I’m moving along, and then the engines have been reversed, and I’m in that limbo where I’m not really moving forward, but not going the reverse direction yet either, I’m just spinning and spinning and not getting anywhere.

I am hoping with all my heart that I’ll start moving soon, that those propellers will start making momentum and I’ll begin moving. Moving in the right direction. That quitting pop will help my running. That my legs and lungs and heart and mind will start feeling stronger, like I know they can be. That running will start to feel like it used to, aside from the knee pain. And that I will be able to go out and run 5 miles any old day of the week, like I used to. That I can lose the weight I put on by doing nothing for several months, and start to feel lighter and faster.

I have the very best support team. My husband, family, and friends are unmatched in their support and encouragement. I know I can start making more progress with them.

I’m not quitting. In fact, the opposite is quite true.  I am far from quitting, but I am having a difficult time coming to terms that my running self is not the same running self of a year ago, or two years ago. And that’s okay. Progress is progress.  I just need to convince myself of that, and allow my own progress to happen.