I don’t know why I accepted this challenge or what I’m trying to prove. Imagine, me, a self-proclaimed coffee enthusiast whose travel itinerary always includes a visit to a local cafe, whose blog name clearly states the devotion she has for this brown brewed drink, has accepted a challenge that requires not consuming coffee for one full week. I know, ridiculous right? I don’t know what I was thinking either.
For context, I posted an Instagram story asking my followers for any challenge that I can complete within a week. It has something to do with my need to cure procrastination as I mentioned in my 7-Day Weight Training Challenge post. The first person who replied is my friend, Cathy (by the way, she has a new blog called, Die Kaisers on a Camper, go check it out) who said that she couldn’t think of anything that I won’t be able to do. While I’m flattered that she believes in my capability, that is not true, I can do a lot of things but I can’t do everything. Still, I prodded her to come up with something, and out of all the goddamn things in the world, this is what she thought of asking me, “Don’t drink coffee for seven days.“
If she told me this in person, I would have grabbed her hair, lol. How dare she give me this challenge that would deny me of one of my favorite pleasures in life. But she is a dear friend, and I thought the dare is simple enough that I accepted it. Turns out I had no idea what I was getting myself into.
The first day went fine. Since I couldn’t drink coffee, I had hot chocolate instead. Then I caught myself thinking, but isn’t that cheating? to which I rebutted with, it’s a no-coffee challenge, not a no-caffeine challenge, those are two different things.
The next day I changed my mind and resolved to stop consuming any products with caffeine. That means no tea, no chocolate, no soda, etc. I just thought that if I’m doing this I might as well do it right. The reason people quit coffee is because of caffeine, which is addictive. I was curious what will happen if I don’t consume any of it.
On the second day I only had water to drink. I quit cold turkey and this is when the nightmare began. Come lunch time, I starting having severe headache. This made it difficult for me to concentrate on any task that I was doing. I didn’t know how to deal with the pain but to sleep it off, which I did three times that day.
My migraine has gotten worse, I swear I could feel pulsing pain in different parts of my head. My energy was low, I could hardly focus on work, and my skin felt warm to the touch, kinda like having the flu. I took a pain reliever because I couldn’t stand the pain. Again, I slept several times that day.
The headache was not as bad as in the last two days but I still felt generally dizzy. This time, I had milk just to have something warm to drink.
The headache was gone but I had something else to worry about. I don’t know if this has anything to do with not having caffeine in my body, but today my legs felt fatigued. Not sure if that’s the correct term in English but we have a word for it in Filipino, “pangangalay.” It’s when your muscles feel weak or numb. Anyway, because of this, I couldn’t sit properly as this weird sensation went from my legs up to my hips. It was very disconcerting and even as I lay down, the feeling won’t go away.
I went to Karada thinking that a little bone alignment and massage might help.
The feeling of fatigue in my lower extremities intensified, which means the Karada session didn’t help. Also, I felt very sleepy throughout the day. This is only caffeine withdrawals yet I was feeling ill and miserable, imagine how terrible it’d be for quitting drugs. I couldn’t wait for this challenge to be over.
And the last day of my suffering has come. The weird sensation in my lower body was gone, thank god. I met up with a friend for lunch and I saw her having coffee. It was like I heard the devil swaying me to order myself a cup, but I persevered. Hun, there’s no way I’d waste all my efforts, I didn’t suffer those last few days just to give up on the last day, nuh-uh, I’m not that weak. Tomorrow I can go back to drinking my favorite drink again, I just need to hold on for one more day.
Day after challenge
Each day, I posted an update on my IG story I received messages from some people curious to know why I was doing this and how I was faring. All of them are coffee drinkers who claimed that they couldn’t go a day without it. So to them, what I was doing was simply unimaginable because as they told me, they’d never be able to give up coffee.
I was very amused at how invested they were of this challenge. I assured them that this was all for the dare and that I wouldn’t give up coffee for good unless I get a medical condition (knock on wood) that would force me to.
Anyway, I completed the challenge and I’m so glad that it’s over. I want a reward, no, I deserve a reward, so I bought a french press and coffee ground from Starbucks to make my reintroduction to the coffee a bit more dramatic. This morning, I had my first cup of coffee after seven days. The aroma alone perked me up, and the first sip had me singing praises to the Lord.
Apart from gaining the ability to sleep effortlessly, I didn’t notice any other advantage of not drinking coffee. What this challenge made me realize though is that caffeine withdrawals are real, and it doesn’t matter whether you have been taking instant coffee like me or espresso. Caffeine is caffeine, you take it regularly you become susceptible to its addictive properties.
What I can only speak of are the disadvantages of not consuming caffeine, at least while going through the withdrawal period. You will have low energy throughout the day, you’ll always feel sleepy, you may suffer physical pains like severe headaches, and may also notice a decreased ability to focus.
To be fair, I haven’t been at it long enough to experience the long-term benefits of quitting caffeine, which based on my research include better sleep quality, healthier teeth, balanced hormones for women, healthy digestion, and the only one on the list that sounded appealing to me, increased collagen synthesis (because collagen is important to fight aging you know). Maybe if I did this for a month, I’d see a notable change in my health, but one week, to be honest that’s pretty short.
However, I love my coffee, and as I mentioned before, I won’t quit unless the doctor says so. For now, I’m happy to remain a coffee person.