This year, I pledged to give up something every single month. January was social media (man, was that eye-opening). February brought a new challenge. I gave up coffee and soda for the entire month. So, how did it go? Am I now super human, one with the universe? Or did I crash and burn, ending up in an alley behind Starbucks begging for that sweet, sweet dark drink? As with most things, the truth is somewhere in the middle.
Why I Put Myself Through This
Even before this challenge, I didn’t drink a great deal of soda or coffee and have been that way for most of my adulthood. I was still consuming more than I wanted to have, drinking soda about once or twice a week and about 6-7 cups of coffee a week (usually two at a time, not on every single day). Because of my hypothyroidism, I’ve always been mindful of my caffeine consumption. Some researchers think people with my type of thyroid disease shouldn’t have any caffeine at all, but I wasn’t ready to give up my daily green tea (still not ready for that).
On February 1st, I said goodbye to those addicting drinks. I didn’t cheat once. I may have longingly sniffed my husband’s cup of coffee a few times, but otherwise, I passed with flying colors! So, what were my results?
Did I Gain Superpowers?
I didn’t expect this, but I actually missed coffee. Giving up soda was no problem at all, but I craved coffee. I stumbled upon an episode of NPR’s “Fresh Air” podcast that talked about one man’s quest to give up caffeine. (Fast forward to 32:06 if you only want that part of the episode.) His observation was that, even though caffeine is addictive, it may be one of the most harmless addictions that humans have. We all may not have to feel so bad for that morning java boost.
As I type this, I find my craving for coffee getting stronger. Even if wanting it is “harmless”, I don’t like the idea of anything holding that kind of sway over me. That’s part of the reason I gave up both coffee and soda in the first place. However, I may have been doing it for no real reason – I didn’t notice any major changes to my body or brain that I could detect. It’s certainly possible that, had I done it for longer, or if I’d gone so far as to give up caffeinated tea, too, I might have noticed changes. But I still felt like regular, ol’ me.
I’ve decided to start by just having coffee once a week. So far, so good. I still haven’t had any soda and haven’t really missed it all that much, so I plan to keep that up as long as I can. But I feel a bit better about liking and craving coffee. I’m just human. A really, tired, overworked human. If I get to a point where I think my usage is out of control, I can always try giving up coffee and soda for another month. For now, I think I’m okay where I am. Wistfully staring at Starbucks.