I grew up drinking soda during college days, then switched to tea when I studied in the UK. The English people somehow like drinking tea, be it in the morning or in the afternoon. Probably because of the cold weather there, I picked up the habit of holding a cup of hot tea too while I was reading. When I was back here to work, Starbucks arrived and suddenly became the de facto hang out place for yuppies. It was there I started sipping coffee. Lasted for two years before I decided to quit drinking coffee. If not in Starbucks, I would buy coffee from other places too, 7 days a week without fail.
People talk about how bad the caffeine in the coffee can affect our health. I myself have also written about the high calories of coffee drinks. But, those are not my reason of quitting. It is the addictive nature that got me sit down and seriously think about getting out from the habit. Today, I rarely drink coffee. Once in a blue moon, I would say.
Here are 3 things I have done in helping to stop drinking coffee:
1) Try Green Tea
Green tea still contains caffeine, but it is actually far less, in fact, only about 10 to 20 percent of caffeine in coffee. I drank green tea by chance, introduced by a friend who have just started trying green tea for weight loss purpose that time. She gave me few and I tried it immediately. Probably the feel of nostalgia for my uni campus day was so strong that I realized having a cup of hot tea actually distract my urge to drink coffee.
No, I am not addicted to green tea or tea. It more like a transition stage for me that time before I become caffeine free. To cut off completely from coffee was almost impossible for me, but with green tea in between, the withdrawal feeling was less painful.
2) Slash My Budget
Starbucks doesn’t sell its coffee cheap. I call it as “designer coffee”. That’s why people saying it is selling lifestyle or experience like what its CEO, Howard Schultz said in his book, Pour Your Heart Into It. With comfortable sofa seats, nice music, friendly workers and free Wi-Fi access, it is not hard to understand why people flock there. So, while Starbucks sell experience, it sells addiction too so that it can get recurring sales from people like me.
For me, I looked at my expenses and decided to cut my budget. I told myself, if I were to buy coffee, I must not buy something else. Buy coffee, then no movie, no books, no magazines. This experience was painful and in few occasions, I still went ahead and got my favorite Mocha. I felt guilty. I punished myself of foregoing movie or Kara OK session with friends. So, with this approach, slowly, I have made coffee as a nice-to-have drink and no longer a daily need.
3) Sleep Enough and Take Nap
“I am tired, I need coffee. I am stressful, I need coffee. I feel sleepy, I need coffee.” Those were my lame excuses to drink coffee. In office, many colleagues were relying the same reasons to do so. Later, I realized if I slept earlier the previous night, I would not be feeling so tired in the office. Even during weekends, whenever I felt like needing a boost, instead of relying the caffeine from the coffee, I took 20 minute-nap. So, after sleeping enough, I no longer need the daily coffee addiction. So, get enough rest.
I managed to cut down 7 cups of coffee weekly to 5 cups, then eventually to a cup a week after 3 months. After that “trying period”, I am able to cut the habit easily. Of course, some people could do better than me, even without resorting to green tea like what I did. That’s my experience. If you don’t count my occasional “social coffee drink”, I am caffeine free nowadays. Getting rid of coffee from my daily life has been a positive experience for me. With better sleep at nights, my concentration has actually improved. I used to drink coffee immediately after lunch to boost the energy level, by saying no to coffee nowadays, I have a more even energy curve till evening.
Coffee is not like smoking. I will not ask you to quit drinking coffee completely, but at the same time, I don’t think you should get addicted to it, years after years, especially if you have experienced insomnia, loss of concentration, bad coffee breath, headaches or some other health issues. Every now and then, you see controversial study saying the health benefits of coffee. It seems like study contradicts each other. What many don’t realize is that those so called scientific studies are sponsored by coffee companies. The same thing happened for soda industry or even chewing gum business too.
If you ready to make a change, I hope my above experience will give you an idea what to do and expect. Good luck!
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