How (& Why!) We Gave up Coffee
Coffee. It’s always been a big part of The DIY Playbook. In fact, in those early blog days you’d most likely find us spending our weekends together, working on the website, DIY’ing in one of our homes, and splitting a big pot of hot coffee.
But here we are, 4 years later, and we both haven’t had a cup of coffee in quite some time. What gives? Allow us each to explain.
Bridget (Before): Coffee has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember… literally. My grandpa was an all-day coffee drinker and we spent a lot of time with him and my grandma growing up. My parents actually owned a lake house with them so we lived together almost every weekend. He was the best grandpa ever and would do anything for his granddaughters, including pour them a cup of coffee when they requested. And when did we request said cup of coffee? Well, every morning we were with him of course. And not only did he let us have coffee with him each morning, he allowed us to put in as much half + half and sugar as we wanted. I bet you can imagine how many heaping scoops of sugar we would dump into our cups when mom wasn’t looking! Outside of drinking coffee with grandpa since age 6 or 7, I started drinking coffee regularly in college and my love for it has never wavered (although the amount of sugar has!). In “adulthood” I enjoy my coffee with a bit of sugar-free, flavored creamer.
Casey (Before): I started drinking coffee in my first job after graduating college. As a TV news reporter, I worked long days and would use caffeine as my fuel. Since then, my love for coffee has only grown. It’s always been a part of my morning routine. I wake up, shower, drink coffee, eat breakfast, and then head to work. Then at work I probably have 1 (or maybe even 2!) more cups.
I can’t drink coffee black, but would try to avoid putting too much crap in it. Mostly just some almond milk, or a sugar-free vanilla creamer. We have an on-site barista at my work, so my coffee habit was getting a bit out of control. I’d find myself heading to the coffee bar after lunch to get a latte while doing work in the afternoon.
When considering what to do for Lent this year, I decided to give up caffeine so I could get my coffee habit in check. I banded together with 2 other co-workers and we all decided to go cold turkey and give up caffeine completely.
Bridget (During): During the work week I would fill up a small thermos of coffee to go and bring it with me to sip on as I tackled periods 1 – 3. I loved having the warm cup of coffee to sip on as I prepared for the day and looked forward to stealing a few sips in between classes. On the weekends, Matt and I usually have a cup of coffee in bed while we watch the morning news… it’s honestly one of my favorite Sunday morning traditions.
I wasn’t over consuming coffee but I was definitely under consuming water as a result of my coffee intake. I’m not someone who drinks a lot of anything so there were many days where I would drink my morning coffee and not drink another liquid until tomorrow’s morning coffee. <— I know, SOOOO unhealthy… and actually a bit dangerous. My body grew accustomed to it so I didn’t feel dehydrated. But there were plenty of times I would get lightheaded if I stood up too quickly or would feel SO tired after the caffeine wore off. Casey drinks SO much water and she was constantly on me to change my ways and drink more liquid and she was exactly right. I had to change my ways.
Casey (During): I didn’t realize how caffeine played such a big part of my day until I gave up coffee. Holy smokes did I feel horrible those first 5 days. Without my morning cup of joe, it was hard to get up and going. And I found myself unable to concentrate at work or in morning meetings. Those first 5 days were pretty miserable. Dull headaches, sleepiness, and just an overall sense of feeling “off.” I was also incredibly hungry in the morning, despite eating the exact same breakfast. I guess I never realized how much coffee filled me up!
Luckily, things quickly improved after that. After about a week I started to feel amazing. I woke up raring to go, started sleeping better, and didn’t need any caffeine to dive into work. I was clear-headed, my energy levels were sky high all day long, and I just felt good…really good.
But I still missed my coffee. I’d see coworkers cradling their mug, sipping their hot coffee, and I wanted some…badly! I tried non-caffeinated tea, but it just didn’t cut it! For me, coffee is more than just caffeine. Coffee offers a sense of comfort and an excuse to take a break and have a yummy drink before moving on with my day. I did have a few decaf lattes during lent (which tasted delicious!), but I never had any caffeine during the 47 days! Which made me pretty darn proud!
Bridget (Now): I stopped drinking coffee last October and haven’t had a caffeinated coffee since. Like Casey mentioned, I felt HORRIBLE the first 5 days… legit awful. I never get headaches and my head was non-stop pounding for a few days. I also missed the morning routine and the sense of comfort the warm coffee brought, but wasn’t willing to start drinking it again if it meant more headaches someday.
Slowly but surely I started incorporating more water into my diet and started feeling a lot better. No more headaches, no more feelings of light-headedness, and no more afternoon crash. I still have a lot of progress to make on the water front but I’m doing SO much better and I find that I crave water more and more now!
On the weekends I still splurge and make one cup of decaf coffee so Matt and I can still carry-on with our weekend tradition but other than that, I don’t drink any coffee. And honestly I don’t have any plans on making the switch back to caffeine anytime soon. <— those headaches are enough to keep me motivated!
Casey (Now): So lent is officially over and I’m still trying to figure out what to do now. Do I think I’m going to quit caffeine or coffee for good? Probably not. Will I cut back on the amount of caffeine I consume? Absolutely! If anything, this little experiment proved to me that I can still be a hardworking gal even without that extra caffeine boost. But it also made me realize how much I was actually consuming. 3 cups a day is a bit too much for me. I think now I’ll probably stick to 1 cup at home, and save the lattes as special treat 1x per week.
So that’s been our coffee journey recently! We still LOVE coffee and are definitely not telling anyone that they should give it up, we just thought it would be fun to share since Casey (as of yesterday) survived Lent coffee-free! We would love to hear from you guys about your relationship with coffee. How much do you drink per day? Do you love it? Wish you didn’t? Ever thought about giving it up? Have you already given it up? Bring on the tips!!
I’m Casey Finn, the voice behind The DIY Playbook. I’m married to Finn & mom to Rory and Ellis. Together we’re creating our dream home in Chicago, one DIY project at a time.