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I adore coffee. I pride myself in sipping on a smooth, rich flat white, I revel in my self-proclaimed coffee snobbery, and I fully admit that without a steaming cup of java in my hand, I feel incomplete.
Yet, this week, when I fell ill, I decided to stop drinking coffee. And I couldn't believe how much my life changed.
I've always wondered why, when eating on an extremely clean diet, drinking loads of water, exercising regularly and getting lots of sleep, I still felt like crap. Why was everyone else cleaning up their diets and professing to feeling on top of the world?
All I could hear was people saying, 'Oh, I can't believe how different I feel after only a few days without sugar/processed food/etc' when I was falling asleep in the corner, feeling rubbish. Get out the violins!
I began to think maybe I was pushing myself too hard? Maybe it was the stress of work and life catching up with me? Maybe it was my thyroid? Maybe I was being inadvertently glutened?
But it wasn't until I stopped drinking coffee (because I could not face putting anything in my stomach due to a horrid sickness bug) that I realised - holy crap - the thing I loved the most was not loving me back!
Because now I have not had coffee for a whole week, I feel amazing. I bounce out of bed, I never hit that 3pm slump, my headaches have gone, my skin has cleared up immeasurably. I just feel like I felt I should feel after cleaning up my diet. It was amazing.
Why give it up?
For many months my boyfriend/personal trainer Steve has been trying to get me to give up coffee. Obviously I did not listen to him - he is my boyfriend, why would I!?(Sorry Steve!)
With my overactive thyroid problems, coffee is only going to make that worse. Caffeine effectively makes everything work harder and makes you release more cortisol - the stress hormone.
When trying to lose body fat, cortisol is the enemy. Considering the stress my body is already under with coeliac and hyperthyroidism, the last thing I want to do is aggravate it more when I had my first fitness photoshoot in less than seven weeks!
Testing the theory
Today, I decided to put my theory to the test. Surely the coffee couldn't be hurting me that much? Maybe I was just drinking too much with my two strong cups a day...
So I tried it. I had a coffee. And guess what? I felt instantly awful. I didn't event enjoy the taste that much (though it was only a cheapo from McDonald's.)
Within half an hour of drinking it I had the following issues:
- Hot flushes
- Feeling stressed
- Sickly and uneasy feeling in my stomach
For the rest of the day I had a headache and even now at 10pm (I drank it at about 11am) after training I am still not feeling fantastic.
So what's the verdict?
I still love coffee, don't get me wrong. I still enjoy the dark, inviting smells and tastes of a proper espresso coffee.
However, this has made me realise that, at least for the duration of my photoshoot prep (more on that later), coffee has got to go.
The odd [decaf] Americano might still rear it's head, but without caffeine I feel like I've got my buzz back.
Do you experience similar problems with coffee? Have you cut caffeine from your diet and felt a lot better? I'd love to hear from you! Please comment below and share your experience too 🙂