One Week Without Coffee (5.5 to go…)

Last Tuesday night, hours before Ash Wednesday, I made the (possibly crazy) decision to give up coffee for Lent. There was no “last cup” to savor and no time to mentally prepare. I’m not sure if it being a last minute decision help or hurt the situation, but once I made it through day one I was committed. 


Over the past few months I found my coffee intake creeping higher and higher. Sometimes on the weekends I would have up to four cups, usually on weekdays I had two. I started cutting back to a max of two per day, and sometimes switched out my second cup for decaf. I didn’t notice any effects from making those changes, so I felt like I could manage giving it up altogether for 40 days. I thought I would share how this process has gone so far. 

coffee and wine

I knew the hardest part of giving up coffee would be my morning routine. If you have read any of my WIAW posts, you’ll know I always drink coffee right away when I wake up and read blogs. Then I do my workout, and usually have my second cup of coffee when I get to work. These times of day would be challenging because it’s a routine that I am used to. So on Wednesday, rather than reading blogs without coffee, I did my workout right away and then ate breakfast while reading.  

I felt ok throughout the morning, and didn’t really notice (physically) that I didn’t have caffeine. I drank a ton of water during the first few hours of work. I guess during the time when I am drinking coffee I’m not really drinking any water!

water bottle

Around 1pm I started to get a terrible headache. It lasted the rest of the day, pretty much until I went to bed. I was really surprised even though I have heard this happens when caffeine is cut out abruptly! I guess I didn’t realize it would happen just going from 1-2 cups per day to nothing.

After dealing with such a terrible headache I thought about how I was going to handle this process and remembered that I could still have caffeine. I didn’t want my intake to be as high as it is when I drink 2 cups of coffee a day, but I figured tea would be a good middle ground. So on Tuesday morning I bought a cup of tea on my way to work. Later that day I bought a box of green tea and a box of regular tea so I could make my own at home and not spend $1.65 on a single cup. 

Since then, I have been drinking about two cups of tea per day. (One cup of regular black tea in the morning and one cup of decaf green tea later in the day.) I haven’t had any more headaches! 


I think the toughest time for me was the weekend mornings, when I would usually enjoy a few leisurely cups of coffee (and I’m really not in the mood for tea when I first wake up). I also smell Rob’s coffee all morning long which makes me miss it even more. 

I really think that coffee is one of the hardest things I could have chosen to give up. Even wine would be easier, because I only drink it a couple days a week, sometimes even less than that. Coffee is also tied to so much more than just the taste and the caffeinating effects. I associate it with quiet mornings (my favorite time of day), special treats (like a trip to Starbucks) and relaxing weekends. But that’s the point of giving something up for Lent: making a sacrifice. I was reading an article about choosing something to give up for Lent, and found this:
Once you’ve chosen what you’d like to give up, consider the following questions:

  • Is this something I like?
  • Is this something I enjoy doing/eating?
  • Is this something that’s important to me?
  • Do I think this will be a challenge throughout Lent?
  • Will I appreciate this when I can have/do it again on Easter?
  • Am I giving this up because I have to (someone is making me), or because I want to?
  • Is this a true sacrifice?
    • If you answered yes to all of these questions, you’ve chosen an excellent Lenten sacrifice.

I definitely answered YES to all of those things! Some other things I have given up other the years are soda (back when I used to drink it), dessert, red wine, Starbucks, and Facebook

If you are a coffee drinker, have you ever stopped drinking it? How did it go?

Have you ever given up something important to you (either for Lent or any other reason)?

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46 thoughts on “One Week Without Coffee (5.5 to go…)

  1. I think that this will be an interesting experiment for you …

    I gave up soda just about 16 months ago – I initially said I was stopping drinking soda for a month in late 2014, because I was drinking at least 1 – 1.5 24oz Diet Mountain Dew bottles per day. So I stopped. And since then I haven’t had soda. And I simply changed to water, and stay more hydrated and have less acid in my system.

    With regards to coffee – I had bought my Lisa an induction tea kettle for Christmas in 2014 and we use that all the time, and have greatly increased our tea consumption – almost exclusively non-caffeinated herbal teas. I love the hot beverage in winter, and it keeps my coffee consumption lower. For me coffee is one cup with breakfast, and fill a travel mug for the whole morning. No desire to give it up … or wine for that matter 🙂

    Good luck!
    Michael Anderson recently posted…30 Days of Gratitude RevisitedMy Profile

    • I’m not sure when I stopped drinking soda, but it was kind of a gradual process that started maybe 5 years ago or so. And now I don’t even like it anymore, so it’s not something I miss.
      I think it would be good if I could get more into tea during this process (which I really like, I just always chose coffee over tea) and just drink less caffeine overall! I do plan to continue drinking coffee once Lent is over, hopefully just in more moderation.

  2. Coffee keeps me so regular I just can’t see myself ever giving it up! I gave up fake sugar one summer and it really helped me to stop drinking diet soda on the reg. I will drink it now and then but we don’t keep it in the house. If it’s in the house I can’t control myself and will just drink it all day long.
    Megan @ Meg Go Run recently posted…I signed up for a race!My Profile

  3. I was intrigued by your title. I don’t think I could never go without drinking my coffee in the mornings. I was going to stay over at my sister’s this wk bc her husband is away but I told her no bc neither one of them drink coffee and therefore no coffeemaker. So what did Rob give up? How dare he drink coffee in front of you. I wouldn’t be able to resist. Especially when I smell the coffee in the morning. recently posted…New for 2016……My Profile

  4. That’s so impressive and strong of you! You can do it! Will you drink some on Sundays, since those aren’t fast days? I did a bit of an Advent fast from chocolate this Christmas and then ate so much chocolate on Christmas day.
    For Lent I decided to go with only purchasing fair trade coffee (both brewed at home and purchased out) and chocolate because it forced me to give up my fixation on budgeting and think about how my choices impact the poor.
    Laura @ This Runner’s Recipes recently posted…Rainy Runs Survival Guide: 5 {More} Tips from a Seattle RunnerMy Profile

  5. I agree, I definitely think giving up coffee would be much harder than giving up wine. Like you, I associate coffee with a morning routine and I treasure my weekend treats to our local coffee shop and Starbucks. Good for you for sticking with it!
    Jen B. recently posted…Thoughts On Making A MurdererMy Profile

  6. I pretty much gave up drinking caffeine about 2 years ago just because of a lifelong struggle with insomnia. I’d already stopped drinking soda for about a year prior to that, but just as with soda, I simply stopped. Quitting caffeine after even 12pm didn’t help, so I thought it was the only way. There was no “giving up” thought process and it didn’t feel too difficult since caffeine always stopped me from sleeping, but didn’t really “wake me up”. I do however still drink a lot of decaf coffee and tea, and if (1) it’s before 9am and (2) I had a poor night’s sleep, I’ll have one cup of caffeinated coffee. Now that I work full time that happens maybe once a week.

  7. You’re tough! Giving up stuff is so hard. When my dad had cancer I gave up cooked food for 30 days. I ate 100% raw. I’ve also purposely given up running for 30 days, NOT because of injury but because I wanted to make sure I wasn’t using running as an unhealthy dependency. I’ve given up coffee for two pregnancies (my third and fourth I drank one cup a day). I think that’s about it?!
    Suzy recently posted…Woozy Wednesday: The Art of LayingMy Profile

  8. I only became a regular (excessive?) coffee drinker after having my third child, and even still I remember the withdrawal headaches when going off of it when pregnant so it’s definitely a real thing. The only other time I went off caffeine was completely by accident when I bought herbal coffee and had no idea it didn’t have caffeine! I’m not smart! Adam and I had headaches and felt tired for 3 days and thought we were sick before I made the connection with the herbal coffee. I wonder if you’ll jump right back in after lent or be over it?
    Michele @ paleorunningmomma recently posted…WIAW When I Didn’t Leave My HouseMy Profile

  9. Wow, I applaud you. I think about giving up coffee but then make excuses for how it won’t work for me. Like you, first thing in the am, before a run, I enjoy my coffee. And we just got an espresso maker so I don’t think it will happen anytime soon. But good for you! I look forward to reading more about it. Hopefully the headaches are gone now.
    Sarah @ BucketListTummy recently posted…Creamy Stuffed Peppers with Farro, Mushrooms + Asparagus (+WIAW)My Profile

  10. I do not consider my coffee habit problematic, I LOVE the taste of lattes and mochas but I usually stick to decaf. In fact sometimes I drink so much tea that I think tea might be becoming a caffeine problem. This is especially true during my current hiatus from alcohol. I always head straight for tea in the evenings.

    Speaking of my hiatus from alcohol, i think it’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done. But man I feel so much better day-to-day. Including during workouts. I feel kind of invincible. Might be in my head, but whatever works.

    I used to have a mad diet soda “addiction” but somehow, as I focused on being healthier that just went away, wasn’t too painful. I started drinking those low-sugar (but real sugar) adult sodas. And sometimes I just mix sparkling water with a little 100% juice. I think that’s how giving up bad habits should be. You should get to a point in life where you want to give them up, then it’s easy. Forcing yourself to do things you’re not ready for is not as easy.
    lucky13 recently posted…Valentines 10KMy Profile

    • I agree! It was easy for me to stop drinking soda because I realized I didn’t like it that much and I had read about how it’s not good for you. I stopped drinking alcohol for 30 days last year when I did the Whole30, and it wasn’t too bad but I definitely didn’t feel like I wanted or needed to cut it out for good. I think there are some things that are just not worth whatever negative effects they may bring, but usually I just try to enjoy things in moderation and that works out pretty well.

  11. I brew a pitcher of iced tea for the week and take my thermos to work. I drink tea in the mornings and then fill the thermos with water during the afternoon. I’ve never liked coffee, and brewing tea each weekend for the week saves me trips to Starbucks.
    Lesley recently posted…My Blog Hop PostMy Profile

  12. I totally feel you on the no coffee front! Whilst I didn’t give it up for lent, I’ve had to stop drinking it after a recommendation from my acupuncturist and the first week was so hard, haha! After being on vacation and drinking at least a coffee a day I felt like my day was missing something (and it was!).

    Now I’ve just replaced coffee with delicious teas (my tea collection is even more insane than before) and hot chocolates/cocoa!
    Kristy @ Southern In Law recently posted…Banish Boring Dinners! The SIL Dinner ChallengeMy Profile

  13. What perfect timing for me. I stopped drinking coffee on Monday. It wasn’t even planned… I just didn’t want it that morning and I haven’t had any since. So that’s been strange…but I think I’m going to keep it going. I’ve thought about giving up coffee many times, but it has never gone much past the thought, as – like you – coffee for me is more about my morning routine (which is my favorite part of the day – tea so does not do the same thing in the morning). Its often more about the idea of the cup, rather than the actual energy boost (most of the time). So I know if I really really wanted to give it up, I could. But do I want to is the question. I commend your dedication!! And I love that the tea made your headaches go away.
    Cora recently posted…WIAW: All good.My Profile

    • I can definitely relate to what you described! And that’s what I have been thinking about for when Lent is over…I don’t want to get back into the same coffee habits. I’m hoping it can become more of a “treat”, or maybe just stick to decaf since I know I don’t really need the caffeine. Good luck if you do decide to stop drinking coffee!

  14. I took a week long break from coffee last year and drank SO MUCH TEA. I already drink a lot of hot tea but I took it to the max during that week. Since I had so much tea I never had a caffeine headache or anything, but I missed the smell of coffee. I associate that smell with comfort in the morning and I missed it a lot!

    Hopefully each day gets a little bit easier without coffee!
    Kristina recently posted…Squats, Planks & a FartlekMy Profile

  15. I’m trying to cut way back (maybe even give up) on coffee too. I agree that the ritual is the hardest part! I actually just bought some dandy blend from Amazon that’s really been helping me to replace the coffee.
    I’m glad you’ve found a way to combat the headaches!

  16. I’ve never developed a coffee habit – I mean I’ve tasted it but it just isn’t for me (or any other hot beverages really – they just don’t sit right in my stomach). I am also a severely lapsed Catholic so no Lent stuff either – although my Mom always gives us chocolate for Lent which I don’t think I could ever do. That said, drinking coffee in moderation has a ton of health benefits and I even enjoy the smell of my husband’s fresh coffee in the morning as long as I don’t have to taste it!

  17. Great job!!! I gave up coffee years and years ago, because I only liked the “bad” kind…you know, a white chocolate mocha with peppermint, LOL!!! I have since switched to tea, or sugar free Monsters (I know, terrible).
    Michelle recently posted…Saving Valentines DayMy Profile

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