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Giving up caffeine can be a headache
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Want to know the hardest thing about getting healthy?

The headaches.

I was under the assumption that changing my diet would mean that I would feel better and not worse.

But something strange happens when you ingest enough caffeine on a daily basis long enough to give the average person a heart attack – your body craves it.

And the scariest thing? I wasn’t even really a coffee drinker.

While this isn’t my first foray into detoxing from the trash that I used to put into my body, it is the longest period where I’ve actually stayed committed to it. And unfortunately it means that those splitting headaches are probably here for at least a little while longer.

Here’s why.

There was a point in the not too distant past that I consumed more caffeine than was healthy for me. I’d start every morning with an energy drink or two, have two or three bottles of either Coke Zero or Diet Pepsi while working, and then cap it off with anywhere from four to six 20 oz. bottles of either Coke Zero or Diet Pepsi. And then I’d wake the next morning and do it all over again – throwing in the occasional afternoon energy drink or a glass of iced tea.

“But there are no calories in it,” I’d foolishly say to myself. “It’s like drinking water.”

Well, one thing that doesn’t happen when I don’t drink water is the splitting, middle-of-my-skull headache that has been plaguing me during the evening hours for the better part of two weeks.

The worst part? I read an article online that this can actually continue for upwards of two months based on the amount of caffeine I used to pump into my body. It’s insane to think that I’ll be this miserable during the evening hours before I go to bed – and ultimately wake up and drink my one cup of coffee to make it go away – for weeks to come.

Nixing the junk food is easy. Except for the Super Bowl and the occasional handful of Fritos, I’m not much of a snacker anymore. I foolishly used to convince myself that a bag of trail mix was perfectly fine at night because “it wasn’t fried or anything.” I’d switch to Baked Lay’s but still eat the whole bag. And fortunately I never made the jump to sugar free gummy bears or worms – I’ve read harrowing reports of what that sweetener actually does to your digestive system.

I’ve not cut most of that out of my system, and have gotten into the routine of actually eating something when I first wake up in the morning, and then eating intermittently throughout the rest of the day – small snacks here and there and sensible portions rather than feasts.

I can say that I have more energy now than I did before. I’ve only one complaint from my wife about snoring. I’m guessing it had more to do with the fact that I was sick and hadn’t worked out in a few days, which is a sign of progress.

So I’ll keep going. I’ll keep drinking water and the occasional Gatorade and I’ll keep making my soda consumption as caffeine free as possible, as intermittent as it is.

It would be far harder to cut all of this at once and honestly – when I’m miserable is when I’m more likely to just go back to the bad habits that I had to begin with.

They say that slow and steady wins the race, but right now I’m just looking forward to finishing the race – my time be damned.

Now if only I could get these headaches to go away.

Pass the Coke Zero.