Tuesday, 1 September 2009

Caffeine: a difficult habit to break

I consider myself to be reasonably strong willed, but over the holiday weekend I succumbed and broke my 100 day challenge by having a cup of green tea. It seems quite comical that this is a big deal – as far as I know green tea is a perfectly legal substance all over the world.

I wanted to find out how long it takes to form a habit and at the time giving up caffeine didn’t seem a particularly onerous challenge. Appearances are clearly deceptive. It seems it is going to take longer than 35 days for this little lady to form this particular habit.

My weakness was rewarded by a sleepless night, which I readily admit may or may not have been caused by the caffeine.

Yesterday was a beautiful sunny day, and strolling through a pretty and ancient market town the little voices in my head insisted that just one cup would do no harm. In fact, the little voices in my head had been reminding me of just good tea tastes, and all that I had been missing.

Many people have asked me why I was giving up caffeine – they had pointed out all the benefits, including health benefits. I had already talked myself into the idea that I would return to drinking caffeine once the 100-day challenge was over.

Clearly I was setting myself up for a fall, which was exactly what happened.

After having watched “Sink the Bismark” last night I now know that worse things happen at sea, so there is little point brooding over spilt tea. The question now is whether to quietly abandon the challenge after having gone public over my lack of willpower, or whether to start again and commit to another 100 days?

After briefly reviewing the “caffeine is a good idea” camp this morning, I remain sceptical that caffeine is a necessary component of peak performance. Clearly there are benefits, not least of which is the instant pick-me-up for sleepy-head mornings. But I’m not sure they outweigh the racing heart-beat that goes with drinking too many cuppas. I am sure those more disciplined than me drink caffeine in more moderate amounts, but I have never been known for moderation with anything.

So, it’s back on the tea-free wagon for another 100 days. Oh, the joys of being stubborn!

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