week sixteen in 'wake up'

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That was my first thought when I read week sixteen’s challenge of ‘wake up’. Chris was asking us to stop drinking caffeine, alcohol and having refined sugar for four days.


About a year ago I gave up drinking about ten cups of coffee a day and cut down to just one strong coffee in the morning and felt great for doing so. The thing is I love my one cup in the morning, it’s almost a ritual and this challenge was taking that away from me – my one and only cup –D’oh!


I love my smoky Chinese tea throughout the day but because it does contain some caffeine I decided to put a stop to it for four days. I was starting to think Detox must be Latin for “Torturing One’s self!”


I love cask ale, it’s rich in vitamin B don’t you know, ahem. I love all the different hues, aroma’s and tastes, such a variety. I tend to only drink on a Tuesday night or Wednesday because I don’t drink the day before work except on the odd occasion. If I’ve worked especially hard and I’ve got a thirst I’ll have a couple but no more. The Detox challenge was stopping me from having the odd beer if I fancied one after a hard shift and the only thing I could think was – D’oh!


I don’t take sugar in my tea or coffee because I think it ruins the taste so I wasn’t initially too bothered about cutting out sugar for the next four days. My first thought was I only have sugar on the odd bowl of porridge. But then I realised I wouldn’t be able to have any chocolate. It was funny how I saw sugar separate from chocolate when clearly they are related. The thought of no Cadbury’s Starbar, Fry’s Turkish Delight or Riesen (surely Germany’s greatest confectionery) was as just as much of a shock as no coffee. Double D’oh!!

Detox was going to be a challenge but I didn’t sign up for ‘wake up’ in a half-arsed way, it was all or nothing and besides it was only for four days. This is what I found…


I spent most of the morning thinking about what I could and couldn’t have and although I finished my cup of coffee before I read the Detox challenge I was already thinking about coffee cold turkey. I wouldn’t be having another one until after Tuesday morning. Tuesday morning seemed a long way away. On my break I was thirsty for a cup of tea but managed to just about not go to the cupboard and sniff a teabag! In the evening I felt tired but didn’t know if this was coincidental or not. When I finished work I popped over to the late-shop for milk and then realised I had a sweet tooth – I was desperate to have some chocolate. It killed me buying a chocolate bar for Sarah and not being able to buy one for myself – D’oh!


I burst out laughing when the first thing I did was to fill up the kettle for a coffee. How robotic. I stopped and realised what I was doing, laughed and shook my head. I sat around unsure what to do with myself with no coffee ritual and felt tired and then I had a huge yawn. For the rest of the day I felt tired and was desperate for a tea in the afternoon. After my dinner I wanted some chocolate but knew I couldn’t crack on the second day. By the end of the night I realised I must have an addiction to caffeine and chocolate (I genuinely didn’t think I had one). My beer pangs weren’t bad at all. As I’ve said I only really drink on a Tuesday night or on a Wednesday. I was tired though – was it coincidental?


I woke up early and I was desperate for a coffee but didn’t crack. My throat was crying out for one. In my head I was counting down the days. I was starting to have deep contemplation about my need for coffee in the morning and I kept on coming back with the answer; yes I bloody do – give me a coffee! The rest of the day I had the odd pang for chocolate and felt tired. I felt so tired that I even give the Sunday evening gym session a miss. Later on we took Bobby for a walk and by the time we got back I was desperate for a hot drink, I was fed up not having a hot drink inside me. Then I spotted it, hidden at the back of the cupboard; a half-full box of Pukka ‘detox’ teabags – caffeine free – HURRAY! No more D’oh! It might well have been a “clean fusion of organic aniseed, fennel & cardamom” but it tasted great!


In the morning I had another cup of detox caffeine-free tea and a further one or two after that, ahem. It was very nice. Because I was drinking something hot I didn’t really miss my morning coffee that much. Throughout the day I thought about chocolate a lot which was insane because I really didn’t eat that much. I think it was because I was being told I couldn’t have it that made me want it more. By the end of the fourth day I’d just managed by the skin of my teeth to stay on the detox road – but I did it.


The Detox challenge was of course a good challenge and worth doing again. But next time I would be more prepared. I would have my sweet sugar-free substitutes and hot drinks that didn’t contain caffeine at the ready. I believe it’s probably the ritual of having a hot drink in the morning more than having a coffee and the regular tendency of wanting something sweet after a meal rather than a particular brand of chocolate. The four days were perhaps a little too much to incorporate into a new regime but it was something to work up to and possibly beyond four days. I could certainly incorporate two days a week of caffeine and sugar free days into my schedule and maybe that’s what I had to aim for. With more preparation I was willing to give it a good go. I was also tired whilst doing this challenge but can’t work out if it was lack of caffeine or just coincidental.

My awareness of my habits where certainly more acute for the detox challenge that’s for sure and by the end of the challenge there was no more feelings of “D’oh!” and that was a great feeling to have. After all I’m not the great philosopher Homer Simpson! (D’oh!)

Mark Cuddy

Someone who learned to wake up


Go to the profile of Vicki
almost 6 years ago
Well done for not cracking. I'm half a day in (timing it as best I can to avoid temptation) and I think I may find a new love in caffeine free coffee.
Go to the profile of Fiona Dolben
almost 6 years ago
Oh Mark, well done I don't even know where to start with this one!
Go to the profile of Mark Cuddy
almost 6 years ago
Vicki finding a substitute is a great idea and my advice too. Also, Fi get down to the shops and find sugar-free sweets or something. I tried this challenge cold turkey and it was hard and next time I do it I'll be more prepared and not totally cold turkey. Take it easy.
Go to the profile of Jacqui
almost 6 years ago
You have such self control- so impressed!
Go to the profile of Chris Baréz-Brown
over 5 years ago
Great Mark, tough one for sure, especially coffee. As you say it really makes us notice our habits. Nice one. C x