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experiment

If you’re giving up or reducing your coffee intake for your New Year's resolutions – my deepest sympathies go out to you.

If you're thinking about cutting the caffeine – listen up, I've already done the hard work and went cold turkey for one long week and here's how I got on.

I must confess that on a good day I will have one or two cups of coffee and on a bad one, that number will creep to three, maybe even four.

So kicking the habit, I knew might be a little bit of a challenge, but I didn’t think it would make a massive difference – oh, those famous last words…

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Day one was relatively easy. I had three coffees the day before which might explain the ease of which I got through the day.

However, the next day was an entirely different story. My mood was so low and I was experiencing palpitations.

This was only made worse when I dined out as usually I would order an espresso to round up the meal as it helps digestion

Of course, my little shot of heaven was forbidden, but lucky enough for me, my fellow dinner guests weren't interested in ordering any teas or coffees, so I didn’t feel like I was completely missing out.

Day three, I watched my mother add cream to the expensive coffee I treated the household too. I did everything to distract my brain whilst she expressed just how delicious her coffee was – it was torture.

Our day was scheduled to stop in a coffee shop, but again, I was given a lifeline as thanks to the festive period, they were closed.

Day four was a challenge. I did a coffee run with my mother and I finally caved and had a decaffeinated coffee.

I was hoping the placebo effect would kick in and I would get some sort of buzz – I have no idea why I thought it would work as obviously without the caffeine, coffee quickly loses its appeal and energy boosting properties.

I knocked down the warm brown liquid with a sulky look on my face.

I really thought the reactions people experienced from giving up caffeine were fake. I have since learnt that they are all too real.

Day five was a day I had been dreading the whole week. I was working and I usually rely on coffee to give me my morning energy to get into the office.

I knew my coffee crutch would be very hard to ignore, so I made myself a deal. I wouldn’t go near the kitchen until my shift was finished.

This way my hunger would outweigh my desire for caffeine. Although it’s a method I wouldn’t recommend, it did work and I survived the day without having a breakdown.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Day six and I was STILL experiencing palpations, particularly at night time when they'd come thick and fast. My tactic to get through the day was to constantly distract myself, knowing the experiment wouldn’t last much longer.

One thing I certainly didn’t expect to experience is how much I thought about coffee – not being allowed to have it, made it so much more tempting.

Day seven and I was back working. I kept my head down and powered through the day. Lucky enough for me, a lot of my symptoms had begun to subside and I didn’t feel like total crap. However, I was very much looking forward to finishing the experiment and going back to my relationship with coffee.

The morning had finally arrived and I am not messing – I actually got up earlier to enjoy my cup of coffee AND even treated the family to a coffee run – (though this was mainly out of guilt for being so moody over the week, sorry mum).

It was divine and there’s no way I am ever going back, life is too short not to enjoy at least one coffee a day.

Since giving the challenge a go, I’ve reduced my intake and have been more aware of how much caffeine I am consuming.

Before embarking on a lifestyle change, please contact your doctor first.

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In New York, all kinds of everything pass as everyday occurrences.

Men wear cats on their heads, and a naked cowboy plays the guitar on Times Square. That and it’s a place where fashion choices can be unquestionably described as ‘daring’.

So when one local woman on the verge of a milestone birthday wanted to come up with an inventive way to mark the occasion – she reckoned wandering around Manhattan in nothing but a too-small bikini (“is it supposed to ride up constantly?”) would do the trick.

And it did.

Donning bedazzled H&M swimwear, the newly-turned 30-year-old took to the streets… and proceeded to shake-off her insecurities.

“For my 30th birthday I’m giving myself the gift of giving no f***s and going out in NYC in a bikini,” Loryn Brantz said in an article posted to Buzzfeed.

The writer said she’s struggled at times with her weight and with bulimia – so she also saw the experiment as a small personal victory.

Before venturing out, she opted to write ‘30’ on her stomach. Although, as she explained: “It turns out writing on your belly can be very disorienting and I wrote it wrong. In the spirit of ‘giving no f***s,’ I decided to leave it as is.”

Loryn also admitted: “I was extremely nervous on the trip out of my building but once we got moving I started to feel pretty awesome until I received some mean looks.

“I was instantly transported to the feeling of being insecure in high school dance uniforms, which really caught me off guard since I hadn’t felt that way in a long time. I tried to do like Taylor and ‘shake it off.’”

On a trip to the farmers market, she light-heartedly compared herself to fresh produce: “So maybe the peaches had rounder butts than me, but what they had in butts they lacked in conversation skills.”

Ms Brantz said after a while she “felt like a warrior princess”. She added: “If someone had told me 10 years ago that I would someday sit publicly in a bikini, I would have fainted.

“It was strange and also a little sad that something so simple as sitting in a bikini felt empowering.”

And as her experiment draws to a close, she is reflective – and optimistic. “Here’s to walking around topless for my 40th!” she joked.

Afterwards, most commentators were encouraging: “This was beautiful to read. Congratulations :)” said one reader via Twitter.

Another said on the Buzzfeed page: Thank you for sharing your experiences with us! Looking at a beautiful woman like you I'd never have guessed that you ever struggled with your weight.”

A third stated simply: “You go, Loryn!! I think you kicked ass.”

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Facebook have come under fire after it was revealed that the social media giant conducted an experiment on 700,000 users without them knowing, and they didn’t have to get their permission as the experiment fell under their data use policy.

The company wanted to test to see if they could influence our moods by changing the algorithm of the site for one week in July 2012. They either removed all the happy posts from your timeline, or removed all the sad and angry ones.

Christian Sandvig, an Associate Professor of Communication Studies and Information at the University of Michigan said that the experiment was not ethical, and tweeted: “*Probably* nobody was driven to suicide #jokingnotjoking”

Hmmm… sounds a bit dodgy to us. Though we were interested to find out the results! The researchers found that emotions actually are contagious: “When positive expressions were reduced, people produced fewer positive posts and more negative posts; when negative expressions were reduced, the opposite pattern occurred”.

How do you feel about Facebook playing with your emotions?

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Illusionist Rich Ferguson works his magic on the public.

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