Don’t worry, I am NOT going to tell you not to drink your morning coffee. Since moving to the Pacific Northwest, having a cup of coffee in my hand has become part of my daily routine of doing life. I am not giving it up any time soon and you don’t have to either. However, I want to give you some game-changing information to assess your relationship with coffee and how it may be impacting your health.
I think that we all know the obvious downfalls of coffee - what we add TO IT! Yes, adding 300+ calories from your white mocha you indulge in EVERY DAY or most days may hold you back in your quest to release those 25 pounds - no matter how much you exercise or cut calories. Oh, and the muffin you eat with it won’t help either. I know you don’t want it to be true - but it is.
I want to be clear, I don’t do calorie counting (any more). I spent way too many years obsessed about numbers when it came to my weight and calories and it totally detracted from my real issues - I needed to eat real, whole, nutritious food and stop using food to cope, celebrate, numb, comfort, alleviate boredom, feel in control, etc. However, when I am consuming something simply for the “enjoyment” of it, I do want to empower myself with the truth so I am making decisions based on fact and not by default. Having said that, it may be time for you to research your favorite coffee drink(s) to see what the calories and ingredients are. Most yummy, sugary coffee drinks only provide your body with empty calories along with whatever euphoric feeling you experience when you drink it. Empty calories simply means that there is ZERO nutritional value, so the calories must be used by your body as energy or they will be stored - and most likely it will be as fat.
Please don't think I lack empathy. I loved me some chai lattes back in the day. And then I did the research on the calories AND the ingredients. I cut down to 1-2 a week and now I am a straight-up black coffee or Americano girl all the way. If I can do it - you can too. You don’t have to give it up entirely, but you may be surprised how you feel when you cut back and then decide to indulge. For me, I found that my normal “chai latte indulgence” was WAY TOO SWEET - to the point that I could barely finish half of it. That was it. I no longer WANTED them. I didn’t cry or whine or mourn the loss - I just celebrated it as a victory!
The second way coffee make you fat is drinking it on an empty stomach - especially in the morning. I can hear the excuses right now - “But Amber,
- I don’t LIKE to eat breakfast."
- I’m NOT HUNGRY in the morning."
- I’m just not a breakfast person."
Okay, then you can stop reading the blog now and go on with your way of doing things. If it’s working for you great! But if you are still frustrated with how you look and feel - maybe it’s time to be open, curious, flexible and more powerful than your habits.
I never want my clients to just DO SOMETHING because they are told to do it or because I do it. There is no power in making a decision from that place. I really want you to understand the WHY behind things so you can make your own decision based on the facts.
When you drink caffeinated coffee, the caffeine acts on your adrenal glands by stimulating the production of adrenalin which is your “fight or flight” hormone. Even though you are just sitting in your car or at your kitchen table drinking a cup of coffee, your body perceives the adrenaline as a sign that there is a “stressful” situation present and responds accordingly.
This stress response initiates your glycogen (stored glucose) in your muscles and liver to convert the glucagon back to glucose. The glucose is then released into the bloodstream so you have energy to survive this stressful situation. The presence of sugar in your blood stream then causes your pancreas to release insulin (which is your carrier hormone) to shuttle the glucose into your muscles for fuel to fight off the danger or flee from the danger.
You see the problem, right? Most likely you are not in need to physically exert yourself, so the sugar is not used by the muscles (because it’s not needed). What happens if it isn’t used? Yep, it’s stored. Insulin then acts as a fat storage hormone. Some of the unused sugar can be stored as glycogen again, but some can be stored as fat. This is why even if you are drinking black coffee with 0 calories, you can gain weight.
To remedy this issue and not have to give up your coffee, simply eat food (preferably whole, real and nutritious food such as 100% rolled oats, eggs with veggies, sprouted whole grain toast with almond or peanut butter, etc.) with your coffee. When you do this, you are communicating to your body that there is not a stressful physical situation. How? Well, why would you be eating WHILE you are running away from a saber toothed tiger? The act of eating dulls the side effects of adrenaline. Amazing, huh?
You really shouldn't NEED to drink coffee all day long. Stick to 1-2 small cups in the morning. The more coffee you drink, the more your poor adrenal glands get worked and the less water you will most likely drink.
There is one more thing. Stress hormones dull your appetite. So when you have coffee on an empty stomach, you will most likely not feel hungry, even though your body is most likely starving for the fuel and nutrition it needs to properly function. Most importantly your brain needs energy after a night’s rest. Your morning breakfast empowers your body to provide clear thinking, consistent energy, regulation of mood, normal appetite and proper metabolism.
I know this is a lot of information and if you want to know more I have created a comprehensive 8 course program for women on this topic and SO MUCH more so you can dispel the myths from sound nutritional facts when it comes to your personal health journey. If you would like to learn more, check out the program description here and then schedule a free coaching session so we can get you on the path of living your best life.