Chasing the 'High' - Why We LOVE Coffee and How It's Affecting Your Goals
Do you find yourself chasing the elusive ‘high’ all day and then chasing the calm all afternoon/evening? Now before we get into this, let me tell you, as a consumer I LOVE coffee! I love how it tastes, I love the smell, I love how it looks (look at that photo!! Droooolll!!!) and I LOVE the high! But as a Nutritionist I can't help but notice how it gets in the way of my patients goals - when overused.
No matter what your health goal is, too much coffee will get in the way. You're no-longer in control of your appetite, you're not sleeping well and you probably have a few other unhealthy habits creeping in too.
If you're trying to lose weight, you probably feel that your coffee is a healthier option - better than an afternoon chocolate bar or caramel slice right? But it's likely doing a lot more harm than good.
Tell me if this sounds familiar – you wake tired and counting down the minutes to your first coffee. Then, mid-morning, you realise you’re still not quite there yet – it’s a big day, there’s a LOT to do, that elusive coffee high you once enjoyed is calling you – another cup should do it. Maybe now, or maybe after the next 1-2 coffees you realise you’ve overdone it – you still don’t feel the ‘high’ but now you feel overstimulated, anxious, are unable to focus.
Now you’re craving sugar, salt, carbs, bigger portions - nothing really leaves you satisfied. Maybe you even have an insatiable hunger that no meal or snack can satisfy. - Except a giant, greasy burger and chips or a huge pizza of course.
Maybe this is when you turn to a wine or two to calm you down. For others it could be a Netflix binge with chocolate/chips or a pizza. You’ll probably stay up too late, you’ll probably wake up tired, but nevermind – coffee will be your reliable friend all over again tomorrow to get you through the morning.
Is this the new normal?
This daily pattern is so common that it could in fact be considered the new normal. However, this overstimulation of the stress response can lead to circadian dysrhythmia (altered sleep-wake cycles), fatigue, anxiety, overeating, hypertension (high blood pressure), dysglycemia (imbalanced blood sugar - leading to fatigue, weight gain and increased risk of diabetes), reduced adrenal function and imbalanced hormones. - Can you see how this could impact your weight loss goals?
So what do we do?
So, what’s the better alternative for busy professionals who need that support? While there are many possible solutions, here’s the basic 3 step process to finding an alternative approach that works for you:
Start reducing your coffee - but take your time!. Going cold-turkey will likely leave you with headaches and feeling exhausted. Instead, begin by reducing 1 cup at a time until you’re down to just 1 per day with 2 on a rare/busy day. This may take some time, go at your own pace and seek help from a qualified Nutritionist or Dietitian if you experience negative symptoms when doing so. We can help you with balancing your diet for better overall energy and any testing which could help you get a head start.
Take a good quality multivitamin with breakfast. Something to look out for is Vitamin B3 at doses between 50mg – 100mg per tablet/capsule. Some really good multi options also include beneficial herbs or nutrients such as rhodiola, ginseng or CoQ10 which can be an added bonus. With a good quality multivitamin & mineral complex you’re supporting your body’s ability to produce energy from the foods you eat each day. Which leads me to my next step…
Balance your diet and eat regular meals and snacks. Periods of fasting are fine but these really should be overnight after an early dinner. Start the day with water, then a good breakfast, then you can have your coffee (if needed/desired). Lunch and dinner should contain a good balance of carbs, fats and protein - all from healthy sources. The more veggies the better.
I'm still tired - what now?
Tried the above and still feeling tired and unmotivated? There's loads we can do. Book a consult to learn the simple changes you could make to get your energy back
today! Some really simple swaps like a mid-afternoon smoothie in place of the coffee and caramel slice could significantly improve your overall health and wellbeing.
Still have questions? Watch this space for more tips including some FAQ’s that come up in my consults and corporate health presentations for the most successful people who are leaning a little too hard on their coffee:
Meanwhile, until next time, stay deliciously healthy.
Jennifer May BHSc.(Nut.Med.)Adv.Dip.Nut.Med.ATMS.MINDD