We all have certain indulgences in our lives and I have confessed more than once to my indulgent personality.
Of course, my most indulgent vice is good Champagne, but that’s not really something that’s a part of my daily life.
But there are certain foods and drinks that even when I am being a conscious eater and trying to be healthier that seem to be mainstays.
Like many folks, I love my morning coffee. I am not a coffee snob. Most of what I drink comes right from my coffeemaker. (And I don’t like flavored coffee. I call it “sissy coffee”).
But my coffee carafe on my coffeemaker sprung a leak and now I have found myself roaming the coffee shops of Rome some days in search of my caffeine fix.
That’s not a bad thing because for me part of coffee is the experience of starting your day. A particularly fond memory for me is when I used to visit my Granny in Cedartown as a little girl we’d get up and have coffee together. She used put my coffee in a saucer — black with sugar. I used to think I got the a saucer instead of cup because I was special. I later learned that it was so the coffee would cool quicker and not burn me.
While that instilled a sort of sentimental attachment to coffee, I know it’s the morning jolt of caffeine that I crave to start my day.
And it’s particularly fun to start some place like Honeymoon Bakery in downtown Rome for one of their organic coffees. But a dieter has to be careful standing in front their bakery display because it can be mighty tempting. (The other day I succumbed to a freshly made chocolate croissant. And you know what, it was worth every dang calorie!)
I admit that I have also pumped my share of cash into the Starbucks empire to get my grande nonfat latte fix.
But coffee is a vice that can be rationalized even while trying to get healthier and lose weight, especially since there is some scientific evidence that suggests that caffeine can help boost weight loss or maybe help deter weight gain.
It’s not magic bullet though, so increasing your caffeine doesn’t increase your weight-loss potential.
Of course, it seems like there are different studies every month saying something is good for you and then the next month saying it’s bad for you.
But there are some schools of thought about coffee that make coffee drinkers like me feel good about our morning ritual.
Caffeine can, in some cases, help suppress our hunger … unless of course you have it with a big old piece of cake or doughnut!
It is said to help stimulate the process that generates heat and energy in our bodies and that could aid with burning calories. (Let’s hope!)
But it’s a sure thing that caffeine is a diuretic and that just means it’s causing water loss. So it may help us feel a bit lighter, but it’s fluid not fat we’re losing …
And like anything, you need to know how caffeine affects you personally. For me, it’s a much-needed boost early in the day but I have to be mindful to stay away from caffeine after late afternoon. As I’ve said before, I’m not prone to falling asleep easily anyway and my body and brain don’t need any extra stimulation in the p.m. hours.
I do try to limit my caffeine to my morning coffee or tea (I go through phases where I switch to green tea for my morning ritual, but then I find when I get to the office I still yearn for a spot of coffee …. Thank you, Beth and Valerie!)
I might sometimes have a diet soda at lunch, but I have tried to stay away from colas while I am on my weight-loss journey.
MobileFit, which is the food and exercise program I am using for my weight loss, has a handout on caffeine that touts it as a weight-loss tool.
It maintains that caffeine can help boost our endurance and, obviously, if we work out longer we burn more calories.
It can also stimulate long-term memory. I soooo wish it would stimulate short-term memory! My long-term memory is just fine, thank you very much, but some mornings I forget where I just set my cup of coffee …
The bottom line is while there are entrenched habits that can thwart our weight-loss efforts, a morning cup of Joe doesn’t seem to do any harm and some say it might actually help.
It’s nice to know at least one of my food/drink habits is safe.
Now pass the nonfat Half ‘n Half please ….