I love coffee. Inside this mug is a holiday blend french roast that I mixed up myself by grinding a cinnamon stick and some whole cloves and a chunk of whole nutmeg in the coffee grinder, then adding it to my coffee. I didn’t have a vanilla bean to add in, so I dotted the grounds with about a tsp. of pure vanilla extract instead. Mmm…spices are one of my favorite smells. I even dusted my hands with the spice blend after and rubbed it over my arms. I smelled like a cookie! *Only do this if you’re good with being found irresistible. Some people may not be able to leave their hands off you. I happen to be fine with that 😉 Holiday spice coffee became my go-to “treat” many years back to replace the luscious, but often sugar and fat loaded coffeehouse specialty drinks that I once craved. Most times I drink it black, but if I want to jazz it up I may put in some coconut milk or cream, and sometimes even sugar if I want to feel like it’s dessert. And yes- I do treat myself to those take-out specialty drinks occasionally as well, but I tailor them to my own tastes by requesting just one pump of the flavored syrup or sauce, which gives the flavor and sweetness without being overpoweringly sweet.
I used to go through periods of my life where I would try to give up coffee due to minding my caffeine intake or policing the state of whiteness of my teeth, but I would always find ways to “cheat” and sneak it back in. It was at this time that my younger sister pointed out that perhaps I only gave it up because I got a thrill from doing something I had told myself that I couldn’t do. She was absolutely right. The surest way for me to be all over something and obsess about it is to tell me that I can’t have it. That’s the way my brain is wired and my particular brand of thought processing works. I have found I am not alone in this, which is why I have never aligned with the philosophy of a trainer or nutritionist going into a client’s home and removing items that aren’t “good” for them to eat. I believe a better approach is education. Education, education, education! If you have the internet, you have access to information and education. If you have a desire to learn about anything, it is yours for the taking! If you want to eat better, you need to educate yourself about nutrition and find out for yourself why you may want to avoid some foods over others. But you see, that takes time. If I’ve told you that we are going to get you into great shape and I have assigned a time frame to this “goal”, that means I’m going to need to rush you to where I want you to be (practicing optimal nutrition) without you arriving to your destination under your own steam. So I have not encouraged the emergence of your own energy (which I have been told time and time again is my actual job here) but instead forced my energy and desires on you. Will you stop eating poorly just because I’ve taken your junk food? Probably for a while. But then real life will intercede and if you never were given the time and space to come to your own conclusions about how and why you wanted to learn to eat in an optimal, healthy, yet realistic way, you will not have access to the tools you need to do so on your own for the rest of your life. These tools take time and experience to acquire at your own pace and can’t be sped along at the force of another. You are not a child who requires a parental presence to clear your cupboards of foods that are not healthy for you. You are an adult who needs to clear your mind of the clutter that is preventing you from receiving information that will aid you in taking steps to make solid life changes. One tiny step at a time. I’m not asking you to give up anything besides the all-or-nothing conditioned thinking that keeps you stuck in the belief that little changes don’t make a difference. Little changes done consistently are what add up to major changes over time. Take it from me- making tiny changes and healthier replacements in your life will get you to a place where that sweet coffee you believe you can’t go a day without today eventually becomes an occasional treat that you can take or leave. You simply need to find your own path to getting there. Much as I’d love to throw you over my shoulders and run you to that place “in 6 weeks or less!” it just doesn’t work that way and you have to get there on your own to fully appreciate why.