I know there are a great deal of you who are coffee lovers, and for most of us, giving up or limiting the coffee is like throwing the baby out with the bathwater; we’re throwing something good away when trying to eliminate something bad.
Coffee for most of us is that crutch between making it through the day or crashing. But it’s probably nice to know that you do not have to cut out all caffeine to get more energy and a weight loss result either.
The subject of coffee and caffeine is one that I often have to tread carefully with with so many women, because firstly they are often petrified that I am going to ask them to cut it out entirely.
Caffeine is not bad, it has some great qualities and benefits. But often the less positive effects occur due how often we drink it, how late in the day we have it, what we add to it, why we are having it and the length of time we spending drinking it.
Coffee has been shown to increase blood flow to the brain which does support cognitive function, and can improve your exercise performance. As well as these, a good quality coffee can have large amounts of antioxidants in it. These are all dependant, of course, on the individual and their lifestyle.
So why is that we would want to look at decreasing the amount of coffee we drink, or the time we drink it at?
Most women are looking to have weight loss, energy balance or weight management, and when it comes to all of these elements, it really does just boil down to managing what your hormones and systems are doing. Coffee affects hormone and system in different ways.
1. Coffee elevates our stress hormone. Too much stress hormone in our system and our body starts to deposit body fat around the tummy area.
2. Coffee also stimulates our fight or flight mode, which is why we get the jitters and feel more ‘alert’.
3. This fight or flight system (otherwise known as your sympathetic nervous system) decreases digestion and increases heart rate and blood pressure. Too much of this is not beneficial to our body or our goals.
You have another system called your parasympathetic nervous system which is your rest and relaxation, which actually switches digestion on.
The fight of flight system, promotes the ability for us to be active, we use it when we go to work, travel, talk, watch TV and so on. Coffee stimulates our fight or flight system so it can help us feel more alert and awake for this reason. However, the difficulties comes when we are looking for results such as weight loss, fat loss, energy balance and better sleep. For all of these we need a good balance between our fight and flight system and our rest and relaxation system. Most of us nowadays run quite high into our fight or flight system, which again, minimises digestion (which we need), and increases the stress hormone (which can increase the deposit of body fat around the tummy area). Things such as work, watching TV, travelling, eating and exercising stimulates our fight or flight system. Which is fine. But, rarely do we get down time, even 10 minutes where we simply have some relax time. Having this down time can support your body fat levels, energy and improve your digestion.
It is very difficult to fight your bodies own mechanisms that are it’s survival tools, which these systems and hormones are.
If you are looking for weight management, loss, fat loss, energy balance or even better sleep then there are a few things to possibly think about with your nutrition, one being coffee intake and regularity. It doesn’t mean take it out altogether, but simply to try to work on it so that you rely on it less.
Here are a few tips to think about…
Most of us are chasing energy, for work, working out, relationships, just generally being happy and confident. Caffeine can have a life of between 9-12 hours, meaning if can stay in your system for this length of time. A big part of your energy battle is balancing your hormones. Later in the evening around 10:30 pm you want your body’s melatonin and human growth hormone to increase. These are your rest, repair and relaxation hormones. Melatonin cannot and will not elevate if there are high levels of cortisol in your system (remember caffeine elevates cortisol). Think of it like a light switch, either it’s on or off, and the same goes for these two hormones, one is of when one is on. So, drinking caffeine past 1/2pm isn’t a smart move to help those rest, repair and relaxation hormones elevate later on in the evening.
Often we want coffee first thing in the morning and most of us want it again at around 1:30/2pm. Technically, early morning is when your cortisol levels should be higher, when you should feel awake, but for those of us who are chronically fatigued, this can be a time of day your levels are lower than they should be. Try switching to matcha green tea which has strong anti-oxidants and also contains caffeine but in a more natural and beneficial way. (5 matcha recipes here) Then around 11am have a coffee, which will give your body that kick mid afternoon when generally everyone’s cortisol levels begin to lower. Drinking a caffeinated coffee at the time we desperately need it is more psychological than physiological. Drinking it slightly before you desperately need it will allow it to be digested and the effects lead in in time.
You know this one, so I don’t really need to tell you. Energy balance and weight management rely on your blood sugar levels, if you are spooning in the sugar to your coffees this will impact your blood sugar levels and play havoc for your energy and weight loss. So, curb out the sugar. A bullet proof coffee might be your way out initially as it contains coconut oil and grass fed butter, both of which make the coffee sweet tasting but instead of sugars, your body is taking in good sources of fats.
If you are really struggling to make headway with your own fitness, fat loss and energy balance give our team a call. We would be happy to help you design your week workout. Contact us below or call us on 0208 946 7174 or fill in the form below.
Siobhan & the Beattitude Team
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