It’s true—too much of anything is bad for you. Too much of anything can have negative effects on you both physically and mentally. You feel tired, moody, and you might find you can’t focus or perform as well as you know you can. Much like if you spend too much time with your boyfriend or girlfriend, then after a while you kind of just want to throw something at their face. Too much of ANYTHING is bad for you. However, I have been cutting back on three specific things—coffee, fat, and sugar. I’ve since been spent a lot of time researching these things. Prior to research, I have found that I have found myself fatigued, anxious, irritable, and sometimes hungrier than usual. I learned that when consumed “in moderation”—which has to be the most cliché and painfully annoying phrase I’ve ever heard of in my life—doesn’t hurt you.
Drinking coffee is a leisure activity for me. For many, it’s a vice. I don’t blame you. I absolutely love the flavor of coffee, but I usually get nauseous and the jitters, which is why my intake is minimal. It almost sounds like common sense to hear that overconsumption is dangerous. Coffee’s acidity can cause digestive discomfort and indigestion while its high levels of caffeine can cause insomnia, nervousness, and restlessness. The caffeine, however, stimulates your nervous system, so it can improve physical performance and support your mental alertness. Long-term benefits include reducing the risk for cancer, stroke, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and Type 2 diabetes.
Coffee has advantages as a pre-workout beverage. When I absolutely need a pick-me-up or prior to a run, I will have a cup. Coffee can and has acted as fuel for me during a morning jog. My performance is definitely better. I don’t run faster but I am able to run longer distances. By December 2016, I decided I would substitute any need for caffeine with tea. While my energy is at its desirable level with tea, a couple months later one winter morning in February 2016, I woke up feeling more tired, hungry, and depressed. I currently live in Boston so I just blamed it on the cold winter weather and possible cabin fever. Then, I realized I wanted coffee. I’m pretty good at listening to my body, so I made myself a cup. After taking a few sips, I started to feel more awake and happier.
Bottom line is fat is a major source of energy. You need some fat in your diet to survive—basically. Fat helps your body consume vitamins and minerals, and is important for the blood, muscle movement, and inflammation. The bad fats—trans fats and some saturated fats, which I won’t go into too much detail about—are more harmful to your health. These fats up your cholesterol. Good fats—technically known as monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats, including olive oil, avocado, nuts, and fish—can actually improve cholesterol and lowers risk for heart disease.
When I consume these good fats, I do notice a boost of energy and feeling more satisfied after a meal. Bad fats typically put me in that “food coma,” where I end up feeling bloated and in need of a nap after I eat. I won’t lie to you though. I love the bad fats. They are delicious! As far as my research goes, there is no safe amount of consumption for bad fats as there is no recommended intake for good fats. I get really unhappy with myself if I don’t allow myself to indulge, so I still allow myself a Boston Market microwavable dinner or a McDonald’s double cheeseburger every once in a while.
Sugar in fruits are more natural, these are supposedly “safer.” Like fat, these are good and bad sugars, or natural and processed sugars. I can’t quit banana splits! So even if I were to cut out all the candy in the world out of my life, I will not let go of the banana split. It is the most underrated—and adorable—American dessert in my opinion. MicMedia recently posted a short video about some of the surprising benefits of sugar to quitting sugar. I have been pretty cautious about my sugar intake in the last couple years, but recently, I decided to really cut back. I felt like I was doing great for about a week. Then one morning, I felt like I was crashing. The following mornings, I had woken up unmotivated and grumpy. I would go through the days in such a bad mood. After watching the MicMedia video on sugar, I realize that cutting back on sugar can inspire these feelings. I decided to purchase a chocolate loaf at Starbucks. The first bite was divine. When I finished it, I immediately felt better. If you follow my blog regularly, I talk about my mom every so often. She has Type 2 diabetes and I know a lot of her habits. She’ll eat fruit, pop a piece of hard candy in her mouth, or even allow herself a small cup of ice cream if she feels light-headed or weak. Of course, I understand this is in a case of diabetes. If you have or at risk for diabetes, please follow your doctor’s orders. Otherwise, the moral of these stories is to eat sugar strategically.
For any of these things, my best advice is to listen to your body. Do try to fight the urge to overindulge because overindulgence is a totally different thing. But some feelings, like fatigue, irritability, and even nausea are much more difficult to fight. Know your health and use your discretion. Don’t beat yourself up for purchasing that cup of coffee, the short stack of pancakes for brunch, or your favorite candy bar every once in a while. KNOW YOUR HEALTH AND USE YOUR DISCRETION.
Disclaimer: I am not a medical practitioner. The information I provide is based on advice I’ve taken from research and friends and my personal experiences. Please use your discretion when taking any recommendations I make or discuss them with your doctor.