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I’m not talking about the alcoholic sort… (though those certainly add up, too!) I’m talking about the luscious, creamy, yummy…… “coffees” that we’ve grown to love.

Come on… we know they’re “coffee drinks” and not coffee… even I, a true-blue black coffee drinker, occasionally get a hankerin’ for something made with caramel, hazelnut, and white chocolate. (Yummmm. That sounds so… dessert-like!)

Are you drinking your calories?

Consider this

According to a Starbucks website, a 16 oz caramel frappuccino contains 440 calories and 18 grams of fat. Wow! How many of us have this as just part of our midday snack?

If you had one of these every workday, that’s almost 2500 extra calories per WEEK!

You don’t have to be spartan

I remember back in my early weight loss days, all the books that said how easy it was… just trade your usual (ooey, gooey, buttery, cheesy) dinner for a poached chicken breast and steamed broccoli. Oh–and you even get to season it with lemon juice! Seriously, did these writers not know their audience? How did we get so overweight in the first place? You can’t make that sharp a transition!

What I’m trying to say is that if you’re downgrading the coffee drink calories, don’t go cold-turkey. Maybe try getting a smaller one for a few weeks, or try getting half the number of syrup pumps, or one without whipped cream… you have many calorie-reducing possibilities! Then once that feels like second-nature, take another reduction step. After a while, you might find you’re quite pleased with a black coffee with a splash of nonfat milk, and maybe a pump of sugar-free syrup–easier on the budget, as well! (But once again, don’t force yourself there immediately if you’re getting triple-whip chocolate bliss.)

But, don’t take forever to downgrade.

So, you’re slowly making progress toward leaner, healthier coffee drinks (or… substitute anything for coffee drinks: appetizers or cocktails with your friends, dessert choices…) by making one change at a time as outlined above. Just don’t take too long at each plateau, or you’ll never see progress. Make goals for yourself: maybe you’ll be drinking only 3 fancy coffees per week, and those being nonfat lattes, in four months. (Not that you can’t drink coffee, but maybe the rest is just plain ol’ coffee!) Be proud of your accomplishments when you reach your goal… just don’t reward yourself with a trenta caramel brulee frappuccino. 😉

Do you guys like fancy coffee drinks? Do you try to make them healthier, or do you just go for it when you get them? Me, I’ve become so budget-conscious that I only drink fancy coffee drinks less than once a month, so I just get whatever I want as a treat!

First of all… Happy May Day! Finally progressing toward the longest, sunniest day of the year! Woohoo!

I neglected a recipe of the week this week. My lame excuse: I made a fantastic palaak paneer (Indian curry spinach with cheese) and I’d love to share it. Thing is, I didn’t take any pics, because the pureed spicy spinach-tomato sauce looked like… well……. use yer imagination. ICK. But believe me, it tastes incredible!!! So, I may just post it anyway, with the caveat of no pics (since it looks so unappetizing).

Are You Always Happy?

Back on topic: to me, a major aspect of fitness and wellness involves being happy–with yourself and with your environment. There are so many people that I see who appear unhappy–trudging through life in gloom and doom. What fun is that? So, I seek out activities that keep me cheerful.

happy sun

I have a friend, however, who is the perpetual spreader of cheer. Everyone should be happy all the time! he says. And… I’ve questioned this. Should we always be happy? Certainly situations arise that irritate us, upset us, or annoy us. Should we just brush those off and say “oh well, let’s just be happy?”

In some cases, if the situation is minor, sure. But in a more major case, I think we, as humans, should experience the emotion. It feels unnatural to, say, have a death in the family and immediately “just move on”. It’s OK to be sad, for a while, to pay respect to our feelings. (Just try to get back into a good mood as soon as possible!)

Emotions Make Us Interesting People (for better or for worse!)

Besides, just as a monotone speaker sounds one-dimensional, I imagine that if our brains only experience happiness, our thought processes might start becoming one-dimensional. (For similar reasons, I sometimes read nonfiction books written by people I don’t think I’ll agree with. I frequently learn something!) So yes, a majority of the time, happiness is good for us, but occasional dips into other emotions are natural for our minds and bodies. I think we’re more interesting people if we experience a range of emotions!

That said, I truly do feel we should seek out cheap thrills–things that make you happy at low cost. What have you experienced lately that has made you bliss out?

meeting our target!

Earlier this week, I had a Facebook chat with a friend and her brother about healthy habits. My friend is big into fitness like I am, and luckily, she’s been rubbing off on her brother: her brother quit smoking about 1 1/2 months ago. I’ve never been a smoker, but from what I’ve heard, it’s a tough habit to kick! I congratulated him on this change.

However, he started berating himself on not getting to the gym often enough. And I told him to stop that nonsense!

Stopping smoking is a big habit change for the better. (So if you’re there, way to go!) Assuming you don’t add another bad habit to compensate, give it a few months to take hold. Then you’re golden with Behavior #1! Once you feel confident with your new-found healthy behavior, you have the mental strength to tackle another–because you’ve done it once!

Little by little, your healthy habits will add up to a new, healthy you! And by adding your new behaviors individually, rather than tackling them all at once, your lifestyle change won’t feel so intimidating at the outset.

My lifestyle change for this month (that I admit I’ve repeated several times, shame) is eating a minimum of 5 fruit and vegetable servings each day. I’ve made it five days so far, successfully! Join me with your goal, and post in the comments below! Together, we can do it!

Spring is here! Time to spring-clean not only our houses but maybe our diets, our future plans… never fear, I’ve found some great posts from fellow bloggers to help you out with such deep thoughts! (Some of ’em date back a few months, but they’re still highly relevant.)

How many times have you heard that you should “follow your passion” in life? As Ash Ambirge says in this piece, you not only need the passion, but the courage to take the steps to follow through. This is one of many wonderfully sassy, straight-ahead posts on her blog–read it!

Feeling a mid-day (or late-day, or anytime of the day) energy slump? Amber at Epicself has this three-minute energy and posture boosting sequence. Did I say it only took 3 minutes? Why, yes I did. Try it!

Chris at Zen to Fitness lists some practical suggestions here that will get our bodies moving better and keep us that way. The take-home message? Functional fitness. (Don’t get discouraged by long lists, either: start off gently. Even 10 minutes, 3 times a week, is great if you’ve never exercised before!)

Here’s a thought-provoking discussion from Vlad on The Change Blog on Reducing the Mediocrity of Life. I’ll admit that when someone asks how I am, I’m not always at the ready with an “Awesome!”–many times, I’m feeling more a “could be worse”. Is this you? Read Vlad’s post!

Have a magnificent first week of spring, and catch you in a few days!

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