This morning I brewed my coffee and then poured it in the blender with a tablespoon of organic fair trade extra virgin coconut oil.
“Making your oil slick again, eh?” my husband commented.
If someone had told me a year ago that I’d be drinking coffee with no sugar or half n half, I would’ve scoffed at them. As a former barista, I have particular taste for certain coffee brews and never would have considered putting oil (gasp!) in coffee.
Why would I do such a crazy thing? Am I a victim of the latest health craze? Have I lost my taste buds or sense of smell? What would possess me to ruin a perfectly good cup of coffee?!?
It all began last fall when I took a good hard look at myself in the mirror. Since the birth of my youngest child three years ago, I’d gained 35 pounds and was a few pounds shy of my full-term pregnancy weight. I could feel the heavy burden of those extra pounds in everything that I did. I struggled to fit into my only pair of jeans and my 5 foot 1 inch frame was clothed by extra large 14-16 women’s sizes. Living in Florida where it is humid and muggy most of the year made me even more uncomfortable in my own skin. I found it hard to sit down on the floor to play with my toddler. Rising from a sitting to a standing position had also become difficult. When walking the 0.8 mile to our local park, I was always winded and unable to carry on a conversation with my toddler who was chattering away in her stroller. Every morning, my joints ached and my hands and feet were slightly swollen. I felt sluggish all the time, no matter how much sleep I got. My sinuses were perpetually stuffy and I needed both an antihistamine and decongestant daily in order to breathe comfortably.
I knew things had to change, but I was overwhelmed by life and the thought of overhauling my diet and adding in exercise seemed impossible. So I decided to start with baby steps, changing my diet slowly.
First, I began replacing sugary snacks with healthy choices like almonds, fresh fruit, string cheese, and raw veggies with hummus. Next, I created a meal schedule, replacing three big meals with six smaller meals a day, eating every three to four hours to keep my blood sugar stable. I also stopped snacking after 8pm. I made sure that I had protein and some form of fresh fiber at each meal (raw fruits and veggies with skin), even with breakfast. Also, I quit eating out as much and started cooking most meals from scratch with seasonal fresh vegetables, when possible.
A typical breakfast for me now looks like this:
The one thing I was having trouble giving up, however, was my creamy sweet coffee with half-n-half and sugar. I’d tried black coffee (blech), substitute dairy creamers (ick), and various milk alternatives but I just wasn’t satisfied. I typically drink several cups of coffee throughout the day, so I knew that I had to find a way to eliminate all that creamer and sugar if I wanted to continue to lose weight and feel better. But how?
I’d been reading about the health benefits of coconut oil for years and had already incorporated it in cooking and baking, however, it was when I stumbled across the Coconut Mama‘s recipe that I decided to try it in my coffee. The results were delicious!
After about six weeks of these dietary changes, I started to notice that my hands and feet no longer felt swollen in the mornings, my hips didn’t ache anymore, and I had lost five pounds! It was a little easier for me to move around and I felt inspired to start exercising. I began with stretching and yoga, then added regular cardiovascular activity for at least 15 minutes daily, 5-6 days a week.
It was really hard to start moving, let me tell you! The first couple of weeks, I struggled to keep exercising and I wanted to give up. I kept telling myself that it would get easier, though, and that I needed to keep pushing myself through the challenge. Three weeks after adding cardiovascular workouts to my daily routine, I finally saw some progress! It became easier for me to keep my heart rate up for longer intervals, I lost five more pounds, and had more energy throughout the day than I’d had in four years.
Three months since I started making health and fitness changes, and I’d lost 35 pounds and was down three pants sizes!
This was me last May on Mother’s Day:
This is me today:
I still have a long way to go before I reach all of my health and fitness goals, but with perseverance and a little coconut oil, I know I will get there!
Quick summary of the changes I’ve made:
- 6 small meals per day
- Added healthy unrefined extra virgin coconut oil to coffee
- Increased fresh fruits and veggies
- Decreased refined carbs (bread, crackers, etc.)
- Added protein to every meal
- Added fresh fiber to each meal (raw fruits and veggies with skins)
- Began exercising 15-20 min/day 5-6 times/week