Monday, December 16, 2013

Keeping it Clean + Lean: The Starbucks Strategy (Part 1)

Now, while I definitely do recommend that in search of finding that balanced, happy, healthy life, there are certain habits that will have to go out the window; but I also feel that there are some that are non-negotiables. And Starbucks is one of them - for me anyways! Ha ha :-)

Today, I share a few of my tips + tricks for keeping my Starbucks trips in check! Enjoy :-)

Rule #1 - A Single Indulgence is Still An Indulgence
We have all heard that moderation is key - but what does that really mean on a day-by-day basis? One of the rules I've found that really works in the long term is that it's fine to enjoy life and indulge a little - but I like to keep it so a "Single Indulgence" instead of a "Double"!

What this means is that if I am going to treat myself, I choose either a drink or a 'pastry' as an indulgence - never both. 

If I can't stop dreaming about Gingerbread Lattes  (Mmmmmm) I recognize that the sugary-sweet coffee is my treat - and save the goodies from the 'snack bar' for another time. (I am getting my sugar + calories from my coffee, and minimizing/eliminating extra calories from food).

If instead, I decide that to treat myself to piece of my fav Reduced-Fat Banana Chocolate Chip Coffee Cake, I'll order just a normal brewed coffee with just a splash of soy milk + honey. (I am getting my sugar + calories from the banana cake, and minimizing the sugar/calories in my drink).

Rule #2 - Say No to Portion Distortion 
During my Business Degree, I got to spend a semester studying and living in Copenhagen and my gosh, I've got to say - what an eye-opener! It's funny, but I never truly realized how incredibly super-sized the whole world of North American food really is until I got to see how other people in the world live. Other beautiful, fit, trim, active, healthy people, that is... ha! (I'm not joking - everyone in Scandinavia looks like a walking supermodel and when you peek inside homes they really do look like a page from an Ikea magazine ha ha :))

So what's their secret?? Their portion sizes aren't distorted like ours! Denmark's "jumbo" sized coffee is the size of our Grande (medium)! Venti cups literally don't exist. I'm pretty sure if you showed a Dane the container that 7-11's "Big Gulp" comes in, they'd think they were on an episode of Punk'd.

My solution to our problem of "Portion Distortion" is simple - Starbucks' Venti, Second Cup's large and Tim Hortons' Large & Extra Large sizes, do not exist.  They are not even an option.

To really make this make sense - keep in mind that the average stomach is the size of a clenched fist -- doesn't it seem a like a bit of overkill to consume something that is about 2-3x that volume? I mean, really? If we actually take a moment to think about this, do we really need a LITRE of coffee?  Or do we just order that size because we have created a habit that we are so used to, we don't even think twice about it?

This brings me back to a point I have brought up many times before. When I talk about sustained weight loss - dropping the pounds and inches you want to drop - then actually keeping them off, it really is about re-inventing your set of "eating rules" and replacing unhealthy, destructive habits with happy, healthy ones.

By making the choice to remove the "Venti" size from your mind, you are creating a new way of thinking and I promise you, this truly is one of the secrets to a long, happy, healthy life!

Rule #3 - Your New Favorite Word: Mod
"Mod" is the hospitality industry's lingo for "to modify" - or to request a few changes to the menu item you're ordering. In general, the way I look at it is how can I cut calories, sugar and fat from my favorite drinks without having to doom myself to very sad life of never ever tasting another Gingerbread Latte? (ha! Can you tell I've got a weakness for GBL's? lol)

You've probably heard of the whole "half-sweet" idea before - and this one is GREAT! Ordering your latte "half-sweet" means that instead of putting 4 pumps of Gingerbread syrup into your Grande, they only put 2. Yes, it will taste a little different at first, especially if you are used to the 4 pumps, but back to my earlier point - to be successful with health and fitness in the long term we must be willing to change some of our habits and find a way to enjoy our new way of thinking. For example, try telling yourself the Half-Sweet Gingerbread Latte tastes better than the full-sweet version, and focusing on how sneaky you are for cutting all those extra calories and sugar from your diet - and trust me - before you know it, you won't even be able to taste the difference!

Another great little option that I love is the Americano Misto. I like to call this one my secret little weapon. This one's a great little replacement for a Cafe Latte - the only difference is it replaces 1/2 of the milk with water - saving you half the calories and carbs. (Awesome.)


And in closing, of course, my wise words for the day: 

“So be sure when you step, Step with care and great tact. And remember that life's A Great Balancing Act. And will you succeed? Yes! You will, indeed! (98 and ¾ percent guaranteed)"  - Dr. Seuss 


Yours in strength and stretchiness,

- Brooke
xoxo

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