One time or another we’ve all found ourselves wanting something or someone when clearly it isn’t good for us. A prime example of this happened to me this morning when I went to one of my fave café’s on Spadina, Dark Horse. Admittedly, I was a very tired this morning after a night of tossing and turning and wanted a little ‘pick me up’. Caffeine and I have a love, hate relationship. When I’m super tired and need to function I feel somewhat obligated to reach for the java juice to bring myself back from the dead. Flip side of having my morning latte (when there’s too much caffeine) is that I get shaky, anxious and a little short tempered. Knowing that I had a 4 hour ride ahead of me this morning I thought a little espresso was in order. I’ve managed to get my perfectly caffeinated double shot of espresso down to a science… barista’s think I’m crazy when I order my quarter-caff latte; they’re thinking, what’s the point in even having ANY caffeine at all. So I’ve come to familiarize them with the ‘dirty decaf’, a decaf espresso shot with a little of the “good” stuff. Enough caffeine so I can reap some of the benefits but not too much so that I’d need to be admitted into a padded room.

Point of all of this is simple. Even though I know too much caffeine can leave me feeling like I’m climbing the walls, I still want just a little.

Most of us wrestle with something or someone that’s clearly not good for us; for the person we are or the person we want to become. Why do we create this internal struggle with what’s good for us and then do something that’s not. I like to refer to this wonderful little idea as ‘living’ for some, ‘self sabotage’ for others. I’m well aware that there are some health benefits of caffeine and there is a small ergogenic aid when it comes to endurance exercise but what about people that have other serious or compulsive behaviours that manifest. If something is bad for us, either physically, emotionally or mentally, wouldn’t it make perfect sense to just abandon that ‘thing’ all together? Logically it makes perfect sense doesn’t it? So why is it that millions of people drink and smoke in excess and eat poorly when they KNOW that it’s bad for them and their wellbeing? These are just some questions that I’m putting out there and I fully understand there is a plethora or reasons why people do things they shouldn’t but I’m just looking at the ideology. Could it be that life is about ‘living’ and part of ‘living’ is doing things that make us feel less than stellar so we can appreciate the times we feel good?

As a wellness coach I think it’s prudent to communicate that I believe in balance. I believe in ‘living’ and I do my utmost to adhere to a 80/20 principle where I’m uber healthy 80 percent of the time and not-as-healthy the other 20. That being said, when I reach for my dirty decaf first thing in the morning, I know it doesn’t always make me feel 100% but I strangely enjoy the morning ritual and the very slight jolt I get after I finish. Thing is, I could order a (gasp) ‘regular’ latte and it probably wouldn’t kill me but sometimes too much of a good thing can be a recipe for disaster (and sleeplessness).

What I’m asking for is to take a serious inventory of your life and contemplate if you need to purge anything to make your life even better. Give some thought to the Pareto Principle of 80/20 and see just how close you are to achieving that. You might find that you can create balance somewhere by adjusting small things to have a profound impact on your mental and physical health. For some, that might look like reducing the number of alcoholic drinks you have each week or eating healthier Monday-Friday or maybe even trying yoga.

Think of an equivalent ‘dirty decaf’ concept that you can implement into your life to make you feel better physically and emotionally. You’d be surprised what having a little less of something ‘bad’ can do for your health.

Everyone has to face their “K” at some point

cross-training: what a wonderful thing