Sacrifice, deprivation, restriction. Often, these are three words that come to mind when deciding to move toward a healthier diet. I am not saying losing weight and a lifestyle change don’t take some self discipline and conscious eating but, it’s not as difficult as one may expect.
Related post: 7 Ways to Create Discipline in Your Life
Once I began to increase my knowledge on calories and portion control, I soon realized that I was not going to have to deprive myself of anything. All I needed to do was make a few small changes. Of course over time I made other lifestyle changes but it all started with some small tweaks.
Related post: 8 Habits to Stop Mindless Eating
One of my favorite things in the world is coffee. I’m not talking about black coffee with Splenda, yuck! The coffee drink that holds the key to my heart by bringing joy to my taste buds is the regular double double (double cream and double sugar) with a vanilla flavor shot. This is second only to the best of all, the Starbucks café mocha. Give me either of these and I am in heaven. It comes as no surprise that my beloved coffee drinks were, at minimum, are 250-300 calories a drink! On any given day I was easily drinking 500 calories.
By the way I figured this out when I started tracking calories using My Fitness Pal. It’s sooooo easy to deny the fact that coffee (or any food) has calories. However, when plugging food into a calorie tracker definitely opens your eyes. Yes, I know tracking can get tedious and annoying…but so is being overweight and squeezing myself into tight jeans. Sometimes we just need to pick our hard.
Immediately after coming out of my fattening, frothy, bad-eating-habit bubble, I knew I needed to make a change. However, giving up coffee or switching to sweeteners was not an option. The challenge became finding a happy medium between my beloved coffee and skinny jeans.
These are some of the changes and substitutions I implemented to substantially reduce the coffee calories I was consuming. Now, be warned, this is not ground breaking information. It’s just a simple common-sense strategy that I wish I had used years ago.
1. I started to measure out my morning creamer. Previously I would just pour in the creamer having no idea (nor did I care) about the number of calories. The creamer I use is 35 calories (and 5 grams of sugar) a tablespoon. Now I allow myself two tablespoons of creamer a day with my morning coffee. It turns out that I like the taste much better with less creamer. Funny how that works.
2. I gave up my second cup of morning coffee. Honestly, I came to the realization that I would rather use those calories on something else. Sometimes I still slip up and drink that second cup of coffee. If that’s the case, I just try to fit the calories into my daily intake.
3. I started to order specialty coffee drinks with skim milk and no whip cream. My favorite drink in the whole world is a café mocha from Starbucks. This drink can make my worst day all better. At first I thought, “Why bother even drinking one if I am not getting the full fat version?” However, I was pleasantly surprise when I tasted how delicious the “skinny” version is. The calorie difference between a grande regular café mocha and skinny café mocha is 110 calories. You can view the calories of all your favorite Starbucks drinks here.
4. I saved my specialty coffee drink for Saturdays. The Starbucks grande skinny mocha is still 220 calories which, if drinking that everyday, can really add up. I try to limit this drink to once a week. That is unless I really need it bad!
By making these minor adjustments I erased around 500 calories a day from my diet without feeling deprived in the least. This is just one of the many small changes I made that led to big results.
Think about it this way. 500 calories x 7 days = 3500 calories a week. If you removed 3500 calories a week from your diet that will result in weight loss. Also, those calories are all empty sugar calories – you know the ones that sit right in your stomach area? So removing those calories, or substantially reducing them, will provide positive results.
I’d love to hear more tips on keeping a coffee habit under control. What do you do?