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Small Changes Really Do Add Up

Saturday, April 15, 2017

It has been a long time since I have blogged. I have actually made major strides regarding sugar, but I am struggling with exercise. But that is a story for another blog, which I hope will be coming soon.

I love my coffee. I am probably a bit of a coffee snob. But it is something that gives me great pleasure. I can't even tell you how much coffee I drink in a day because it varies. But it is obvious that coffee is very important to me.

About five years ago, my BLC team had a weekend challenge to only consume calorie-free drinks for the weekend. This meant, water, black coffee and tea, and the like. At the time I drank my coffee with cream or milk (no sugar). I thought it would be very hard to give up the creamer and almost passed on the challenge, but I gave it a try.

Five years later, I am still drinking my coffee black. It makes me appreciate the taste of the coffee even more. And it has simplified my life. One big thing (and you may think I am trying to be funny here, and maybe that is true, but I really mean this) is that it has made it much easier to keep my travel mugs clean. I normally take coffee from home to work in travel mugs. At one point when I still used cream, one of them developed a sour odor, and I just could not get rid of it, much as I cleaned the mug. I then discovered the problem was in the lid, which is harder to clean. Black coffee has also provided me a calorie-free beverage and an after-dinner alternative to desserts, which has helped with my weight loss journey (no, it does not keep me awake at night).

Well, today, for some reason, I decided to estimate how much weight I had lost/not gained because of this change. If I estimate that I would use about 100 calories/day of half and half, that comes out to about 52 pounds for the 5 years!!! Am I 50 pounds thinner now than I was then? Not even close.

So, does that mean I would weigh 50 pounds more than I do if I still drank my coffee with cream? On the surface that would seem to be the case, and that thought is scary. Maybe the 100 calories is overstated. According to the label on the reduced fat half and half we have in the house, a serving is 25 calories. But I probably would take more than the allotted amount, and 4 cups of coffee in a day is hardly far-fetched for me. It is unlikely that I would swap out something else for the half and half (i.e. less food) because of the nature of beverages.

I have all but given up soda. I used to drink a lot of diet soda, but about 15 years ago I went on the Atkins diet when it was in vogue (I started it just before Dr. Atkins' untimely death). I have long since given it up, but that was the first time I heard the case against diet soda. And I took it to heart. I still drink soda occasionally, but even that is becoming less frequent. I have discovered the joys of sparkling water/seltzer, and I drink that when I have the urge for something fizzy. So unless I am having a hot dog or deli sandwich and nothing else is available, I do not drink soda. Period.

It is not to say that I would necessarily still be drinking coffee with cream had that challenge not come along. And in some ways I am surprised it was so easy for me to give this up, given how difficult it has been to make other changes. But you get the idea. Little things do matter, and little changes can certainly add up.
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