Posted by: thefitacademic | December 8, 2010

Coffee Goodness

I’m definitely feeling the burden of all the end-of-semester stress these days! Monday’s workout video (which did a # on my buns & thighs) & Tuesday’s run have left my legs feeling tired & sore today. Plus the change in weather is causing a flare-up of an old hamstring injury I acquired in high school.

And despite the expectations for “output” this week at work, I’m definitely feeling OVER the whole semester! Ready for a break! I’m just going to keep pushing onward….only a week to go until the semester is officially done & I can work at a more relaxed pace!

But, exciting stuff up this week – I was inspired by Caitlin’s recent post about being a one-car family and wanted to tell you guys our story, because we are also a one-car family! I think it’s a good one – the kind with disappointment & fear of the unknown, followed by an inevitable outcome & some surprise good fortune.

Be watching for it on Friday.

But for today – I wanted to do a special post on how what you’re drinking is making you fat keeping you from being as healthy as you could otherwise be.


Who doesn’t get excited by the red cups, the snowflakes, and the frosty the snowman picture on Starbucks’ seasonal cups?

And with flavors like Caramel Brulee Frappacino, Peppermint Mocha, and Gingerbread Latte – they don’t just look great, they taste great too!

But the truth is – these drinks (as served) are NOT good for you! Did you know, for example, that the Peppermint White Chocolate Mocha is packing 470 calories? And that’s the grande with 2% milk! Use whole milk (or upsize to the venti) and you’re adding another 100 calories. And God help you if you add whipped cream (another 100 calories). So we’re talking a freaking COFFEE DRINK that can pack up to 700 calories!

You know what has an equivalent number of calories? McDonald’s Quarter Pounder with cheese + French Fries! Yuck!

And Starbucks isn’t the only culprit of somehow fitting an ungodly number of calories into a coffee drink. Speaking of McDonald’s – their Nonfat Caramel Latte (something that sounds semi-healthy) still manages to pack in almost 300 calories.

Additionally, Dunkin’ Donuts’ medium sized Coffee Coolata with skim milk and Gingerbread Latte both squeeze in over 300 calories.


Now, I don’t know about you – but I’d rather EAT my calories rather than drink them! But that’s not really the trade-off people are making, because research has shown that people overwhelmingly do NOT compensate for drinking lots of calories by reducing their food intake for the day. So what that means is that we’re just getting a LOT more calories than we need (and probably many more than we even realize).

But, it’s not just that the stuff tastes delicious – our western culture practically lives off coffee. We rely on it to keep us going throughout the day! But it’s important for us to be aware of what we’re putting into our bodies & to be knowledgeable about the things we are consuming.

(Side note: it is possible to alter these beverages to reduce calories: get skim milk, no whip, and small sizes – I’m just pointing out the way they are currently displayed in the nutrition headings on these places’ websites).

So stay warm out there (either with or without coffee), but try to pay attention to the ways in which you are fueling your body. Because, after all, the things we put into our mouth really do act as the fuel to get us through the day. Are we going to do it with sugary beverages that give you a spike, and then let you drop? Or are we going to do it by eating a good combination of protein, healthy fat, and carbohydrates?

It’s up to you. And it doesn’t have to start at the beginning of the week or month (e.g., ‘Starting Monday I’ll eat better”; “Starting in January I’ll change my habits”). Instead, we should be thinking about EACH MEAL as a new “start” point. So you went all out at the buffet for lunch? Pick healthy choices for dinner! So you had a late night drinking on Friday night? On Saturday get up, exercise, and choose to eat better! We don’t have to wait for these big “markers” to begin our next “diet” (health- and fitness-oriented choices).

We all have the power to change NOW!



  1. I’m a big coffee fan – because of the taste and not the jolt. I had to learn how to change the way I was drinking it – extra cream, extra sugar wasn’t going to work anymore. Good news – it’s absolutely doable and it can still taste great. And you’re right ..positive changes like this can happen anytime and make a huge difference to your health. Good post.

  2. Amen sister! I agree 100%!

  3. Starbucks is definitely a once in a while treat for me. I can see how it can get addicting and you’re right, it’s an unhealthy habit.

    I like your idea of a new start with each new meal. Sometimes I give up at breakfast time because I had an unhealthy breakfast. I think of it as a domino effect when I shouldn’t! Thanks!

    • It’s so easy to get caught in that mindset – waiting to “start over” on a new day. But we totally shouldn’t! It’s a shift in thinking, but I think it’s really helpful!

  4. Totally with you on this one. I HATE drinking my calories. I do love coffee, but when I go to Starbucks I am VERY aware of what I get. If my drink is over 200 calories I make that my treat for the day. The one exception to my rule is eggnog. I know it is LOADED with calories but I just cant help it. Its my weakness 🙂

    • I feel ya on the eggnog, for sure : ) Good thing it’s really only a seasonal beverage, right?

  5. I couldn’t agree with you more! I am a starbucks fan but have reduced my SB intake considerably since I am no longer on campus. My lab is in nowhere land with so SB around.

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