I often see clients sabotage their own weight loss efforts quickly and effectively by not being conscious of the way they are drinking their coffee. Coffee is fantastic – it’s got zero calories, gives you a nice pick me up, has anti-oxidants, and helps suppress your appetite during intermittent fasting or when trying to skip snacks. It’s also my number one pre-workout beverage to help maximize my gym time.
The problem with coffee is all the things we start putting in it. I drink my coffee black – no milk, no sugar, no sweetener, no cream, nothing. Some places serve coffee that is like lava in a cup, I request that they put some ice cubes in there for me. For those whose tastes tell them I have none, I would strongly advise to stick to sweeteners and low-fat milk or milk alternatives when making that coffee tolerable.
Let’s consider how quickly the calories in coffee can add up. Let’s say your go to coffee is a double double from Tim Horton’s, a pretty popular choice. In the morning you get a large double double on your way to work. That’s 304 calories just in your morning cup of coffee. Then, after lunch, you get into that afternoon lull, you decide to get a medium double double for a pick me up. That’s another 212 calories. So your grand total, just for coffee, is 516 calories.
Keep in mind, beverages don’t generally contribute to your body’s feeling of fullness, so that’s 500 calories you have consumed, counting towards your daily total, that your body did not even think of as food.
How big of a deal are 500 empty calories per day? Let’s say you are eating on a deficit, 1200 calories a day for a below average height, sedentary woman. 500 additional calories will actually put you over your maintenance calories, causing you to gain weight. So you will feel like you are cutting your food intake quite a lot, but meanwhile, it’s those two beverages a day that are still causing you to gain weight.
Let’s imagine rather than trying to lose weight, you are just maintaining. You don’t count calories, you simply eat what you feel your body needs and that works for you, you have been the same weight for years. Now you add an additional 500 calories worth of double double coffees every day. Within one year you will have gained around 50 pounds.
I am singling out coffee here, because it is a beverage I often see people sabotaging their weight loss with, but this could apply to any food that is easily forgotten in a calorie count and doesn’t contribute to the feeling of fullness we get from wholesome foods – pop, juices, ice cream, fruit smoothies, popsicles, etc.
Being conscious about the calories in your beverages is a very simple change that can make an impact on your waist line very quickly, without much pain. So switch to black coffee, or drink it with milk or sweetener instead of cream and sugar. If that’s not your cup of tea, try tea. Switch regular pop for diet pop, or don’t drink pop at all. Cut out the fruit juice, eat the fruit instead. Eat frozen fruit rather than ice cream. Just stay informed and think about it before you put it in your mouth, stay positive and feel good about making good choices!