My weakness — if a man made of such finely tempered steel as I am can be said to have anything resembling one — is that I wilt like the delicate petals of a buttercup in hot weather. I can’t stand heat. I’ve always wanted to visit Antarctica, or the Yukon — just for fun.
Before I started my weight-loss kick in February, I used very large sugary calorie-laden slush beverages to cool off.1 I ingested them in great quantities: frozen lemonade, iced coffee, and particularly frozen coffee slush. There’s the Frappucino® by Starbucks, or its more readily accessible and downscale cousin, the Dunkin’ Donuts Coolatta®. I live in a city in New England. I drive by three Dunkin’ Donuts during the one-mile drive from my home to my office. All of them offer vast quantities of ice-cold caffeinated sugar-milk at reasonable prices.
Since I’ve been counting calories, it has occurred to me on several recent sweltering 90-plus-degree days that I could maybe budget for the calories required to consume a Dunkin’ Donuts coffee Coolatta®. It’s occurred to me more than once. You can see why: They’re cold, they go down smooth, and they’re scientifically engineered to make my brain like them. Yet I have not given in. It was an easy choice. I didn’t agonize about it. It’s not like I drove to the drive-thru biting my knuckle, stammered half an order into the microphone, thought better of it and sped off in abject shame. I just thought idly while sweating in my un-AC’d living room, “Maybe a coffee Coolatta® might feel refreshing on a hot day like this. I can find the calories. But nah, I probably shouldn’t.” And then I drank some cold water, ate some cherries, and the feeling went away.
One of the reasons why I’m avoiding these kinds of coffee drinks is because I drank a lot of calories in the past, and I’m attempting not to do that anymore. Also Dunkin’ Donuts coffee Coolattas® are a fucking crime against humanity. Depending on the size you buy and the milk you choose (and your friendly Dunkin’ clerk will default to heavy cream unless you specify otherwise), one of these slushy pukes will range from 350 calories to a hilarious 850 calories.
Ten things that also contain 850 calories:
- A stick of butter
- Three entire canteloupes
- Nine or 10 grilled lobster tails
- About 29 large carrots
- 123 cups of spinach
- More than a half-pint of Ben & Jerry’s Chubby Hubby
- Two McDonald’s quarter-pounders, no cheese
- Approximately 18 Chicken McNuggets
- 148 large strawberries
- A 50-ounce porterhouse steak
This is how people get fat from Dunkin’ Donuts. You go there and drink shitloads of calories and think, “But I haven’t had anything to eat in hours … I just had a coffee!” I used to say that myself. Don’t bullshit yourself.
But I still briefly had that feeling that maybe it would be OK to have one — and I wouldn’t have had the 850-calorie monster anyway. That’s fine. It’s OK to have these feelings from time to time. I’ll get over it.
What I’m trying to get to is this: The other day the great Kelownagurl asked me how I handle cravings, and I had to answer truthfully that for the most part I don’t really get cravings. I’m confronted with lousy food choices constantly, every day, and I don’t take them. Since I stopped eating too much sugar and cut down my carbohydrate intake, and started filling up on crunchy vegetables, protein, and good fats, I found that cravings don’t really happen as often as they used to and they’re easy to deal with.
But I occasionally do kinda want things. I’m not a fucking monk.
Sometimes I even indulge these wants. But I try to do it in a smart way. If there’s chocolate around the office and I feel like having some, I’ll have a tiny piece — enough to get flavor but not many calories. If Nik and I go to the movies and we want to get some Junior Mints (it’s our thing), I’ll get some and I’ll eat some. Some. I’ll have some of the Junior Mints, not all of them. Specifically, I’ll have 16, which is 170 calories, and I’ll make them count instead of stuffing them in my face. If I have no food prepared in the house and it feels like the kind of day where you eat Chinese takeout (because there are days that feel like Chinese takeout), I’ll get Chinese takeout. Then I’ll use measuring cup and tablespoons and measure out exactly how much I’m eating and look it up in the database and fit it into my daily calorie budget. I don’t just get the jones for it and scarf it down recklessly like a starving man, because I’m not a starving man. I’m a well-fed man who lives in an indulgent society and wants to taste some Chinese food.
I eat anything, and I’m mainly a calories-in-calories-out guy — but so far I haven’t extended that indulgent attitude to sugary slushy coffee drinks, and I don’t think I will. When you get one you can’t portion it out. You have to drink it, now. It’s not like Chinese food, where you can store half in the fridge until tomorrow. If I buy a Coolatta or a Frappucino, I’m committing to about 350 calories of beverage consumption in the next 10 minutes, mainly in the form of sugar. And that makes me hungrier. I’d rather not do that to myself. And I don’t want to get in the habit of thinking it’s a fine idea to drink 350 calories of milky sugar-fluid just because it’s kinda hot out. That’s what cold water’s for.♦
- * Meaning I drank them, obviously. I didn’t bathe in them or whatever. ↩