I’ve recently lost 65 pounds and I’ve hit a plateau. Sadly, my body doesn’t want to take off any more weight, even after adding more exercise, shifting calories around, tracking everything in with the detail of pointillism, and monitoring myself to see if I was doing something different. I just can’t get it going again.
I’m trying to shift how I eat and drink, to see if that has any impact on what’s going on with this plateau. This means giving up on occasion my beloved flavored creamers. I know, 35 calories a tablespoon doesn’t make much difference in one cup, but over two or three cups a day, it does add up. I’m sure my body doesn’t need that extra sugar and fat every day too, though it’s a tasty morning doughnut in my drink. Being New Year’s and all, I set out with determination to learn to enjoy coffee black.
I hearkened back to my past experiences with coffee before pouring that first trial cup. I remembered my first experience with the bitter black stuff as a toddler. I mistook coffee for soda in my Papa’s cup and took a big ol’ swig before promptly creating a huge coffee stain on the carpet at my Nan’s house with the expulsion of the entire swig from my mouth. It was terribly acrid and all I could remember was my family laughing at me as I coughed and gagged.
I couldn’t bring myself to drink the first cup black. I brought out my stevia packets and a tablespoon of the creamer of comfort and swilled. Ah, perfection.
As I sipped guiltily and ran my morning house errands, I thought back to how I began enjoying coffee in the first place. It must’ve been in high school, when I began going to the coffee shop in my hometown with all of my friends. The owner introduced me to a milky, sugary, caramel beverage cleverly entitled a Milky Way. The combination of social pressure to not spit out the drink in front of all of my friends and the environment of freedom from youth must have made one heck of an impression on me. I don’t remember ever really enjoying the coffee or the grinds at the bottom of the cup, but I remember loving that coffee shop more than my own home.
I thought about all of the open mic nights and the car rides down Main Street to the shop singing Weezer to get there and returned to the aromatic pot, determined. After all, it smelled like the coffee shop. What’s not to love? I poured myself a cup of coffee, steaming hot, without adding my sweetener or my routine creamer. My brain hung on to the earworm that is Weezer’s “Island in the Sun” as I brought the cup to my lips. The immediate thought rang into my head of blocking its entrance through my mouth. It just felt somehow different, watery, as it passed over my tongue. The sourness clenched my jaw tight, though I wanted to purge the brown stuff onto my wall. I swallowed out of politeness in the presence of my coffee pot, which seemed to be giggling at my defeat. As I reached to strangle it or pull its cord out of spite, I noticed my sweetener packets sitting idly by, watching the proceedings and waiting for their chance to intervene. I took them up on their offer and poured them into the cup, seeking solace in a saccharin-flavored coffee treat, somewhere in Weezer-land.
That’s when I knew I’d never enjoy coffee black. If it means I’ll be forever 10 pounds from my goal weight, so be it. I hear a BMI of 28 helps longevity anyway. Pass the creamer, please.
(My apologies for my long absence--it's been a long semester!)