Coffee, black.

“Coffee, black”

There are 1,280 calories in a quart of half & half which I know because for many years I drank about that much of it every week.

It sounds like a lot when you say it that way, but it’s not like I was drinking it from the carton, so I never really noticed.

I drank it a couple tablespoons at a time.

Morning coffee.

Mid-morning coffee.

After-lunch coffee.

Mid-afternoon coffee.

And, sometimes, evening coffee.

Yes, I drink a lot of coffee. Don't judge, it’s not polite.

Anyway, the older I get the more I find that I have to fight my body to keep it any shape other than round, and that fight has required some subtle changes in my diet. For instance, I used to drink a lot more beer than I do now.

I’d have a beer at lunch, a couple beers with the guys after work, and a beer with supper. I’d have a beer the way a lot of people would have a Coke or sweet tea - it’s just what I wanted to drink, especially with food.

4 beers a day, seven days per week adds up to a lot of extra calories. In my twenties, my metabolism soaked it all up like a Bounty paper towel, but by my mid-thirties, the only thing soaking it up was my belly, and I had to cut out the “everyday beers.”

One morning last summer, fixing my morning coffee, it hit me that the half & half posed the same problem. 1,280 calories per week for 52 weeks is 66,560 calories. Using the standard 2,000 calorie-per-day benchmark, that equated to an extra 33 days of calories.

Except for Saturdays - my cheat day - I drink my coffee black now. It started with not putting cream in just one cup of coffee, but over the course of a year, I’ll avoid an entire month’s worth of calories that I would have otherwise consumed.

Interesting, isn't it? Not my coffee habits, I realize that's pretty dull. What is interesting, though, is just how much small changes can add up to big differences over time.