Quality of Treat

I’ve never been a coffee drinker. Even in college, when everyone else was heavy into coffee for all-nighters, I hit Cherry Coke instead. Even when I started living with David, who practically injects coffee before he gets out of bed, I never drank it. I liked the scent of it. But, really, all my drugs of choice are pretty much sedatives.

I didn’t get the Starbucks thing, the coffee hut thing, the tall/skinny/mochafrappaloopychino thing.

Then, about two years ago, I got serious about losing weight. It’s the old story. Woman hits 40 and realizes that she can’t keep gaining three to five pounds a year. Realizes that she can’t kid herself that she’s just a little overweight, that her body fat percentage is now in the OBESE category. I can’t tell you how horrifying it was to face that I had to apply that word to myself.

I did a little South Beach, to get me started. I worked to get the belly down, but I found it ultimately unsustainable. Then I hit Body for Life. I’ve lost over 20 pounds of body fat, down about 15 pounds overall. (I added some much-needed muscle.) And I discovered the sugar-free, non-fat latte.

It’s sweet, creamy, warm and delicious. And I can have it for a treat. Instead of a cookie, instead of a coke. Most of the coffee syrups don’t use aspartame, which as a former neurophysiologist, I won’t touch. Over time, I’ve become particular about my latte-acquisition. Starbucks is my friend — I travel a great deal and I love that I can almost always find a Starbucks and that they’ll give me exactly what I want. Sure, I’ll try the local coffee house, but I don’t like arguing about what sugar-free means. (Yes, I know that was a Dunkin’ Donuts, but the principle remains.)

Yesterday, I bought a thermos-cup. I polled everyone I ran into (okay, pretty much) for a week about their thermos-cup preferences. This is a new realm for me. I found one yesterday that meets all characteristics of the ideal cup. Today, David went and got me a skinny caramel latte in my new mug. An hour later, it’s still hot! (Did I mention I’m a slow drinker? David thinks it’s unnatural. Could be my coming late to the coffee game.) It’s stupid that this makes me so happy. I fully intend to take it with me to Indiana tomorrow and refill it before I get on the plane. I’m looking forward to this.

I’d feel more dumb about this, if my friend, the actress and director, Lesley Malin, hadn’t responded to my FaceBook post with how much SHE loves her thermos-cup and how it’s transformed her quality of life.

And yet, we went to see Slumdog Millionaire last night. (Yes, it finally made it to our town.) It’s easy to feel guilty about our rich lives, in comparison to those shown in the slums of India. That kind of suffering is incomprehensible to me. My suffering is avoiding sweets and crunching weights. Maybe I can count in the job stress, which seems to increase in a slightly greater percentage than the raise that accompanies it. I work hard for the money I make. If a little thermos-mug gives me so much pleasure, so be it. Call me shallow. At least I have my treat.

2 Replies to “Quality of Treat”

  1. I Googled “aspartame” and “myelin” in hopes of seeing some recent research that would upgrade moderate consumption to at least the “forgivable” level. Instead, I was forced to spit out my mouthful of diet soda and run screaming from the building. Pretty much.

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