Black Coffee

28 Apr

black_coffeeI am a lover of coffee. I love its aroma while it brews and the way it warms my soul on a cold day. I love drinking it in the morning, while catching up with friends in the afternoon or paired with a decadent dessert after dinner. As they would say when I lived in NYC, I take my coffee “light and sweet.” My usual order at any coffee shop varies between a latte, cappuccino, frappucino or a good ol’ traditional cafe con leche. Milk has always been the perfect compliment to my coffee and I never imagined drinking my coffee any other way. You can see why my loved ones were surprised to hear a month ago that I was now drinking my coffee black.

I’ve always looked as those who drank their coffee black like they had a horn growing out of their forehead. On the rare occasion that I would accidentally drink out of my husband’s coffee cup, I would be overwhelmed with pity for his lactose-intolerant self.  I would think to myself, “What a shame he doesn’t get to enjoy his coffee creamy and delicious like I get to.”

Then I signed up to run this year’s Chicago Marathon and in order to repeat the pain of my previous years, something had to change.

As some of you may remember, I ran my first two marathons last year only four months apart and running them only went from bad to worse. I think there were several factors mistakes that contributed to how horrible I felt for my second marathon:

  1. Not enough rest time between my first marathon and training for the next one. 
  2. IT band issues caused from lack of stretching and strength training.
  3. Waited too long to replace my running shoes.
  4. Transitioned from minimal shoes to even more minimal shoes mid-training.

After spending my summer rehabbing my poor battered IT band with a 30-day yoga challenge, I slowly began to run again. I addressed all of my rookie mistakes: I stretched extensively when I got home from my runs; I went back to Nike Frees; and I waited months before I ran my next long distance race. Before I knew it, I had forgotten about any IT band problems of my past. That is, until I ran the Orlando Half Marathon. There it was… around mile 12 … that creeping tightness right by my knee.

It was around that time that I started seriously considering that perhaps I needed to lose weight. I couldn’t help but think what a relief it would be to my body if I could only carry ten pounds less for every single mile. So after I signed up for what would be my third marathon, I set my first goal to lose just 10 pounds before June to and maintain that loss throughout my marathon training. I weighed 157 pounds.

I wanted to make this a lifestyle change, and not just a diet so I didn’t want to do anything extreme that I couldn’t maintain. Plus, I didn’t need to shed pounds quickly, just over time.

Here are the changes I made:

  1. Avoid major sources of gluten in my food: I say major because I’m not cutting out the small things like soy sauce, salad dressing or the occasional beer. This change was not difficult for me because we already did this in our home for dinner. I just needed to also apply these changes to my breakfast, lunch and snack options. Lunch is the hardest, especially if I don’t have a packed lunch. 
  2. Avoid dairy: My exception to this is yogurt, which contains probiotics, and I don’t have more than one serving per day. It was hard to say goodbye to my cheese, but it was hardest banning milk from my coffee.
  3. Avoid artificial sweeteners and added sugars: My sweet tooth had started to get out of  control in the office. It seemed like almost every day someone was bringing in some sort of dessert that I felt I had to try. Also, my dad has been diagnosed with diabetes and my body takes after him so this change is overdue.
  4. Minimize alcohol intake: This one is pretty easy. When I’m getting up at 4:30 AM three times a week to run, I naturally don’t tend to drink. And when I’m in training mode I drink even less.
  5. Have a cheat day: I’ve given myself a “cheat day” every week, but I found that I don’t tend to cheat the whole day. I just end up treating myself with a tasty treat or have a dinner that I wouldn’t allow myself to eat the rest of the week (like pizza).
  6. Strength train twice a week: This is the second hardest for me. My workload has been busy at work so I have been tired and sleeping in a lot.

As of last week’s weigh-in at Publix (three weeks in), I had lost three pounds. I couldn’t be happier with losing a pound per week. This is slow, maintainable progress for me.

As for the coffee, I had in the past year already switched to sweetening my coffee with agave at home. But I figured if I was going to go black with my coffee, I may as well go all the way. And there was no point in replacing milk with anything else (coconut milk, almond milk, homemade cashew creamer, etc.) because it all tasted gross to me in my coffee. I figured I may as well go with the all black coffee option and get used to it as fast a possible. I do sweeten my iced coffee with a half packet of honey for an occasional post-run treat after runs.

And after a month of drinking my coffee black, I’m no longer making this face with every single sip:


Source: Reaction GIFS

Yeah, I know. That’s pretty much the creepiest GIF you’ve ever seen. However, it pretty much accurately sums up how I felt about drinking black coffee a month ago.

How do you take your coffee?


7 Responses to “Black Coffee”

  1. Fabulously Healthy You April 28, 2013 at 3:15 pm #

    I usually drink tea BUT if I have coffee it’s half a cup mixed with half a cup vanilla almond milk.

    • Hemarie April 28, 2013 at 3:18 pm #

      Mmmm… I drink my tea like the English, with milk and sugar, so I’m avoiding it for now. Except for iced green tea! I can drink that with a little honey. Maybe that will be a gateway to other teas!

  2. joannerambling April 28, 2013 at 10:43 pm #

    Ok that picture made me giggle………yes giggle………and I don’t giggle often I laugh but not giggle……… anyway you can have your coffee anyway you like it as I hate coffee……I make that face at the taste of it no matter if it is black or white or sweet or not………

    • Hemarie April 29, 2013 at 11:07 am #

      Coffee is probably an acquired taste. I think the training wheels (milk and sugar) help usher a lot of coffee drinkers in.

      Glad the GIF made you giggle. LOL

  3. Carolina @ Peas in a Blog April 29, 2013 at 9:07 am #

    I’ve always drank my coffee black, never got into the creamer deal, & I love it. I’m still using artificial sweeteners at work, which I know I should cut.

    Glad to hear you’re committed to a healthier life style, it truly does make a difference to run a little lighter (I tell you this cause when I dropped 20lbs I felt myself much more refreshed in runs, not as tired, with more energy). Go Hemarie, you can do it!

    • Hemarie April 29, 2013 at 11:05 am #

      Oh yes… I can only imagine running 20 lbs less! Hopefully one day. You’re definitely an inspiration, lady!

      Try keeping a bottle of agave or honey at work. That’s what I would’ve done if I hadn’t cut everything out of my cup of coffee.

  4. thiscrazylifeofmine April 29, 2013 at 11:47 am #

    I love it with almond milk or soy milk. I have not yet given in to the black coffee craze that I hear so many doing. Keep up the great work with your weight loss!

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