Someone told me that once you start living a healthier lifestyle, it’s like noticing a new kind of car: suddenly, you see people doing unhealthy things (or that particular model of car) EVERYWHERE.

One of the first things I did back in the size 16 days was to switch to nonfat milk when ordering lattes and such. Not knowing much about calories, I took my best friend’s word for it when she said that ordering a tall–not a grande–nonfat latte would save me some money and some pounds. She was right: Starbucks’ nutrition site says that the difference between a tall whole and a tall nonfat latte is 80 calories.

And then, I looked at the whipped cream. I live in Seattle, and Starbucks is everywhere. Don’t get me wrong, I love them. I love that you can go to a Starbucks in Kansas City (not the airport though, Starbucks doesn’t run those) and get roughly the same quality of coffee as at the original store down by the market. I also like that they offer employees stock options and health care, but that’s for a social responsibility sort of blog, not this one.

So, yes I love Starbucks. But sadly, you have to give up some things when you’re trying to be healthy. I cut down to once a week: I went to Starbucks on Friday mornings to celebrate the weekend’s arrival and had a tall vanilla nonfat latte. Mmm. And every single time, I would see the same people ordering venti Frappucinos WITH whipped cream. “Okay,” I thought, “Maybe they are ALL on graveyard shift and this is dessert? Don’t judge, don’t judge…okay, I’m judgmental. I have to judge.”

At Starbucks, adding whipped cream to ANY drink adds at least 100 calories. A venti caramel Frappucino is 530 calories with whipped cream. If those people would switch to even a tall caramel Frappucino with no whipped cream (assuming this is a weekly, not daily ritual), they would lose a pound in 11 weeks JUST by changing that behavior, assuming they held everything else constant.

I’ve been drinking more than one espresso drink lately. Law school encourages excessive coffee consumption. But I found out a very interesting secret: Starbucks has a SHORT coffee cup. They don’t advertise it, but it is 8 ounces of deliciousness. That is 4 ounces less than the tall; granted, the calorie difference isn’t a lot. But like the example above, it may be enough to add up to a loss. Also, I have learned that you can get an Americano with room, then add a bit of nonfat milk and cinnamon for a tasty, caffeinated treat (around 15-30 calories depending on the amount of milk you add).

The new goal for the rest of this month is to cut out coffee treats, for the sake of my wallet and my waistline. Since the ultimate goal is one latte a week, I think I can let it be a tall 🙂