Betty Says: I Don’t Drink My Calories

My usual unsweetened black tea, complete with egregious misspelling of my name.

This is the post in which I point out that perhaps the pot shouldn’t call the kettle black.

On Saturday morning, I finished my Zumba class and headed for the supermarket to pick up a half a dozen ingredients for weekend meals. I stopped in Starbucks, ordered my one and only coffee shop drink (large black iced tea, unsweetened) and decided that since I didn’t have the family with me, I’d get myself a pumpkin scone, settle in and relax for a few moments.

As I sat in the cushy chair, munching on my scone, a mother came up and started… well, started bitching at me. Evidently by eating a scone while wearing my workout clothes, I was setting an unrealistic example for her teenage daughter, teaching her that eating pastries was ok when as we all know, that sort of behavior is completely unacceptable.

Now, I didn’t want to give this woman a hard time in front of her kid, so I tried somewhat diplomatically to explain that I don’t believe in forbidden foods, and that any food can be incorporated into a routine of otherwise healthy eating. Because, in my experience watching my mother, nothing makes a particular food more desirable than telling yourself that it’s off-limits.

Her drink, made with skim. The numbers go up to 620 calories and 27 grams of fat if made with whole milk.

Moments later, said daughter went to the counter to pick up her venti white chocolate mocha frappuccino with whipped cream. I’m not sure if she opted for skim, 2% or whole milk, but the calorie range runs from 520-620 and total fat ranges from 14-27 grams. A massive frappuccino? For breakfast? Was she serious?

My scone.

And then there was me. Now, I’m not crazy enough to think that 480 calories and 17 grams of fat is a healthy breakfast choice, but it’s a nice treat on the rare occasions that I go to Starbucks. I ate about 2/3 of it and paired it with my large, non-caloric iced tea. Was this in any way worse than what she was allowing her daughter to do?

I like my calories to come from food rather than drinks. Whether it’s real or psychological, I never feel full when consuming the same number of calories in a drink — even a nutrient and fiber-rich homemade smoothie — than I do when I actually eat solid foods. But to say that I’m setting a bad example while her daughter drinks that? Call me crazy, but I’ll take a pastry over a glorified caffeinated milkshake any day.

And regardless of my reasons, nobody ever has a right to walk up to someone and criticize their food choices. No one. Had she not been with her daughter, I probably would have made a scene and told her that in no uncertain terms.

What about you? Do you prefer to drink your calories, or eat them? And would you ever have the nerve to walk up to a stranger and give them crap about what they’re eating?

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7 Responses

  1. Jason says:

    Seriously? You would’ve had to kick me HARD to prevent me from saying many, many things to this woman. Honestly, her daughter deserves to see people react to her public judgements with astonishment and disbelief; otherwise, this poor daughter is going to grow up thinking that this is even CLOSE to acceptable behavior.

    But then again, maybe this is why my wife doesn’t let me interact with the public. 🙂

  2. Alisa says:

    I think I like your wife, Jason. 🙂

    Ok, maybe I’m incorrect in saying that I didn’t tell her off because of her daughter. I think I held back because I was too dumbfounded to do much else. Oh, sure, I can think of a dozen responses right now, but I wasn’t nearly so quick on my feet at the time.

  3. That’s ridiculous. Both the behavior and having no idea that she and her daughter were about to consume more calories than you were. And I’m sure hadn’t worked out first. I can’t imagine the nerve of telling a stranger that they don’t have the right to eat what they want. I also can’t imagine thinking a teenager would be damaged by the sight of a stranger eating a scone. Kids need examples of people enjoying things in moderation.

    I also prefer to eat my calories, though I make an exception this time of year for eggnog lattes (one, so far). Mostly when I go to Starbucks I’m a coffee with a shot of hazelnut plus skim milk girl. It helps that my county requires everyone to post calorie counts for food and drinks on the menu board.

  4. Terzah says:

    Unsweetened black ice tea is my coffee shop drink of choice too! And I wish people would mind their own business in general when it comes to other people and what they are eating. I’d have been dumbfounded too. I hope that scone was tasty.

  5. Deidre says:

    Wow, Alisa. I just can’t believe this happened. You must have checked for a hidden camera! You demonstrated some really excellent restraint. I would have had a difficult time not flipping out. I agree 100%. Calories from food are far more fulfilling than calories from drink. She must have been really caught up in something to invade your morning peace like that. Thanks for sharing this eye-opening story!

  6. Alisa says:

    It was a pretty good scone. Pumpkin plus icing? How could I go wrong?

    Eggnog lattes are perfectly reasonable. I mean, really, all of the lecturing about what you should and shouldn’t eat during the holidays is nonsense. There are some really yummy things that are only available this time of year. I don’t believe in passing on any of them. Sure, you can skip the pie at Thanksgiving, but seriously, what kind of joyless life would you be living? Eat the damn pie. Life is about balance, and in my world balance can include fun stuff.

  7. Linny says:

    I’m with Jason.
    And I LOVE that you ate what you did, in your work out clothes, and hope you do it again! She wins if you don’t.
    thanks for sharing!

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