THE BLOG

A Reluctant Breakup With Starbucks

06/11/2015 12:14 pm ET | Updated Jun 11, 2016

"Starbucks made me fat." That was my original headline for this post. I changed it because I knew there would inevitably be a flurry of comments made by people who didn't read further than the headline and would Social Media Shame me (today's version of being tar-and-feathered) for not taking responsibility for my weight gain.

They wouldn't read any further to find out that while I do realize that I'm the reason I got fat, I'm also aware that my Starbucks habit was a major player for me in my weight gain.

Don't get me wrong: this is not a hate message toward Starbucks.

In fact, I'm desperately in love with Starbucks. Even after breaking up with them, I still love them. That first sip of their rich, full-bodied coffee on my palate goes down like a silky, satin liquid straight from Heaven.

Just walking into a Starbucks has such a positive effect on my mood. I'm visualizing myself right now walking slow-mo into my local Starbucks, eyes closed, sucking in as big a whiff as I can take of that dreamy cloud of the rich, luscious coffee aroma. (Ohmygawd, is that what I look like when I go in there?)

Part of the problem (my problem, anyway) is that I was getting their delicious flavored coffees. The ones with the squirt of stuff in them. My go-to was the iced grande mocha, half-caf, non-fat, no whip.

My gawd, it's delicious.

But it's not just about the coffee. Or their pastries. Holy Lord, I love baked goods. Their pumpkin loaf... well, I can't even talk about it.

It's the people there. They've got this customer service thing down.

When I first decided to make some lifestyle changes, I knew that my daily Starbucks would have to be one of the first to go. I decided to cut down my visits to just a few times per week.

I seriously went through withdrawals. Not coffee withdrawals. I missed the people. I missed walking in and having them refer to me by name, and starting to mix up my coffee order, without having to ask.

They knew me. They loved me. Just like I loved them.

That's how I felt, anyway.

It sounds really weird, but that was a big part of why I had a hard time cutting back on my Starbucks visits. But I managed, and on those in-between days, I tried making my own homemade versions of the Starbucks coffees I loved.

As I slowly weaned myself off of the daily Starbucks visits, I noticed that when I did go there, the coffees started tasting a bit too sweet. This was a great break-through! It didn't make sense for me to go so often if I actually preferred my own coffee recipes.

I've managed to come up with a few "Starbucks Hacks," which I'll share with you, in case you find yourself in the same boat I was in, and need to cut out the coffee shop visits.

I do still occasionally go to my local Starbucks for meetings with clients or friends. I don't get the fancy flavored coffees, anymore, though. I get an iced latte and add a packet of Sugar in the Raw. So delicious!

Here are the recipes I promised you. To get the full-bodied flavor of a "real" Starbucks, use K-Cups that are as strong as you can find. I typically use Donut Shop Dark or Starbucks French Roast Dark.

I only drink hot coffee in the very depths of winter, which lasts a couple of short minutes here in Texas. The recipes below are for my beloved iced coffees, but you can modify them to make hot, if you prefer. Just skip the ice and increase the brewed coffee to 6- to 8-oz.

Iced Latte made with the Keurig
Fill a 16 oz cup about 2/3-full of ice; set aside
In a separate cup, brew a cup of coffee on the 4-oz or 6-oz setting (depending on how strong you take your coffee)
Pour the brewed coffee over the ice in your original cup
Top with 2% milk (or almond milk for a richer taste)
Add sugar to taste

Iced Mocha made with the Keurig
Fill a 16 oz cup about 2/3-full of ice; set aside
In a separate cup, brew a cup of coffee on the 4-oz or 6-oz setting (depending on how strong you take your coffee)
While coffee is brewing, in a small bowl, mix 2 tablespoons Starbucks Mocha Powder and 2 tablespoons warm water; stir until consistency of syrup
Pour chocolate syrup into the brewed coffee; stir thoroughly.
Add a bit of sugar or sweetener
Pour the brewed coffee + chocolate syrup mixture over the ice in your original cup
Top with 2% milk (or almond milk for a richer taste)

These recipes can also be modified to work with Starbucks Via, their instant coffee that - trust me - does not taste like instant coffee. It's divine.

Iced Half-Caf Mocha* made with Starbucks Via
Heat an ounce or two of water
Pour half a packet of Columbia Roast or Italian Roast Via and half a packet of Decaf Via into a coffee cup
Add a splash of hot water and stir until dissolved (Via is ultra-finely ground, so it'll dissolve almost immediately after adding hot water)
Add about 6-oz cold water
In a small bowl, mix 2 tablespoons Starbucks Mocha Powder and 2 tablespoons warm water; stir until consistency of syrup
Pour chocolate syrup into the coffee; stir thoroughly.
Add a bit of sugar or sweetener
Add a splash of 2% milk (or almond milk for a richer taste)
Add ice

*Starbucks sells a variety of Via products specially formulated for making iced drinks. I prefer not to use these because they have more caffeine than the regular formulas (I lovelovelove my coffee, but I'm like a delicate little peach, when it comes to caffeine, and their iced varieties make me jittery), and they add sugar. I prefer to be in control of the amount of sugar I add.

I hope you try these and love them as much as I do. Make sure you let me know what you think - I'd love to hear from you!

Kristan Braziel is a writer, speaker, and entrepreneur based in Austin, Texas, with her husband and their four children (two are human, the other two are Lab-mix rescues).

A regular contributor to HuffPost, Kristan writes articles on marketing, small business, parenting, and weight loss. Visit her at KristanBraziel.com, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.