Picture a circle. Perfectly shaped. Plump. With a hole in the middle. Fragrant. Soft. A bagel. A glorious portion of carbohydrates in an easy-to-hold shape. Plain or topped. Sliced or whole. Delicious.
I have been thinking about bagels a lot lately. Tortuous thoughts. A new bagel store opened up near my house. A store that I will not be stepping into any time soon. Not on my current low-carb lifestyle plan. No I will not!
I love bagels. But I love my clean eating more.
At one point in my life I could eat a bagel the way a bagel should be eaten – as a meal. Maybe I had a cinnamon raisin toasted with plain cream cheese slathered on top. Or pumpernickel with lox. Or any bagel baked for a few minutes until crispy on the outside, then hollowed out and filled with cottage cheese. Or as the bread for a sandwich. Or I ate my bagel as a snack alternative. Blueberry or pumpkin flavored, eaten whole but in little bites to make it last.
But then things changed. I don’t know exactly when, but I suspect it came sometime in the last few years after I was successful on my first South Beach diet attempt. A life without bagels – surely not. So after the weight was lost and I thought I could eat “regular” food again, I had a bagel. Which turned into two or three. No more moderate serving. Maybe it was low-carb backlash and a feeling of deprivation. Or the thought that the next day I should cut out bready foods again so I needed to get my bagel fix now! Three bagels in one day – yummy yes, healthy no.
Today as I passed by the new bagel store I could clearly picture myself, teeth tearing into a bagel, not savoring, but scarfing it down. Devouring it. Inhaling it. The image was scary. I knew that it meant that I need to avoid eating any until I can see myself partaking in a reasonable manner. One and only one. That day may arrive soon, or may take a long time to get here. I hope that eventually I can eat bagels again with restraint and as part of a healthy lifestyle. But for now, I know that moderation does not work for me. I can control my eating by controlling which foods go into my mouth (or stay as visions in my overactive imagination).
Maybe the day will never come when I feel that I can eat bagels again. I hope that is not the case. But if so, I would be okay with it. I would rather be thin then eat a bagel. Much as I love them, I love thin more. The few minutes of round bagel bliss would potentially translate to a much longer period of round me. Round is a perfect shape for food, but not for yours truly. I’m working on hourglass:)