Some of you, who know my history with this lovely round piece of baked dough, might be gasping now. For the rest of you, let me back up just a bit and fill you in.
I love bread. In pretty much all its forms. But maybe bagels most of all. Once upon a time, in my previous life of more normal eating, I ate bagels. Sometimes often, sometimes rarely, sometimes with cream cheese, sometimes plain. But always with moderation. A bagel here, a bagel there. Life was good.
But somewhere on the way to ending my crazy-ass yo-yo-hood, I lost the ability to enjoy a bagel nosh. Instead, eating bagels became one more casualty of my “all or nothing” mentality. Eating a bagel became an impossibility as eating a bagel became a binge. So, as I had done with pretty much all bread products, sometime in the past year or two I just decided to abstain from indulging. Yes, I missed them sometimes. Mostly I didn’t think about them. But when they were around me, I was always just a bit obsessed.
So fast forward to a dozen bagels in the house. My teen bought them for a sleepover he was having. I had a little drool moment the day he got them, particularly as I laid my hands on the yummy goodness when I bagged them in plastic to keep them from going stale overnight. But, they were earmarked for the teens. No problem. Fast forward further. The next day. Leftover bagels on the kitchen counter. Calling me. But the siren’s song had changed.
In the past, I had made bagels off-limits for myself. Eating none was much easier than eating one. But now I was “maintaining.” Now I was working on what the rest of my life would be like. I was still defining my own “normal” with food and eating. So the internal debate commenced:
“Could I eat ONE bagel? One would be normal. More normal than craving and ignoring.”
“One might lead to two. Better off none.”
“How will I ever know if I never try. Will I never eat another bagel again? Ever?”
“Maybe it doesn’t matter. I’m happier this way. I don’t want to go back.”
“Isn’t it smarter to know? To trust myself?”
“I don’t trust myself.”
And on and on. Honestly, when I think back on it, I really was struggling with the whole idea. What was the “right” thing to do. But, also, maybe a little part of me was looking for an excuse to eat a bagel! To rationalize what maybe for me was not rational.
For hours, those bagels mocked me. Wise Karen decided they were better left alone. Then, the other Karen came out to play. It was the end of the evening, when snacking is always more of an issue for me. I knew that I’d eaten well all day and I knew that, if you do the calorie math, I had room to spare. I knew that I wanted a bagel. I could not stop thinking about it. I gave in. I tried one bite, just to be sure it was going to be worth it. It was.
O.M.G. There is something for me about the texture of bagels and bread. Love it. I’m almost shuddering as I type about it! I ate it, slowly. Enjoyed every bite. Mostly. Because in the back of my head I was already over-thinking. And wondering how much regret, if any, I would feel. I stopped with that one bagel. “Not so bad,” I told myself. “I can eat something I thought I might not be able to eat. With moderation.”
But then it hit me. At 2:30 in the morning on my way back from my nightly bathroom visit. The guilt. The regret. How ridiculous that I lay awake in bed at that hour wishing I had not eaten the darn bagel. And writing this post in my head.
Here’s the thing… In the light of day, I have very mixed feelings about this. Still. That same debate is going on. The one about trusting myself. The one about living a lifestyle; finding a lifestyle that I can maintain. Does it include bagels? Honestly, I still don’t know. But the fact that I am so uncertain and still feeling some regret makes me think that maybe I should go back to my happy place: my bagel-free place. Oh I just don’t know. The fact that I am beating myself up over this, even just a bit, makes me wonder. Maybe I need to instill a bagel day each week, like so many other bloggers have done. That might change my paradigm and free me to indulge, knowing that it’s part of my “plan.” Maybe not. After all, the bagels I like are refined carbs and I’m trying to eat less of those.
See how I’m torturing myself with my thinking!? Arrrrgh.
Okay. It’s only a bagel. But wait. Is it only a bagel, or is it really a symptom of my bigger issues with food? Enough thinking for me for now. My brain might explode or I might ramble on forever!
Do you ever have internal debates in your own head?