Bagels have positive and negative effects on me. This may sound odd, that a bagel could elicit so much emotion from me, but allow me to explain. It’ll make sense, I promise.
When I was 17, the summer before my senior year of high school, I used to go with my dad to work in Orange County. I was fortunate enough to take flight lessons at John Wayne Airport and while he was working, I would go poke holes in the sky. My dad and I would get breakfast every morning together and we always went to Einstein’s Bagels. I always got a sesame bagel with cream cheese and Dad got a sesame with hummus. He was trying to be healthier, you see.
I have always been a chatter box and I never realized until we started eating bagels together that my dad could be quite the talker too! We would talk while eating our bagels and soon the conversations started extending to down time in his office, then on the commute in the plane and then at home. I grew to really look forward to spending that time with my dad, and we learned much about each other. I felt much closer to my dad after that summer and really missed our bagel breakfasts when school started.
Fast forward a few years and I have just finished my first year of college. I was trying on some of my summer clothes and none of them fit. Almost my entire wardrobe was really tight on me. A year of margaritas every Friday and Saturday night, followed by fist-fulls of goldfish and sour patch kids had made me gain a some weight. About 15 pounds. How could I have not noticed this? Weight gain is tricky like that-it creeps up on you until suddenly, you have nothing to wear.
I started following a Weight Watchers diet and learned to count the points of my food. I also learned to ignore my hunger on a consistent basis. I didn’t occur to me that if I was hungry, I could still eat a little more and lose weight. I had 20 points to eat for the day and I’d be damned if I went over it. I would lose this weight and my clothes would fit me again.
My love for bagels came to a stand still during Weight Watchers. Bagels weren’t something I just ate with my dad; my mom always made them for breakfast for us before school and there was always a steady supply in the freezer. I learned that a bagel could be anywhere from four to six points and decided that they weren’t worth it. When I only had 20 points a day, six points is a lot to spend on one thing. Someone in a Weight Watchers group also pointed out that eating a bagel was like eating three or four slices of bread at once and in my mind, that seemed like too much.
These days, I have overcome my disordered thinking about eating. (It wasn’t just bagels that I thought negatively about.) It took much hard work and was quite an emotional journey, but I can now say that no food is “off limits” to me and that I don’t categorize food like that. Except bagels. For some reason, bagels are still a gray area for me. It’s too many carbohydrates. It doens’t fill me up. Cream cheese isn’t good for you. It’s still the one food I struggle with sometimes.
Yesterday morning, a bagel sounded amazing. So, I went and got the boyfriend and I Einstein’s bagels. I got an everything bagel with cream cheese. At first, I thought I would just eat half, save the rest for later. I didn’t need to eat all that bagel. But, I ate the whole thing. I wanted to eat it, and that’s what was important. I took my bagel out of it’s bag and smelled the hot, herby and salty bread against the subtle cream cheese and was 17 again. The Orange County fog is low to the ground, but the orange sun is just bursting through, right as Dad and I walk into Einstein’s. It’s quiet because Dad and I are the only ones in the shop. We’re talking about my upcoming pattern solo and why I’m having trouble achieving the perfect landing.
Happy eating this weekend! Eat a bagel!