The other day, I was truly relishing a fresh poppy seed bagel (OK, I ate two) with regular cream cheese. It was warm and that perfect combination of chewy and soft, and I was pleasantly very full after I finished. I remember eating a whole bagel, thinking I was not quite satisfied, making the other half, then checking in, and finally eating the last half. I noticed also that I was not hungry until dinner time, about 6 1/2 hours later, which is odd for me since I usually am hungry for a small snack with my daughter at about 4…
Anyway, as I was enjoying this bagel treat, I had a flashback to the whole “Eat This Not That” book series that I remember seeing initially years ago. It seemed like every picture compared a bagel with cream cheese to some whopping amount of food with the same calories that was more “nutritious.”
But, what if what I really want and will really enjoy is that, not this? What if I settle for this and then feel upset, or deprived, because what I really wanted was that? (Read this post about a study on the feelings of deprivation and how it might increase hunger.)
So, while I think it is interesting to compare the type of photo, in case that is not what you are really hungry for, but you are settling for it because you can’t think of anything else, and this is really something that does sound appealing, and it’s an interesting way of thinking about nutrition, and fullness and satisfaction. Or use the book because you are choosing that because you think it is “better for you” than this (as in the case of many fast-food “healthy” options that contain as many calories or fat as a less “healthy” option. Though this kind of thinking leans toward externally driven eating vs. internally…)
But, if you feel anxious, or deprived, or upset, or triggered by anything about this book, by the directive tone of the title, by the fact that it doesn’t take into account what you are looking forward to eating (appetite) or hungry for, or internal cues— skip it, and pick up a fun cook book instead if you’re looking for inspiration.
Be curious, tune in to your body. While I “knew” that eating two bagels with cream cheese wasn’t the most balanced or “correct” lunch, I sure as heck enjoyed it, have learned to give myself permission, and then observed my hunger etc. for the rest of the day. I’ve learned to trust that my body will figure it out, especially if I don’t let the head game get in the way. That’s a whole lot more pleasant, and eating competent it turns out, than forcing myself to eat an egg-white omelet with turkey bacon while pining for a bagel, which I then think about compulsively until I get one, and then maybe eat three or four… (Like the experience I described in my review of The End of Overeating when the author denies himself the ice-cream he so desires and has a miserable weekend obsessing about the ice-cream….)
What do you think? Do you like the Eat This Not That series? What’s your favorite bagel, and topping? (I love plain regular cream cheese, but I will also lick my chops over plain cream cheese, thinly sliced onion, tomato slice and ham. Reminds me of Zingerman’s in Ann Arbor…)