The one food that I love more than anything else in the world is a pretzel. Whether it is a soft pretzel eaten from a vendor on a busy city street, one at a sporting event, enjoyed covered with mustard and washed down with beer, or the Rold Gold pretzels at home in that beautiful yellow bag, I love ’em. L-O-V-E them. I also L-O-V-E the salt that covers them, adorning my pretzel so beautifully.
Also, a difficult concept for me to get behind is one of self-deprivation and that I must suffer in order to accomplish something good. (Note: Patrick often tells me that he blames his Catholic upbringing for his constant feeling that if he didn’t have to suffer for something, it isn’t worth having. I, on the other hand, do not believe that.) All of this is ultimately why I love the Weight Watchers program so much, because I can still enjoy my favorite foods, just in moderation. But enough about WW, this post is about my ongoing affair with pretzels.
Unfortunately, these past few weeks have taught me that despite how far I have come on the WW program, in controlling what I eat and my portion sizes, I do not think that I have the ability to control myself when it comes to pretzels. Or actually, as the case may be, the salt that adorns the pretzels.
Each big, beautiful Rold Gold pretzel is 2 Weight Watcher’s points. That isn’t bad, especially when I need my pretzel fix. However, the Weight Watchers Points system has yet to calculate and determine the amount of points associated with me licking my finger, running it through the salt on the bottom of the pretzel bag and then eating that. Repeat about 5 times and that is me on any given day when my hand hits the pretzel bag. Add in that my body seems to adore retaining water when I even look at salt, and I’m sure that you can follow along nicely with my point — > pretzels, no matter how much I build them into my Points system, end up causing me to gain weight when it is time for weigh-in day. I also get the unfortunate side effect of water weight being that I am bloated, which makes me crabby because I am uncomfortable and my clothes do not fit that well.
Well, the pretzel problem (“PP”), hit a head last week (when I initially started this post and then life got in the way of me finishing it) when I found that my engagement ring was a little bit tight on my finger. Not to the point where I couldn’t wear it, but definitely a little uncomfortable to get on and off. It wasn’t until I was sitting at work having a pretzel (perfect snack size, did I mention that?), and telling a friend about the ring issue, when she said “maybe it’s that pretzel you’re scarfing down.” WHAAAHHH? What you talking about Willis? Well, what she was talking about was 100 percent right — my salt consumption was off the charts (I’m like an alcoholic looking for my fix) and I was bloating up as a result of my affair with my beloved snack food. This, in turn, was affecting my hands too.
Enter: The Cure. I decided that to test this theory, I would go off pretzels for a week and see what happened — not too hard since I finished licking the salt out of the pretzel bag the night before and didn’t have more in the house, and they don’t sell my favorite kind at my local grocery store (I have to go a little farther for that). I went off the pretzels, didn’t have any for a week, and sure enough, as the days wore on, I felt better, less bloating, and surprise, surprise, my ring was comfortable to get on and off again!
The Breakdown: Last night, I ran into the grocery store for a few items on my way home from work. I was hungry, but stuck to my list UNTIL…..drumroll, please, I was in the frozen food aisle and the snack food aisle is on the other side, and shining down from that high shelf was the exact brand of pretzel that I ADORE — Rold Gold Sourdough with the white salt.
Before I knew what was happening, I threw a bag in my basket, was checking out and at home in my kitchen busting the bag open. Oh God, those pretzels were so fucking good, especially after a week of not having them and not having the salt. Intellectually, I knew that the pretzel incident would not turn out the way I wanted it to, no matter how many times I chanted “they’re just 2 points, they’re just 2 points.” Alas, I woke up this morning, got ready for work and went to put my jewelry on, and sure enough, the ring is a little tight again.
I’ve now recommenced my pretzel deprivation program and I am working on getting through it emotionally — a therapist may or may not be required, but I know I can prevail, so long as I don’t ever buy those pretzels again. I had expected to be a little upset about the fact that pretzels and I are going to have to break up, and angry at myself for not being able to control myself to even enjoy my favorite snack food in moderation, but I guess that is the point of all addict-recovery programs — you can’t have even a little bit. Pretzels, you are my downfall, and we cannot see each other anymore. My body will thank me, my sad Panda heart will not.