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Pretzels of DOOOOM

January 25, 2008

I was so happy when I discovered the fatosphere and learned about health at every size and intuitive eating. Finally I don’t have to restrict myself with ridiculous rules and then feel like crap when i don’t follow them.

But it turns out that that is easier said than done. As Coffee and Cocktails pointed out the other day, it is one thing to say you eat without rules and another to do it. This whole intuitive eating thing is HARD. And I struggle every time I eat something that is crap not to beat myself up about it.

Which brings me to the Pretzels of Doom. Auntie Anne’s. They have a stand in the train station right next to my train. Let me tell you, those pretzels are AMAZING. I cannot stress this enough for people who have not had them. My favorite is the classic which is soft and warm and buttery and covered in salt, and warm and jsut completely delicious, when paired with a lemonade it is an amazing snack.

The thing is, I get them way too often. And every time some combination of the following thoughts is going through my head:

“I freaking love these pretzels.”

“I just will eat less at dinner cause I wont be as hungry this way.”

“That guy is clearly thinking that this fat girl should not be eating a pretzel.”

“This is my last pretzel this week.”

“I’m totally allowed to eat this I should not be feeling bad about eating food I love.”

And then I feel guilty after, I feel guilty for eating the pretzel while being fat, and I also feel guilty for feeling guilty because I’m supposed to just be eating what I want and not beating myself up about it. And it is just one big disaster.

But wow do I love those pretzels.


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  1. ZOMG Auntie Anne’s!!!

    I worked at one of those for a little less than a year. They told me when I started that I would get sick of the things. For the record? I STILL absolutely love the cinnamon-sugar (and even more the seasonal Maple Crumb).

  2. I hear you, honey. I struggle with it, too.

    But here’s the thing: you’re operating on a false premise, to wit, “I eat them way too often.” Who says? How often is too often? That’s where the spiral starts. And I really believe that (absent an identifiable eating disorder) the only way out is through — meaning the first step is to eat as many freakin’ pretzels as you want. Eat them every day. Eat two at once. Whatever you want — don’t worry yet about whether it’s what your body truly craves. If you want it, eat it.

    As hellfury says, you might never get sick of them, but ime, that’s what helps you lose the “OMG PRETZEL MUST HAVE ONE – NO! MUST NOT!” train of thought. If you actually eat them whenever you want, you stop seeing them as special and semi-forbidden. So eventually, you learn the difference between, “Damn, I really want a pretzel” and “THERE’S THE PRETZEL STAND! I HAVE TO HAVE ONE! IT MIGHT NOT BE THERE TOMORROW!”

    Or, at least, that’s the theory. And I’ve definitely seen it work for me with several foods I used to virtually fetishize — though of course, YMMV.

    BTW, I totally don’t mean to tell you you’re doing it wrong or something, because I think it’s an excellent point that feeling guilty about feeling guilty is a nasty side effect of the first stages of learning to do this. Last thing I want to do is make you feel more guilt! Just saying… I think really learning to let yourself eat whatever the hell you want can be the most daunting part of intuitive eating. But I also think you’ve got to do it to get to the point where you actually know what your body wants.

  3. Yay! Thanks for coming to my blog Kate! You’re the awesomest! (Are you tired of people telling you how awesome you are yet? I hope not because I have a feeling it’s going to be happening like… forever.)

    I’m trying, it’s just so hard to deprogram all that “this is okay, this isn’t” crap. I mean sure, in theory I know that I”m allowed to eat them so it is no big deal, but, in practice that doesn’t seem to be working out just yet. Plus, I’m a recovering catholic, so basically I have to work through a lot of shame and guilt about doing anything enjoyable ever, which just compounds the eating issues.

    Someday the mere sight of an Auntie Annes will not send me into a spiral of guilt and other stupid emotions, I am eagerly working towards that day. Though I am happy to say that I ate a huge plate of nachos for dinner and I’m feeling really good about it. Mmmm Nachos.

  4. fillyjonk permalink

    I suggest visiting with the pretzels. One of the things I like to do is visit the bakery section when we go to the grocery store, just to remind myself that I could have things if I wanted to. Dan doesn’t understand it — he’s like “but you don’t WANT these things, they are BAD CAKE, you like GOOD CAKE.” And I say “I know, but I COULD have them if I WANTED to.” When I was a kid I felt guilty even looking at the stuff in the bakery section, so it’s a big deal.

    Not that it’s a bad idea to just eat a pretzel when it pops into your head to have a pretzel, until you get tired of pretzels and start having an easier time distinguishing between seeing one and wanting one. But I’ve found that just reminding myself that I can have a food, without actually having it, is cheaper and less likely to result in stomachaches.

  5. I know I’m really late to the game on this post, but Auntie Anne’s is my Achilles heel. Actually, most salted soft pretzels fall into that category, but Auntie Anne’s more than all the rest. Every other Tuesday night or so we go to the movies because the theater in the mall has half-priced tickets on Tuesdays. There’s an Auntie Anne’s on the 2nd floor of the mall that literally fills up the entire place with the intoxicating fragrance. And every time we go to the movies I say to myself, I’m having a pretzel and I won’t feel guilty, and I do and I don’t. Yay! That’s my version of intuitive eating. 🙂

    Warning if you have a sweet tooth at all: my husband had me try some of his cinnamon sugar pretzel last week and it was kind of like a donut. A sugary, buttery donut.

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