This morning I wanted an apple fritter. Actually I craved a fritter from Wawa, in all it’s oversized, doughy fabulousness. Like, very specific. I needed this one. For an hour or so while I thought about it, no other substitute would do. I also was out of coffee at home and needed to buy some. Wawa coffee is cheap but oh so wonderful. As I drove there, wrestling in my mind if I should allow myself a delicious, wheat-filled doughnut, I had so many thoughts. This quote above came to mind that I just saw on IG last night…now I had a decision to make.
It’s not life and death. I can have a doughnut if I want to. No one would care and they would just think it’s pretty normal for someone’s breakfast when stopping at a glorified (i.e. magical) gas station.
This I know. However, I also know how terrible I felt basically every other time I ate an apple fritter. At first the taste was incredible. It’s the slightest bit crunchy on the outside, pillowy on the inside, with hints of apple, cinnamon, and the best glaze over it all. But, within like 15 minutes, my throat hurt; I felt foggy; I was suddenly super lethargic; My eyes felt dryer. The rest of the day I ate completely gluten free and, even so, the next morning I still felt like I was coming down with something. I just felt pretty gross, almost like I was fighting off a cold.
As I pulled in to the parking lot, I thought about all of this. I also thought about the nice pumpkin spice oatmeal and strawberries I had packed for myself for breakfast, sitting in my lunch bag on my front seat. This moment was such a straightforward lesson in instant gratification and how it (usually) never serves us.
So I walked in, mostly sure I wouldn’t get a fritter, saw the $1 Any Size Coffee sign on the door (bonus!), and just bought my Cuban roast 24 oz. I did walk into one snack aisle, looked at the bars and cookies, searching for something G-free that might be a meager substitute but left with just the coffee. On the way to work I decided there are plenty of places I could get a gluten free/healthy-ish dessert. Not to mention just how many recipes I had saved on my Pinterest boards for, you guessed it, gluten free apple fritters. This is not the end all be all. There are plenty of other ways to get my fix that won’t leave me with a gluten hangover.
I know in the scheme of things this was not a hard decision but it got me thinking.
How many things do we do just for the instant rush of pleasure?
Then once it’s over, we crash and burn and feel worse off than we did before.
I know that there are many tough situations to navigate out there so why make it harder on myself by choosing the easy route? This isn’t always bad. Sometimes it’s nice to have my cup of hot coffee 10 minutes after I roll out of bed. It makes me happy. But, I think we all know just how precarious it can be to follow our every whim. I’m a big believer in following my instincts and all but that’s subtly different. My gut instinct knew having a doughnut would not make me feel good. My urge for instant gratification tried to tell me I deserved it, like the little devil on my shoulder waving a processed pastry in my face, saying it would make me feel better. This has been a long road to self-discovery when I turned to intuitive eating. It was about so much more than food. I was either restricting or going off the rails. And guess what? Neither made me happy or feel healthier. And eating “better” or eating “junk food” also doesn’t make me good or bad. But sometimes, discipline does make you a better person in the long run.
Why yes, the apple fritter is a metaphor. Hopefully you can relate it to something in your life that seems like the greatest idea of all time and then moments later leaves you sad and broken on the floor.
While I do believe there are things I need to get out of my system, I also know that some things aren’t worth the pain.
Life means I’m learning just how much I truly know what’s best for me, in food, in life, in everything, even if that might mean skipping the doughnut.