By Christopher Cudworth
When Monday rolls around much of the working world will run a gauntlet of food temptations. All sorts of weekend goodies show up in the morning cafeteria to tempt us in layers of delights even Dante’s Inferno cannot match in their debauchery. There may be cookies someone kindly brought to work and a bag of greasy donuts sitting there like circles of oozy sin. Cream-filled. Sugar coated. Frosted. Sprinkles.
But no more greater desecration of dietary discipline exists than the cinnamon roll.
The name sounds so innocent. Cinnamon roll. And there they sit there all spirally and delicious looking. Cinnamon oozing round the middle. Daring you to eat them.
Working it off. Not.
You may have come off a weekend where you rode 35 miles on Saturday in the cold and semi-rain. Followed by a Sunday run of 6 miles in which your tired legs begged you to stop. But you kept going. All in all, it was a good combo.
Yet you only lost a pound, when you were hoping for 3. Kept your chocolate intake to a minimum even though you had a headache as a result. Stayed away from chips and beer. Tried to savor the tired feeling on Sunday night, but almost gave into the Sunday binge that kills so many weekend warriors.
Rolling in the dough. Might as well.
Then Monday comes and you fire yourself up for work knowing you’ve done your best to use the training time well over the weekend.
Then there it sits at work. A tray of cinnamon rolls. You might as well go roll in the dough. It’s going to stick to you anyway. Like a carbo tar baby. The tarsnake of dietary joys and weaknesses. Yin and yang. A spiral of cinnamon signals your doom.
Rich in carbohydrates, fat and sugar. Cinnamon rolls are essentially a heart attack waiting to happen. Because it’s not just the fat you eat that clogs your heart. It’s the carbs you don’t burn off that turn into fat that clogs your heart. It’s a wicked little secret, only recently confessed, it seems, by the athletic world in general. For such a long time carbs were considered fuel, and fuel alone. Now they fuel fear of putting on the wrong kind of weight. No muscle. Just carb-based fat.
So many have gone before you
Yet you grab the cinnamon roll because just one can’t hurt you, right? You’ve eaten so many before.
In our high school cafeteria there were cinnamon rolls served every day. Yet not everyone knew about them, it seemed. You had to ask for them at the counter. They cost $.50 each. That was all. And they were so good.
In those days every carb counted on a body that was so thin, 6’1”, 128 lbs that to not eat meant a poor workout. So I’d eat cinnamon rolls with savory relish. And never put on a pound.
Then in college in Decorah, Iowa, there was this place called Ruby’s, a breakfast joint where farmers came to hog down pancakes, eggs and sausage. And cinnamon rolls. Big, frosting-covered cinnamon rolls. Holy crap were they good. Ronnie’s Rolls.
And just yesterday my wife and I needed an outing and drove to Breadsmith, a carbohydrate-based bakery in St. Charles, Illinois. And there, sitting like kernels of frosted lust, were rows and rows of cinnamon rolls.
But I only ate half of one this morning at breakfast. What discipline.
During my 3-mile run at a slow pace this afternoon, it dawned on me that my pace and distance were not enough to account for the calories ingested in that cinnamon roll. I was breaking even at best. But falling behind in terms of cinnamon discipline.
God may forgive us such sins. But our bodies don’t. Not really. It will take a 50-miler on the road bike next weekend to apologize. And a hard run the next day as well. Then my belly might accept my weakness for cinnamon rolls with a shake and a groan. Just please don’t do it again, my stomach and sides will say. Just not again.