There's a commercial that keeps looping on Hulu. It's been driving me absolutely insane—and if you're familiar with Hulu, you are aware that they play the same commercials over and over. As though we didn't already feel guilty about marathon-watching an entire season of Sabrina, the Teenage Witch, Hulu has to rub their marketing tactics in our sweet, innocent faces.
"I. Love. Bread. I eat bread every day." She eats it every day, yet magically she still loses weight. She loves bread. Did you know that Oprah loves bread? She loves it. She eats bread. Every. Day.
"I eat bread every day."
Next to Dolly Parton and Girl Scout Cookies, "Oprah" is synonymous with "America." I have to give it to her; she's been publicly applauded and equally shamed for her lifelong struggle with weight. She tells us what to read, what to wear, how to live, and may or may not have her own cult. People care about what she has to say.
"I eat bread every day. And I lost weight."
I laughed the first time I saw this commercial, because I thought it was a joke. She says the word "bread" approximately 9,348,320 times. Not really—but the sentiment is there. Then I realized that it was no joke: the writers of the commercial clearly didn't bring their "A" game to the conference room that day. Or it was a Pavlovian-type experiment: Oprah's carb-fueled weight loss was the bell and we were her dog. Either way—it was annoying.
After the tenth viewing of this commercial during my Sabrina, the Teenage Witch marathon, I had an epiphany.
I love pastries.
We're talking next-level love. I love savory scones more than I love most people, and almost as much as I love Twin Peaks. I'd rather have a perfect bagel than a perfect steak. I could write epic poems about the "Rebel Within" from Craftsman and Wolves in San Francisco. I shed a tear the first time I tasted a chai tea scone from Old Soul, one of my favorite Sacramento spots. My heart was eternally broken when I tried the cinnamon toast at the Mill SF. I dream about Sunday morning waffles at the Mill in Sacramento.
I eat pastries and I still lose weight.
Here's the thing. I accidentally became a gym rat last summer. I wanted to "get in shape enough to learn how to climb," and in the course of that I managed to lose 30 pounds. I didn't realize I had it to lose (when you're a size 12 and you used to be a size 28, you still consider yourself pretty darn OK), but as I pedaled away to a couple of angry German industrial playlists on Spotify and lifted weights alongside lovable Crossfit bad-asses at my quirky little (giant) climbing gym, I realized that I didn't care what size I was whittling down to. Because I felt amazing. Working out unlocked this bizarre sense of euphoria for me, which I never had during the time I actually joined Weight Watchers (in their defense, it was pre-internet 2000s, when their meetings were strictly inside the basements of local churches).
I recently read an article in a fitness magazine (because apparently I read those now, too) about the art of "becoming picky." There's nothing wrong with indulging in good things: a slice of cherry pie, a donut, a cheeseburger—but you should be picky. If you want that slice of pie, make it the best damn piece of pie you can find in town. Make it your ritual, your little present to yourself every now and then.
I love pastries.
I didn't realize that over the past 9 months I'd adopted Oprah's philosophy that I can have my smaller pants and eat pastries, too. But they were going to be good pastries. I don't know what kind of bread Oprah is claiming to eat every day, but I have devoted my Saturday/Sunday mornings to finding the perfect pastry. Just like my coffee rituals, I have found another small joy to look forward to.
I may or may not have just celebrated my 30th birthday—the actual day of which I lovingly, longingly, and simply refer to as The Pastry Tour of 2016. Is it a coincidence, dear reader, that the Oprah Winfrey Show also celebrates its 30th Anniversary this year? I think not.
Is it the year of bread?
I think so. There's suddenly an abundance of gorgeous bakeries in this darn city overwhelming me with their enticing social media posts that make me want to cry fat, bready Mollie tears. But it's true what they say about finding a balance with indulgent treats—they taste better when you work for them. I know my favorite spin bike is always waiting for me at the end of these pastries: squeaky, slightly out of alignment, and frustratingly lovable, just like Oprah.