Seeing myself through ugly pancakes

My Sunday began with weight gain and an ugly pancake.

After two weeks of little daily splurges here and there – an activity I typically reserve for only the weekend – my mind and body battled with the degree of necessity to step on the scale Sunday morning. I know, I know, I’m not supposed to be fixated on the scale. I’ve preached against it many times. But I think we all know how hard it is to not worry about the number. I wasn’t too devastated, though, when I calculated only gaining 0.6 lb since Friday.

Probably just water weight, I thought as I drove to the gym, ready to focus on a high-intensity workout with strength training and cardio interspersed. Pectoral flys, high knees, lat pulldowns, ab twists, bicep curls, lunges and more. My light gray Batman T-shirt revealed my hard work with spots of darkness at my back and – gross as it is – under my arms.

Just out of curiosity, I weighed again when I got home right before I stepped in the shower.

A gain of 0.8 lb. Since my last weigh-in an hour earlier. So almost a pound and a half since Friday. Considering the average person gains 1 lb a year, I was ahead of the game. What a mess…


So I showered and tried to put the weight gain out of my mind, telling myself the same things I type on this blog all the time (I’m a work-in-progress with my self confidence, what can I say?). I certainly didn’t want to ruin my appetite for chocolate pancakes I make myself every Saturday and Sunday morning. I was determined to enjoy those pancakes.

I mixed up and poured out beautiful round pancakes. Then I went to flip them. How they’ll turn out after that first flip is always a toss-up (get it?).

Here’s what happened:


“What a mess…” I said aloud, grappling with the spatula to get the uncooked parts of the pancake flipped over while keeping the cooked parts on top so they wouldn’t burn. Partially cooked batter clung to the spatula.

Then I stopped. And for the first time in my life, I saw myself through a pancake.

Not like seeing Jesus’ face in toast, mind you, but rather a metaphor.

In those very moments I was making pancakes, I was feeling bloated, chubby, gross, unattractive. Even after all that hard work – the same hard work I’ve put in countless times – I thought I was worse off than I was to begin with. My recipe for fitness didn’t seem to be working today. Yes, I was being hard on myself.

I looked at my attractive pancake and my ugly pancake. They came from the same recipe. In fact, I’d made the same thing less than 24 hours earlier, and those pancakes had turned out looking pretty. I used the same spatula to flip both pancakes, but one had just faltered a little. But when I scraped the partially cooked batter from the spatula, I realized that the ugly pancake, despite its ugliness, was still going to end up on my plate. The ugly pancake tasted just as good as my pancakes always do. The more I looked at it, the less I thought of it as simply an ugly pancake, and more of a little oopsie, a slip of the hand one day on one pancake.

Perhaps you see where I’m going with this.

Some days, we feel like we’ve never looked so good, like we’ve done all the right things and it’s paid off. On those days, we could just eat ourselves up. Other days, we feel like we look whopper-jawed, despite our best intentions. On those days, we may not even want to look at ourselves.

I had gotten at least 30 minutes of exercise every day last week, which is typical for me. Whether it was a walk at lunch, a run through the park, an intense strength training session or 50 minutes on the stationary bike, I put in the same ingredients to my fitness routine that I usually do. But I faltered a little, eating a brownie here or pumpkin muffins there when I wasn’t even hungry. So my result at the end of the week was, at first glance, undesirable. At second glance, though, I saw that I’d been able to challenge myself in my workouts lately without wanting to die, that “inside” I was doing fine (even had my blood pressure checked on Sunday, and the Walgreens worker’s exact words were “textbook perfect”). A little oopsie, a slip on the scale, was okay. It didn’t make me any less fit, any less attractive, any LESS.

Oh. And those pancakes were delicious.


In fact, if you’re curious, here’s the recipe:

1 large egg

1 large egg white

2 scoops plain protein powder

2 T cocoa

1 t baking powder

Splash of almond milk

1 t pumpkin (optional)

2 T chocolate powdered peanut butter, mixed up, for topping (optional)

Combine all ingredients except the peanut butter in a medium mixing bowl. Mix with a fork until well combined. Dip batter into two dollops on a lightly greased frying pan. Cook on medium heat until bottom is stiff and you can slide a spatula underneath. Flip. Cook on medium heat until pancakes are cooked through, though maybe slightly gooey along the center of the edges. Remove from pan and put on a plate. Spread peanut butter between and/or on top of pancakes.

Calories: 265, Carbs: 20 g, Fat: 10 g, Protein: 25 g, Sodium: 1,550 mg, Sugars: 5 g


3 Replies to “Seeing myself through ugly pancakes”

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