Your love of baking is not the problem

Our newest Weighless members have just begun their year-long program. They’re getting to know each other and sharing their stories in the member forum. And several of them have mentioned the same obstacle to weight loss:

“My problem has always been that I just love to bake,”  one said, prompting a rousing chorus of “Me too!”

Man, can I relate.  I was also an avid baker in my 20s. I baked bread, pies, biscotti, scones, biscuits, you name it.  Around the holidays, I turned into a one-woman cookie factory. I took great pride in my creations and got a lot of positive strokes from my friends and family.  Who doesn’t love the friend, sister, or co-worker that’s constantly showing up with fresh-baked bread and cookies? (At least, that’s what I told myself.)

I loved the science and chemistry, the feel of springy dough under my hands, the yeasty scent, the beautiful end product.   All the things that we bakers say we love about baking.

The problem was that I also loved to eat bread, pies, cakes, and cookies.  I baked a lot. I ate a lot of baked goods. With predictable results.

And I finally realized that if I wanted to weigh less, I might need to bake less.

The less I baked, the fewer baked goods I ate. With predictable results.

I still bake for special occasions. Dad gets a rhubarb pie every Father’s Day. I make Challah bread for Easter brunch. (Yes, I get the irony.)   And if I decide to make cookies for the holidays, I’ll choose just one or two of the family favorites instead of all ten.

And you know what?  My family didn’t stop loving me. My friends didn’t stop inviting me over. Holidays are still special. And I have found new ways to be creative in the kitchen.

Time that I used to spend feeding my sourdough, I now spend rinsing my sprouts. Instead of making cookies, I make seed crackers.  Instead of kneading dough, I’m pickling carrots. Instead of trying out new pastry recipes, I try out new soup recipes.

It’s OK to love baking, or cooking, or even eating. But when our pursuit of that activity becomes an obstacle to our well-being, it’s no longer a hobby or an enthusiasm.  It’s a way to abandon ourselves.  A way to excuse or justify poor choices.

Now, you may be one of those rare creatures that can bake up a storm and never over-indulge.  But if you’re more like me, you might want to experiment with the notion that that you can love baking just as much but do it much less often.  You might like the results.

3 thoughts on “Your love of baking is not the problem”

  1. I gave the same issue with other hobbies: how many crocheted blankies does one actually need? So I found a good charity to donate my handmades to. The same can be done with food: police/fire stations, assisted living homes, hospitals, and the like. But check first before donating because there can be rules.

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  2. I love baking, but whatever I bake gets sliced and put into the freezer. This way there is no pressure to eat it all before the article gets stale. My freezer is full of a variety of things so that whatever my mood, there is something that I fancy in there at any given time.

    In many recipes I replace the butter with oil in the hope of reducing saturated fat. I replace sugar with xylitol and/or coconut sugar (made from the nectar of the coconut flower). Both of these have a much lower GI and also fewer calories than cane sugar. The coconut sugar has a lovely caramel flavour and is a perfect substitute for brown cane sugar.

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  3. I agree, essentially. If I bake, I try to make sure I can give the food away – either within the family (my kids are nearby and in their 20’s) or by taking it to some event.

    That said, cooking just doesn’t satisfy the chemistry nerd in me the way baking does. Baking feels like magic, and cooking feels ordinary by comparison. I realize that it isn’t healthy to surround myself with things I should only consume rarely and in small amounts, but it still causes me grief to avoid baking. C’est la vie, eh?

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