I love to cook all kinds of food. That wasn’t always the case, as when I first got married the only thing I knew how to make for a dinner meal was white rice and plain chicken. I couldn’t make dinner, but I sure could make some wicked desserts. Cakes with chocolate ganache, cookies simple and complex, pies, and more were well within my repertoire. As John and I traveled through our first years of marriage, I happily baked, went out to eat, and put on some weight, unaware of the extreme weight gain looming around the corner.
I baked unceasingly, one amazing dessert after another. We wouldn’t even have time to finish one dessert before I’d be pulling the next one out of the oven. When I got pregnant with my first daughter, and gained 75 pounds, I drowned my stress in chocolate. I continued baking, gaining, gorging and gaining. I couldn’t seem to stop making desserts. And unfortunately for me, I couldn’t stop eating them either.
For the years after her birth, but before I started losing weight, I baked with abandon. If anyone needed cookies for an event, they knew who to call. I’d happily bake their cookies, eat them all, and bake another batch. When I got stressed over my weight, I’d bake a cake. Fruitless clothes shopping trips to the mall made me depressed, so I made cookies when we got home. That was of course, after eating a Cinnabon or two at the mall. Baking was a salve, and a way to show my family I loved them.
But was it really showing them I loved them? Or was it pulling them along my unhealthy road one bite at a time? As I started on my own personal odyssey to lose 150 pounds by using my Fit to the Finish plan, I made a radical shift in many different areas of my life. I exercised, I ate good food, and I put the brakes on baking. As the first few weeks went by, and I began to see results not only on the scale, but in my mind, I understood for the first time that encouraging my family to eat desserts all the time wasn’t good for them, or for me.
I stopped baking desserts, reserving the spectacular showpieces for holiday celebrations, and family gatherings. It was hard for John. He loved homemade desserts, and for a while I think he believed I’d never bake again. But he soon understood that I was limiting baking not only for my weight, but his health.
I learned that I could show my love for my family in ways that didn’t involve sugar. Just by being more available to them emotionally, and spending quality time with them, I showed them my love. Baking became secondary during the holiday season – still there – but not the focus.
I’ve had women in my weight loss classes who said, “I don’t think I can keep up with your plan because I really like to bake.” I understand where they are coming from because I felt the same way. But you can lose weight, get healthy and quit constantly baking.
Do I ever bake now? Yes! Just the other day I made a chocolate pie for dessert. And with so many people in the family, the pie was gone in one night. No tempting leftovers, no “bites to go” while passing through the kitchen. All gone.
One thing I learned about myself during my journey was that making decisions about cooking and baking for the family aren’t always easy choices. Changing your family’s expectations can be difficult. I’d encourage you to involve your family as you work on making healthy lifestyle changes. Perhaps baking isn’t your thing. Maybe you like to cook with a lot of oil (frying), or serve high calorie side dishes. Whatever your Achilles heel, it can be overcome, and compromised on.
Did you struggle with this issue as I did? How did you handle it? Diane