I enjoy cooking all kinds of food, but I especially love baking. Unfortunately for me, the foods associated with the word bake aren’t on many weight loss food lists. You never see cake, pies, and cookies on the “must include” list of any diet plan. If you love to bake and are trying hard to lose weight, I want you to know you can have both: a love of baking and successful weight loss. Losing weight is about calorie reduction, but it is also about taking a hard look at your lifestyle, your food habits, and the emotions that drive those choices. Although you may not think baking falls into one of these categories, it really does.
Baking to Show Love
For many people, baking is a way to show love. Showering family and friends with cookies, cakes, and delectable desserts is their way of giving something special to people they love. It was to me. I baked unceasingly, one amazing dessert after another. We wouldn’t even have time to finish one dessert or give it away to friends before I’d be pulling the next one out of the oven. It makes sense that this is a common reason to bake. Preparing and sharing food for other people is a way of creating a bond and satisfying a physical need. The famous Norman Rockwell Thanksgiving illustration that shows a loving family gathered around a Thanksgiving table depicts this perfectly.
Baking to Satisfy Emotions
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. I was baking to calm myself down and then eating most of the brownies or cookies to relieve stress. Predictably, I continued to gain weight and baked all the more in a fruitless attempt to stop feeling bad about how I looked and felt.
Baking to show your family love or baking as a way to soothe your own feelings is backward thinking. It really is. Answer this question: Are you really showing your family you love them by baking high-calorie desserts? Or are you pulling them with along with you on your unhealthy eating path one bite of brownie at a time? It’s a hard question to answer. After a lot of soul-searching, I realized that baking didn’t equal love. I wasn’t doing my family or friends any favors by showering them with spectacular desserts. Instead, I was adding unnecessary calories and unhealthy ingredients to their diet. I came to the point where I realized it would be more loving to focus on spending more time with the people I loved, finding nonfood ways to support them, and make healthy rather than unhealthy foods. As far as the emotional component, baking doesn’t fix your stress, stop you from worrying about your finances, or make your life better. Instead, if you bake and then eat most of your creations as I did, you are putting a roadblock in front of your weight loss plan every time you pull cookies or cakes out of the oven. Once I came to these realizations, I stopped baking all the time, and I hope you will as well. I still bake on occasion. I make amazing birthday cakes for family, have made a few wedding cakes, and occasionally make a homemade dessert just because it’s Tuesday. But gone are the days when I made cookies for the neighbors and ate half, created huge homemade desserts every night for us, and a cooked a pan of brownies on the side just for me. What a relief those days are gone forever. If you enjoy baking and end up eating more of your creations than you should, be honest with yourself. Put a moratorium on everyday baking and see if your family and friends love you any less. After a few weeks, you might notice you have less of a craving for sugar and are seeing the scale move down. It’s a win-win for you and for the people you used to shower with baked goods.