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Old 07-12-2011, 10:49 AM   #1
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Default Hobbies getting in the way?

Does anyone else have a hobby that can sometimes or often get in the way of staying on plan?

My hobby is obvious plan-buster: baking. I started baking (like from scratch - I don't have my own cows or hens to make the milk and eggs or a wheat field for the flour, but you get the idea) when I was 14 or 15, and I have a strong talent for it and really love to do it - experiment with new recipes and such. I even considered becoming a pastry chef, and I really want to do the two year pastry chef program at Johnson & Wales one day still. But, obviously, to get the best results, you have to use the best - and therefore unhealthy! - ingredients. I always use real sugar, often real butter, etc. Sometimes, I can resist eating the things I make, like if I am making them for someone else or for a special occasion. All of my family and friends each get one baked good of their choosing for Christmas, and sometimes people choose things I don't like (for example, my friend, Adam, wanted something with pumpkin in it last year - I don't do pumpkin), so it is easy to resist. But, most of the time, I at least lick the spoon or the beaters, if not have a little dough or a cookie after I'm done. I have a MEGA sweet tooth, and I like almost any kind of dessert (so it is rare that I'm baking something I'm not going to like myself).

Most of the time I just avoid baking because I know it will ruin my diet, but avoiding baking also make me sad. I just get so much joy out of making something that people enjoy. And I don't get the same rush from cooking, maybe because I am not nearly as good at it.

Do you have hobbies that interfere with weight loss and, if so, how do you cope with them? Do you still do them? How do you do them and not let them impact your plan? Have you replaced them with something healthier and, if so, how?
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Old 07-12-2011, 11:37 AM   #2
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lI like to bake, too. I probably don't bake as much as you do, but I still make pies and cakes for my DH, and goodies for Christmas gifts for my friends.

I also work in the Kitchen Guild at our church, preparing and serving meals to the many groups that meet at our church. My specialities for the Kitchen Guild are pies and breads.

No, I no longer taste what I bake. As a diabetic the breads and sweets are completely off my healthy eating list. But I remember how they taste, and I chew a lot of gum to keep me from taste-testing what I bake.

It works for me.
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Old 07-12-2011, 01:13 PM   #3
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A friend of mine who is similarly talented in the kitchen department is always making pastries and sweetmeats and cakes and biscuits and all sorts. She feeds other people with them. She takes them to work and feeds them to the scientists in the lab, who adore her for it. She goes to play readthroughs and brings themed food. Admittedly she's not exactly skinny, but I don't think this is the reason, I reckon she just cooks too much delicious food at home as well.

Anyway, do you have the time and interest to join some sort of social group where you could bring along your baking? I used to make little Middle Eastern pastries and such for the LGBT women's group I went to as a student, and was lovely and slim back then, not to mention having great fun. Plus people tend to adore you when you turn up with food of that sort!

I composed music quite enthusiastically as a teenager, and it always made me ravenously hungry. I'd keep going back and forth between the fridge and the piano. I was still very active at that age, though, so it didn't cause a problem.

These days my main hobby is quilting, and while it satisfies the creative urges, you can't eat while you're sewing, especially not if you don't want to damage the quilt.
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Old 07-12-2011, 02:02 PM   #4
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I am a cook, I love to cook, Bittman's How to Cook Everything sits right by my stove and every meal is from scratch.

I prefer Chinese, Japanese, and Vietnamese cooking. Indian and Middle Eastern are something I am getting more into.

Have you considered trying out other cuisines, that focus more on vegetables/steaming methods? You shouldn't give up baking if you are good at it and like it - but perhaps you could reserve one particular day for baking and try out other things too?

I also chose weightlifting as my other hobby to try and balance them out, HAH
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Old 07-12-2011, 02:06 PM   #5
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I bake during the holidays, but the most joy for me comes from giving the treats away. Can't help it! I love giving out sweets and baking for others. For some reason when I think of them as gifts it's easier for me to resist eating a cookie, because they "aren't mine".

I have a hobby that makes moving difficult: Gaming! I play games that I sit down and concentrate on, so it takes some willpower to get my butt up and move. Gaming is great fun, but I'm having to take great care to make sure that my gaming is worked around my fitness routine... and not the other way around!
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Old 07-12-2011, 02:39 PM   #6
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I'm a baker, a griller, a multi-ethnic cuisine cook. I just love to work with food. I bake all our family's bread (which I can no longer eat). I make and decorate all our cakes (have done a few paid gigs as well) which I no longer eat, and things like pies, cookies, strudels, etc. All from scratch, all using REAL ingredients (I don't do margarine, fake fats and if it calls for milk, it's organic whole milk, etc).

But if you love to bake, you love to create, so delving into other types of food should be easy. Try becoming a master at the grill (love the book, "Tame the Flame). If you love ethnic foods, learn how to make them at home. My new passion is Indian food as I can make lots of beans/lentils, etc that are full of flavor, is very creative and good for me. (I just skip the rice and breads).

And I bake for other people - not myself. My husband and kids sometimes, but I'll volunteer to make the 100 cookies for the holiday fund raiser and so on. LOTS of ways to explore and learn more!
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Old 07-12-2011, 04:15 PM   #7
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Quote:
I have a hobby that makes moving difficult: Gaming! I play games that I sit down and concentrate on, so it takes some willpower to get my butt up and move. Gaming is great fun, but I'm having to take great care to make sure that my gaming is worked around my fitness routine... and not the other way around!
My boyfriend has the same issue! He's a big gamer, and he struggles to stop playing and get up and go to the gym.

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Originally Posted by berryblondeboys View Post
But if you love to bake, you love to create, so delving into other types of food should be easy.
Not true at all. I am not very good at cooking at all. I enjoy it, but I'm no good. There's some fundamental differences between baking and cooking.

Quote:
And I bake for other people - not myself. My husband and kids sometimes, but I'll volunteer to make the 100 cookies for the holiday fund raiser and so on. LOTS of ways to explore and learn more!
I think this is what I'm going to have to do - bake for other people. It won't help me to stop munching while I'm making them, but I can keep myself from eating the results.

Thanks for all of the advice everyone! Sounds like baking for other people is the way to go.
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Old 07-12-2011, 04:24 PM   #8
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Eating used to be a hobby of mine. Don't laugh!

Seriously, when Boyfriend and I first got into a relationship we spent a lot of time going out to dinner to spend time with each other and getting to know each other. As our relationship progressed we continued to branch out and experiment with different types of food and we both still enjoy doing that. I love going out to restaurants and trying something that I've never had before.

Unfortunately, I've had to cut back on doing this A LOT because of diet and finance. It's probably for the best and I have tried to switch to more experimental home cooking, but it's so hard to know what the dishes are supposed to taste like when you're substituting ingredients for healthier options.
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Old 07-12-2011, 04:24 PM   #9
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I feel your pain! I looooovee baking. Fresh, from scratch cakes, to be specific.

When I bake now, I stick to cakes. Cant snack on the finished product like you can cookies I chew gum while I'm cooking, and empty spoons, bowls, etc. go directly into the sink to be filled with water before I can lick them clean. When I trim the top of my cakes, I dump the trimmed part directly into sink (already full of water). Frosting is harder, since it tends to sit around longer, but I make the frosting right before I frost the cake, and dump the extras (Also, this is where gum comes in handy)

If I'm making a new recipe, I will taste a bite. But, I only need a taste to knoe if its good, not a whole bowl of frosting/leftover batter etc. I also have started focusing on having more fun decorating them, which seems to keep my mind more occupied and less hungry.

Good luck!
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Old 07-12-2011, 04:53 PM   #10
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If you're creating your own recipes, baking is a lot different from cooking - it's much harder. Baking requires much more precision than most (not all, but most) other forms of cooking.

So you could learn to cook other foods just as eaily. And just like you did with baking, you'd get better and better at it, as you learn. You don't WANT to make the transition, and that's ok - but it's not because you couldn't.

You could also (but don't have to) experiment with more diet-friendly versions of your favorites. There's a huge untapped market for sugar-free and wheat and gluten-free baking. I recently bought a wheat/gluten-free brownie at a healthfood store for $5. I'm allergic to wheat, and what I've really been dying for, is a good gluten-free bread. I'd pay $6 for just one slice of a crusty, home-baked italian style bread.


If you follow an exchange plan, or calorie counting, you can taste your own wares, you just have to count them in. You can even do this with the unfinished dough - if you weigh it before you eat it.



My main hobby was also food-related, eating and preparing ethnic foods (and just in general foods I'd never tried before). When I was working long hours, my hobby was expressed in restaurant dining. Bloomington, IL has more restaurants and folks eat out more per capita than Chicago.

I also shopped ethnic and gourmet markets for ready-to-eat snacks and for the ingredients to cook when I had the time (moslty weekends).


I still am a gourmet hobbyist, but I've changed the way I pursue the hobby. I read gourmet magazines and try to adapt recipes when I can. I still go to ethnic restaurants, but instead of looking for the most unusual dish on the menu - I look for the most unusual healthy dish on the menu (often they're one and the same). I also sometimes order a soup or an appetizer as a meal. Or I ask for a box right away and put 3/4 of the food in the box (portions are so ridiculous around here that one meal really can feed four).

I also put as much effort into (and get as much enjoyment from) shopping for exotic fruits and vegetables as I did for exotic ready-to-eat meals or exotic ingredients for a high-fat meal.

It's the adventure that's the hobby for me - so I got just as much fun out of trying lychee fruit and miniature mangos as I did from trying duck liver pate - at least once I stopped feeling sorry for myself and thinking of weight loss as something that was ruining my fun.

Personally, I can't cook high calorie, especially high-carb foods without tasting. And once I taste, I can't stop. I had to remove trigger foods from my house, because I find it easiest to avoid foods when I would have to leave the house to get them. If they're right in front of my nose, my willpower is limited. I'll be strong until I'm not. Being strong for 23 hours and 59 minutes, means nothing, if in one minute of weakness I eat what I wish I hadn't.

Maybe you're a lot stronger than I am. I'm not that strong. And as much as I like cooking, the part I like best is the tasting - knowing myself that it turned out the way I hoped it did (because I like trying new recipes a lot more than I like repeating recipes I know I can do well).

I also collect cookbooks, and while I still do, I look mostly for exchange-plan cookbooks (because I'm following a reduced carb exchange plan).

I've also had to focus on hobbies that aren't primarily food-related, and even hobbies that are incompatible with eating.

If you can keep your food hobbies and maintain good habits, more power to you. For me, I had to choose my old eating hobbies or weight loss. Those hobbies I couldn't modify, I had to give up.
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Old 07-12-2011, 08:03 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kaplods View Post
You could also (but don't have to) experiment with more diet-friendly versions of your favorites. There's a huge untapped market for sugar-free and wheat and gluten-free baking.
I second this. I'm new to baking, and I like it a lot more than cooking. There's something satisfying about making something out of flour and a few other ingredients. I bake with white whole wheat flour and sometimes regular whole wheat flour, but I'd love to learn more about nut flours. Because I've cut out refined white sugar, I use honey, maple syrup, and agave nectar as sweeteners. Butter is still my go-to fat for baking because of texture, but I honestly haven't experimented aside from applesauce, which was GROSS.

I haven't made a cake yet (but might make one for my birthday next week), but I've made delicious cookies, shortbread bars, and bread. It does require adjustments, but you can still have your cake and eat it. I just wouldn't recommend doing it often. Maybe you could try stripped down versions of favorites? Instead of an apple cobbler, maybe baked apples topped with granola.

Aside from baking, I don't have a hobby can be unhealthy. The problem is that my hobbies help me procrastinate. I'll exercise after googling recipes, writing a song, or playing video games.
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Old 07-12-2011, 08:13 PM   #12
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Interestingly, I just bought some quinoa flour to figure out if I can make a decent pasta out of it. it's bleeping expensive though. That's the rub with these things.

I have learned a lot of ways to steer away from flours in many things - including European cakes, but bread. That is a whole 'nother beast.

I love cooking and yes, making something with your hands in the kitchen is awesome, but Indian cuisine is somewhat of a science too and mixing flavors and techniques is fun.
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