Going against the Grain

I didn’t think about bread today.  I didn’t even realize that I hadn’t thought about bread.  Until I passed the open pantry and caught a glimpse of the bread on the shelf and then it struck me.

Now some of you are probably doing some thinking of your own and that thinking might go something like “Who cares if Karen thought about bread today.  It’s bread.”  But for me, it is not a piece of food, but a milestone.  I love bread.  I crave bread.  I overeat bread.  Maybe you feel the same way about something other than bread, like chocolate or chips or cheese or pizza or ice cream.  Fill in the blank.  That food that calls to you.  That food that you cannot eat in moderation.  That food that all too often leads to overeating other foods.  Now do you understand why it is blog-worthy that I did not think of bread today?

There is something about the texture of bread that makes me reach for it.  More than the flavor.  I don’t know what it is, something about my teeth sinking in.  I have heard theories that cravings for certain textures in food mean something, but never have I seen an answer to what my bread craving means.  I’d be interested to find out.

I wasn’t always this way.  My earliest memories of bread are from sometime in my childhood when my dad would return from business trips in San Fransisco with fresh sourdough loaves for my mom.  Other than that, I don’t remember bread playing any role in my life until recent years.  I know I ate it.  White, never wheat.  Sandwiches.  Surely I thought nothing of it for most of my life.  But at some point in the past few years I realized that bread had come front and center in my diet cravings.  I decided to handle this by giving up soft white bread and choosing wheat, because it is healthier and, in my opinion, less tasty.  Initially I didn’t care for it so I didn’t overeat it.  Then my taste-buds changed.  And any bread at all gave a siren’s call.  It didn’t need to be hot or freshly baked or crispy on the outside while soft on the inside.  Just bread.

So I decided that since moderation was not working for me and that a sense of craving was a sign, I would give up bread for a while.  And the longer I went without, the less I thought about it.  The cravings released their grip on me.  And sometime when I wasn’t thinking or looking, I just didn’t want it anymore.  Okay, maybe that is too strong to say.  Because as I sit here typing I can say that I probably would love to eat a piece right now!  But what I can say is that I am no longer fixating on it.  Not missing it maybe.  And certainly, based on my realization yesterday, not thinking about it.  Which in my mind, is a very good thing:)

Will I eat bread again?  I am sure I will.  What I am not sure about, is when or how.  The strange part is that on a day-to-day basis I don’t miss it at meals at all.  Not even a bit.  And I have learned that bread as a snack is my crack.  So I guess when (if) I do start eating it again it will not be in any way resembling how I would have eaten it as part of a nice little binge in the past.  But for now, I am happier without it.  So the best thing since sliced bread, for this dieter, is NO bread:)

Postscript:  Writing about bread was not a great idea.  It made me start thinking about it all over again.  Sigh.  And then my loving husband, out of the blue, asked if he should stop buying his bread so it would not tempt me.  I was happy to be able to tell him that I have a handle on it now.  Fingers crossed.

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43 Comments

Filed under cheating/overeating, dieting, food

43 responses to “Going against the Grain

  1. Ewa

    I know what you are going through. I quit baked products quite some time ago and it was a struggle. The worst times are when I go to Europe and small bakeries on every street corner sell still warm, smelling of heaven loaves, baguettes… Oh, I better stop.

    • Karen

      Oh that does sound fabulous! Gotta love a fresh baguette. My biggest downfall would be bagels. Especially if I smell a cinnamon raisin one toasting.

  2. I feel the same way about sugar. I’m so happy you’re at the point where you feel you can moderate your bread consumption, or at least say no! 🙂

    • Karen

      Well the interesting thing about sugar is that it seems it does a lot of really bad stuff to our bodies. And yet it is added to so many foods and called so many different names on the ingredient list in an attempt to sneak it by us! Breads at least easier to recognize if I am trying to consciously avoid it:)

  3. I wish you success (not luck) in your endeavor. More so, I hope you develop to a point where you can have bread, control it, own it, enjoy it, and be responsible with it. I know that sounds hokey like I am making light of it, but I am sincere.

    • Karen

      Thank you. That does not sound hokey. It actually sounds like a great goal. And I love how you wish me success and not luck. I have seen many bloggers ask for the latter so I always offer my wished but we all know luck is not how it happens. So now, thanks to this comment, I have something new I can say in response.

  4. For me, it’s peanut butter. Give me a spoon and a jar of peanut butter, and you won’t understand what I’m trying to say to you for hours. I refuse to have it in my apt. It’s like… forbidden. Props to you on being able to have it around and saying no! You’re a stronger woman than me!

  5. I understand about bread – nothing like a, WAIT, I can’t go on or will start salivating! I do know that there is nothing in the human diet that demands bread, so for me, it is now one of those special occasion treats, similar to dessert. If I eat bread you can beat it’s gonna be very special and dipped in amazing olive oil or garnished with a touch of butter.

    Sometimes I would give up a toe for fresh chips and homemade salsa or pico de gallo… JUST KIDDING! No toes need be sacrificed.

    • Karen

      Isn’t it amazing how a sandwich is the classic lunch food? It really is an easy food to cut from your diet if you want to. Okay, I don’t mean “easy” as in willpower. I mean “easy” as in able to live without it. A burger without a bun, for example. Interesting that you mention the olive oil because in theory in The South Beach diet, which I kinda sorta follow, you should always have some fat or protein with something like bread. I think that is where I slipped up – eating it all by its lovely lonesome.

  6. Have you tried Sandwich Thins? They are way less calories and it is like a substitute for bread. I love bread but don’t crave it and I surely would not crave something that is healthy, hence the sandwich thins are now on my cupboard. No temptation there. Good luck.

    • Karen

      OMG yes! That is what my husband keeps around; he buys them in bulk at Costco. At first I was like you. But it is amazing how quickly I developed a taste for them. Now that said, they are a great option from a nutritional standpoint compared to sliced bread. But I was overeating those puppies like crazy!

  7. I figured out a while back that bread was having a negative impact on my waistline, so I don’t eat it. Luckily it is something I can easily live without, although sometimes I do get the urge to make a sandwich.

    I think if you can control your bread cravings, you will be pleasantly surprised with the results 🙂

    • Karen

      I know a lot of the dieters on my forum found that bread and other grains really slowed weight loss. I’m not sure that would hold true for me… if I was eating it in moderation, which I was not. Sigh.

  8. I understand. I think you gotta do what you gotta do. Everyone is different, and I think you’ve found a key for you.

  9. First of all, congratulations on your success so far! I don’t have any doubt that you will find a way to manage in the future, so that you can enjoy a food you love.

    I’m fortunate in that, while I enjoy all sorts of breads, I don’t seem to have that craving for it that others have. In fact, I rarely make it through an entire loaf before it goes to the freezer or to the bird feeder. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could identify these internal “switches” we have and control them? (We’d win an award for that, for sure. :))

    • Karen

      Bread… of the list. Peanut butter… moving towards the list. Triscuits… long gone from the list. Seems like I am finding more and more foods that trigger my eating. Maybe that is good, that I recognize it. But maybe it is bad… in that as some would say I am labeling foods “good” and “bad” for myself. I just don’t know.

      Honestly, I think I can do it. I think some day I will be living life as a maintainer. I think that eventually I will be able to have my now-forbidden foods on occasion. Or a rare cupcake treat. But maybe I will find that for me maintaining does not include moderation. Sigh.

  10. sunnydaze

    I like bread alot, not really love it – but only artisan breads, not regular sandwich bread. I’ve been thinking about making panzanella salad lately. I rarely buy bread anymore. I do like a chunk of crusty bread with soups and salads and I can eat an etire baguette by myself! :X

    • Karen

      Well it used to be that I only overate fabulous breads. Like baguettes or Challah or ciabatta. Not sandwich bread either. Which is why it is so weird that I now have problems with a very boring wheat bread. Maybe because I have cut out all the junk food, this is my junky stand-in.

  11. I totally feel you on the bread thing! I LOVE bread, any kind, any way, I’ll eat bread till I burst. Seriously my taste buds are salivating right now thinking about bread lol.

    I really have to control myself when it comes to that cuz of low carb, it’s hard but over time I’m better. I still LOVE bread but I just savor the appropriate portions now. Before I’d scarf it down.

  12. Amy

    You are stronger than I am. I love bread. I have been eating the whole grain, nutty full of texture bread for years. I tried a 2 week elimination of bread. I felt like crap on crap toast. Now I only have about 1 serving a day.

    • Karen

      Ah but see I would argue that YOU are stronger! You can eat one serving. I can’t eat just one. So that is why I have gone to none:(

  13. At least you figured out what is a food trigger for you! Sugar in the form of simple carbs is like that for me. As long as I don’t consume it I don’t think about it or want it. When I have a good dose of it the cravings start!

    It is what it is and I don’t fight it anymore or waist time wishing it was different.

    • Karen

      It clearly is working for you Tami. I am the same with refined stuff with simple sugars but have been pretty good about cutting that out. Which is why it drove me crazy when I first realized how I could manage to binge and overeat on seemingly healthy food like whole grain bread or crackers.

  14. Hey karen,

    Yup, writing is cruel that way isn’t it? I have to echo Roy, I cannot wait until the day you own the stinkin’ loaf and laugh in the face of toast. I get it, bread was my vice and now it is (only) my breakfast 😉

    • Karen

      I love the image Rita! And maybe I can not only laugh at the darn bread but also bagels and english muffins and the list goes on.

  15. Karen, that really is a milestone. When you stop thinking about a food item, its siren call starts to weaken. And isn’t your husband a sweetheart for asking if he should stop buying it? Have a great weekend. 🙂

    • Karen

      Yes he was. But I have no idea why it occurred to him the day it did. I wish he had offered a few weeks earlier when I was eating several servings of bread a day in an almost crazed frenzy:) But this would be a big sacrifice for him since he eats it almost daily and often for more than one meal.

  16. Oh we are so alike in our love for bread!!! Me too!

    The difference I guess with me is that I want it to be the bread I rally like & I like the hearty ones, the healthier ones. White bread or rolls that are not hearty do nothing for me.

    I am one that will not live without my bread BUT I have mastered eating the ones I like & I also have planned my food program to include at least 3 pieces a day. I KNOW! But they are not high calorie, they have a great make up of not too many carbs, good fiber & some protein too.

    I totally get what you are saying though Karen. We all have these things we just have to stay way from…..

    I worked hard to find a way to handle the bread. Now saying that – put fresh baked bread in the house.. much harder!!! I don’t bake it myself anymore! 😉

    • Karen

      You are a great inspiration in how you handle your healthy lifestyle all around, Jody. My first thought with your post today was that no way could I have those muffins around me, even if they were small and healthy.

  17. I can totally relate on the bread thing. If I was at a restaurant I would HAVE to have the bread from the basket before the meal. Now I haven’t eaten it in a while and I don’t really think of it even when the waiter puts the basket right in front of me!!! That’s progress.

    • Karen

      The little I have read about eating plans that I think are similar to yours certainly leave me thinking they don’t recommend bread at all. The worst at a restaurant is when I am very hungry and the bread is warm and there is real butter:(

  18. Genie@dietof51

    You know about my battle with bread. You cannot believe the bread that comes into the Food Pantry. Designer bread….. Every imaginable type of bread…. Trader Joe bread…. Loaves everywhere….. Bread ‘R’ Us….

    BREAD, BREAD, BREAD!!! Damn bread!

  19. I am totally with you on the bread/crackers/chips thing. I can’t eat them in normal quantities. I have bread in the house for Jay, but DH & I don’t eat it. That said, I have had two sandwiches in the past few weeks. They were deelish, but I don’t think they’ll become a regular thing, because just one sandwich just doesn’t seem like a serving size. My mom (5′) weighed 95-100 pounds all her adult life. If she approached 100 pounds, she cut down to 4 pieces of toast at breakfast. I wish. She had a totally different metabolism from mine.

    • Karen

      I remember my mom dieting off and on, but I never remember her being very overweight from the physical perspective. I think she is pretty much in control of her eating and when she travels or has a lot of meals out, she gains a bit, and then cuts back. I did not inherit her self-control.

  20. I used to LOVE bread. To me, there was absolutely nothing better than eating some hot, freshly baked bread with butter melting on it. I would stop by the bakery and grab a dozen buns – eating half within the hour.

    I can’t remember the last time I’ve had it, though. I haven’t had more than a bite or two in at least 3 years (thanks, gluten-intolerance!) I’ll have a slice or two of gluten-free bread every now and then when I really want a sandwich or tost, but that’s it. It doesn’t have nearly the same taste or texture and is super easy to have just one – unlike the real stuff.

    Sounds like you had a huge breakthrough – congrats! 🙂 Keep at it. Your body will adapt and the cravings will keep disappearing. Soon you’ll barely miss it.

    • Karen

      Sorry about the gluten intolerance. I actually went on a gluten-free diet several years ago, along with many other things I cut out to see if I had a food intolerance or allergy. That was before the stores had an abundance of gluten free options. I remember I ate a lot of plain rice cakes instead of bread.

  21. You make me want to think and write about bread, which dings me in a similar way as it does you. Once I abstain from chocolate, cake, cookies, pastries, ice cream and candy, the next thing I crave (and easily overeat) is bread.

    I had a friend once who ate bread… but ONLY without any topping… no butter, not even the thinnest smear of butter-like, low-fat substitute. After starting his bare bread only life, he claims he consumes less bread and enjoys it more.

    I thought about giving it a try, but so far I can’t stand the idea of no butter on my bread or toast.

    All that aside, I’m really proud of your abstinence!!!!

    • Karen

      I can eat it bare. That is how I tend to have it now if I get it out of the pantry. Snack on a “thin,” breaking into little bite-size pieces. The doctor who developed the South Beach diet actually says we should not eat it alone; but rather with some fat or protein to help with the insulin spiking I think. I guess I should go back and reread that!

  22. Pingback: Waisting Time , Archive » One, Two, Three, Red Light

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