Monthly Archives: February 2012

A Watched Loaf

I’ve learned a few things this week.

One: standing with your face pressed eagerly against the oven while baking bread will do nothing to hurry the process.

Two: you can resist cookies. But why would you ?

Three: the world doesn’t end when you put your scales away. In fact, it actually gets a lot rosier.

So for starters; the carrot and walnut bread what I made:

Get: 150g plain flour
150g wholemeal bread flour
A teaspoon of salt
Two teaspoons of baking soda
150g grated carrot
A handful of chopped walnuts
300ml Greek yoghurt
125ml milk

Preheat the oven to 210 degrees Celsius.
Toast the walnuts by dry-frying them in a pan for about 3 minutes, then leave aside.
Sift and combine the dry ingredients, then mix in the carrots, walnuts, yoghurt and the milk.
The dough will be mega sticky, even after some considerable kneading which will result in glue-encrusted monster-fingers with which you will be able to touch nothing in your kitchen, including the tap that you need to turn on to remove said muck.
Roll into a ball onto a floured surface, slash top and bake on a baking tray for 30-45 minutes (the recipe said 30; I had to bake for 45. Go figure).

It’s really good.

Moving on. Earlier this week in a manner totally unlike my usual self, I made chewy chocolate chip cookies for the boyfriend as a sort of lame attempt at a both frugal and endearing Valentine’s Day gift. Because he likes cookies. And I’m poor.

I’m not going to bother putting up the recipe because it was full of entirely uninteresting, not to mention totally unhealthy ingredients and took little to no effort, poise or culinary subtlety to prepare. Not that it wasn’t fun. But the main reason I chose to blog this event was that throughout the process I was grappling with the two Amys that so dictate my constant food-related agonies. Disordered Amy was adamant; scolding: “This mixture is absolutely out of bounds. You saw how much butter/sugar/chocolate/refined flour went into it, it’s entirely out of the question.”

But sensible Amy just said, “What kind of a sad life are you living?”

So I licked the bowl. And the spoon. And when the cookies were ready (at about 11pm that night) I shared the biggest one with Gaz.

I waited for the panic to set in. Because eating junk isn’t the stressful thing. It’s the anticipation, and subsequent experiencing of the massive, overwhelming food guilt which often results in running until I feel sick/my stomach feels empty again and always, ultimately, my old familiar friend, self-loathing. I felt strangely serene; like Food Guilt was looming but was being held back by something that I can only imagine was a combination of the fact that I knew I had to run 14 miles later that week, and that it was Valentine’s Day – I’d gone to the effort of buying and making the cookies; I had cava, we had plans to make pancakes in the morning and dinner reservations in the evening, and I really think it breaks Gaz’s heart a little bit when I leave him to indulge in treats on his own that should be shared by us as a couple. We used to pig out together all the time when we were younger and I miss it. So this time, thankfully, the ominous feeling never amounted to anything, and I ran the 14 training miles on Friday in 2:24:01, burning a total of 1167 calories – I mean, sometimes I eat that in a day ! I left the majority of the cookies to be consumed by Gaz and Tom, but I definitely had my fair share. And you know what ? That’s fucking fine.

Which leads me on to my third revelation of the week. I haven’t weighed myself one single time since last Sunday. And I’ve even forgotten what the scale then.

A watched loaf never bakes. And a watched scale never drops. So go and do something constructive. The oven will beep eventually, and whilst the scale may go up and down, knowing every inch of your body’s day to day mass fluctuations is not going to influence it in any way. The thing is, whether I am aware of it or not, my body is my body, my weight is just a number, water will be retained, glycogen will be stored and for the all the elation I feel when the number decreases there is always frustration and anger when for whatever reason it creeps up, but in the end, it should not define me. It means nothing.

Also bread is tasty.

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