Subscribe: My work, sitting patiently in your inbox.

Tuesday

Why I Abandoned a Month Without Bread, and am Giving Up Desserts Instead

A month without bread proved ineffective.  Sometimes you have to make tough choices and adjust your goals.


Today, I ate bread.  No big deal, right?

That would be the case if I hadn’t pledged to not eat any bread for the entirety of August.  It wasn’t an easy decision to make, downing that delicious club sandwich, but I am ultimately happy with my decision to consciously abandon my goal for the month for something more sensible and healthy.

First, why I abandoned breadlessness:  For the past couple of years, my weight has fluctuated very little.  After losing 35 pounds two years ago, my eating habits have continued to improve and so has my physical fitness.  I finally found an equilibrium I knew I could maintain.

A new problem surfaced, and still exists: Now, I’m scrawny, and weak.  I’m overall happier with my body than I was before, it’s certainly more capable and efficient, but there is still plenty of room for improvement.  This is the part where I gain weight back, in the form of lean muscle mass.

Yesterday, I began looking for some dietary advice, and was recommended to the site “If If Fits Your Macros”, or IIFYM.  All you have to do is put in a few basic physical details, such as your weight and level of physical activity, along with your fitness goals, the site generates an approximation of how much of each macros you should be consuming on a daily basis to achieve that.

Here is my data:

Carbohydrates: 366.8 grams per day
Protein: 148.4 grams per day
Fat: 51.5 grams per day
Calories: 2525 per day

This created two issues:

That is a lot of carbohydrates, at least for me.  After doing some research, it became apparent that the most common source of carbs come in the forms of breads and other grains.  While I get plenty of carbs from things like fruit and brown rice, these alone are not enough to get me to the 367 grams I need of the macros per day.  With college in mind, I see my decisions consistently being narrowed down, and I find it likely that my fitness goals would be jeopardized for the sake of a month without bread.

Moreover, building muscle requires a surplus of calories.  I am doing so cautiously, meaning I am only planning to consume slightly more than my Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE) of 2405 Calories.  With bread in my diet, I rarely hit 2000 Calories for the day.  Without it, I barely reach 1500 Cal.  Yet again, I find my fitness ambitions and desire to go a month without bread at odds with each other.

This is what I was thinking about when I decided to revert back to eating bread.  Perhaps in the depths of my subconscious, I simply didn’t have the willpower to give it up, but I’d like to think I made this decision because I want to commit to a healthier diet.

That said, this failure cannot go unchecked.  Here’s what I will be doing to keep myself accountable:

- I am giving up soda indefinitely.  July helped me realize this was achievable, and now I am committing to a soda-free diet.
- I am giving up chocolate, pastries, and all desserts for the entirety of August and September.  September will also introduce a sacrifice of its own, upping the challenge and keeping me accountable for abandoning this month’s original goal.

After taking that first bite of bread this afternoon, I was disappointed in the decision I had made.  I can’t fully justify backing out on my pledge to go without bread, but I am ultimately happy with the choice I made and think my new goals align more accurately with the goals I hope to achieve over the next several months and years.

For those joining me: Keep it up.  One mistake is not worth throwing your pursuits away.