“Without bread, all is misery.” (William Corbett)

I am a petite woman with some zaftig woman’s belly that has taken up residence in my body.  I walk everywhere, work out at the Y three times a week using the weight machines and the elliptical, pedal my way from here to China on the stationary bike, and go to t’ai chi class each Tuesday.  I have given up sweets (that box of Red Vines I devoured in two days was an aberration), am trying to hold myself to a couple of glasses of wine on the weekends only, eat more vegetarian meals than ones with meat, have been cutting down on salt (that bag of salt and vinegar potato chips I devoured in two days was an aberration), and yet that fat woman’s belly refuses to leave.

Bread is the problem, so why am I sitting here at Panera‘s?  As if it weren’t enough to be accosted by rows of bagels, loaves of bread, and a variety of pastries as soon as I walk in the door, I’m confronted by four walls adorned with whimsical pictures where bread is the main feature.  I see a cat whose body is a loaf of ciabatta.  I’m staring at a Picasso-like painting of a woman holding a loaf of Italian bread.  Actually, the way she’s lovingly holding the loaf in her arms, one end nestled against her breast, it looks like she’s nursing it.  That is true devotion.

If I gave up bread, I think my big-bellied woman would leave me in disgust.  But bread has been too much a part of my life to abandon it now.  When I was growing up, my family would drive to New York City every other weekend, and my grandmother would greet us with a breakfast feast of lox and chubs, but bread was the king of the table:  bagels of every kind, marble rye, and a loaf of golden challah.  Bread was the star of the show.  When my children were growing up, I made all the bread we ate, honey whole wheat, pumpernickel, raisin, and even an occasional loaf of challah.  Every Christmas I would make whole wheat coffee cakes in the shape of wreaths, giving most of them away as presents, saving only one or two for Christmas morning.

Bread has been an important ingredient throughout literature.  In fact, it is part of our cultural literacy.  We call money “dough,” Jesus calls himself “the Bread of life,” and how empty it would sound if the poet had penned “a jug of wine and thou.”  Bread is ingrained in my psyche and I can’t remove it without removing a slice of who I am.

I’m at a crossroads.  I can have the svelte figure I desire and eschew my yeasty companions, or I can invite that fleshy-middled matron to take up permanent residence.  What to do, what to do…Let me think about this over another cherry cheese Danish.

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About Coming East

I am a writer, wife, mother, and grandmother who thinks you're never too old until you're dead. My inspiration is Grandma Moses who became a successful artist in her late 70's. If I don't do something pretty soon, though, I'll have to find someone older for inspiration.
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22 Responses to “Without bread, all is misery.” (William Corbett)

  1. oldereyes says:

    My, oh my, you and I are kindred souls. No, I don’t have a zaftig woman’s belly (at least I don’t think it is) but I do live my bread. And dark chocolate. And I would guess I will never be slim again. The best I can do is whole grain breads.

  2. Love the picture of the lady hugging her bread. I know that during lent I gave up bread. I was sick for over a month afterwards and had to go to the doctor. He suggested that I never eat flour, sugar or yeast again. I completely cut out sugar. I switched to sprouted wheat.
    ie. Ezekiel bread. for awhile. I still didn’t lose weight… My nemesis… I don’t exercise. But exercise here I come!!

    • comingeast says:

      If you have a Trader Joe’s near you, their sprouted rye is wonderful. It makes great toast and grilled cheese sandwiches. I keep it in the freezer and pull out a few slices at a time because it spoils quickly.

  3. Amy says:

    I thought you are talking about me! That’s exactly how I eat, and I’ve given up sweets for a while. I also walk 30 minutes and more during the weekends plus daily workout; will never give up pasta and breads. Do you know breads have a lot of V-Bs? Maybe that’s why breads make people happy!

  4. mrngstr333 says:

    I share your angst over the belly thing. I’ve actually given mine its own zip code!!

    Bread is the devil incarnate, but I so love it, too. Great post!

    • comingeast says:

      LOL! That is very funny, Dawn! I’m sharing that with my daughter, My Pajama Days. She has a great blog, if you want to wander over there. She’s on my blogroll. (I’m on hers. It’s a family thing.)

  5. I think you have passed your bread addiction on to me, and sadly, I’m just not strong enough either to quit.

  6. Pingback: Seven Links Challenge | Coming East

  7. Pamela Johnson says:

    Bread may be all of our problem in fighting belly fat, but there is one more fly in the ointment. It’s menopause!! That’s where the fat seems to go and the hope of returning to the figure we had 25 years ago may be a disappointing possibility. I suppose for most of us, it’s a slowing metabolism and decreased activity. I’m reading from the internet on this subject; I find that heredity and hormones are also villians.

    It also says that “some women even experience a widening waste without gaining weight. Although you may not be gaining extra fat, your abdominal fat is increasing as limb and hip fat decreases.”

    What seems to be recommended is aerobic exercise, strength training, and a decrease in our stress level! Easier said then done. Cortisol is the hormone behind menopausal fat (which is why stress and belly fat are closely linked.) Learn to nurture yourself!

    I would have to say that from your pictures you look quite attractive to me. And if you have a svelte figure, you’re way ahead of most of us old ladies! I wouldn’t worry too much about the belly fat. Enjoy life and count your blessings. They are many.

  8. your husband says:

    I think you look great (bread and all)!!!

  9. elaine says:

    I have discovered a new form of eating bread, just add honey to it and it becomes a cake substitute. Actually bread is cake – but without the sugar, so when I need a sugar high – I just add a thin layer of honey to the bread. I rationalize – that I used less sugar then a piece of cake would have had. Of course this why I am not loosing the “belly”.

    Thank you for lending me the Thai Chi CD. I am still confused – because I do everything as a mirror image. I have a hard time distinguishing my left from and his left. When he uses left – I use the right. It is hard to re-program my brain. I wish the CD was made with his back toward the camera — then I could follow it better.

    • comingeast says:

      Oooh! I forgot how much I love honey, too! You have added yet another vice to my growing collection. As for the t’ai chi DVD and the venerable Dr. Lam, I was expecting you to have mastered it by the time I saw you again so you could have made me a t’ai chi master. Don’t tell me we still have work to do!

  10. Posky says:

    Agreed. Bread is an invaluable item and something that I am craving oh so badly right now. I truly am a starving artist.

    This kid knows what it’s all about:
    http://vids.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=vids.individual&videoid=34189258

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