Friends New Orleans weight loss

Opinions Please: Let Them Eat Cake, Or Lose Weight…?

What should I do?  I meet up with a dozen friends every Tuesday evening, and I always bring dessert.  It’s expected.  I mean, no one forces me to bring it, but I know it is appreciated and highly anticipated.  Let’s face it.  I make good desserts.

It’s no secret that I bake, and it brings me a lot of pleasure to see people enjoying things that I create.  Most of the people I see on Tuesday nights do not struggle with weight so eating a piece of cheesecake like the one I brought Tuesday isn’t a big deal to them like it is to me.

kenlie Italian cheesecake

I enjoy watching recipes come to life, but it’s hard to watch people enjoy what I make without enjoying it with them.  Making cheesecake was better than the cupcake trend because there was no tasting it prior to serving it, but I can’t eat (even a tiny piece of) this every week.  One a year? Maybe.

Food surrounds us, and we base a lot of activities around it.  It happened in New York, and it happens in New Orleans too (and everywhere else I go.)  I love food, and I love people so going out to dinner, eating at a friend’s place before we play games or lunch with friends just feels right to me.

I know folks who have lost incredible amounts of weight by not having a social life, but I am not prepared to sacrifice all of the things that matter to me.  Being a skinny hermit won’t make me happier than I would be losing weight slowly and consistently while enjoying my life too.

Maybe I’m just not willing to do what it takes to lose weight.  It’s hard knowing that at one point I could do both.  I went out, but I also lost weight.  I controlled my portions, and I ate one or two unhealthy meals a week instead of several a week.

It’s easier for me to avoid sweet snacks completely, but how should I deal with that fact that they’re expecting me to bring sweet treats? I don’t want to disappoint my friends or make them feel like I care about myself more than them, but I do know that I had to be pretty selfish to be successful before.  Is that that answer?

What would you do in my situation?  Would you stop bringing sweets?  Offer to bring an alternative?

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  • Reply
    August 29, 2013 at 12:04 am

    The way I see it is, if these people are truly your friends, and know how hard of a struggle it is for you, they will be more than accepting of you not bringing a dessert, or bringing a healthy alternative that you CAN partake it. Its not selfish to want to be the healthiest you that you can be. No one who truly cares about you will fault you for it.

    It all comes down to this– Do you want them to like you more than you like yourself?

  • Reply
    August 29, 2013 at 12:06 am

    How about mixing it up and bringing a beautiful fruit tray? Or make something that you don’t LOVE. I’m not big on cannoli like I am tiramisu, so that would be a strategy for me, for example. Fruit is yummy!

    • Reply
      September 1, 2013 at 6:44 pm

      I couldn’t agree with this comment more — make something you don’t love. I hate bananas and I’m allergic to nuts so when I need to make a dessert and want to ensure that none of it ends up on my hips, I make something featuring one of those. It stinks not to get to taste, or to know for myself that it’s good, but it’s an option that’s always worked for me. You can still show your friends your baking love but be true to yourself too.

  • Reply
    August 29, 2013 at 12:07 am

    I too am trying to lose weight and I too am an “amazing baker” according to friends/family. A while ago I decided to stop eating so much of what I bake. My cakes are so requested that I couldn’t possibly not make them. But I started off just taking a forkful when it was served. Then I stopped wanting even that fork of goodness. I have always loved baked things, and I still do. But I find that most times I don’t even want a piece of cake or cookies anymore. If I DO want some I have a bite or two. I refuse to stop enjoying food – I’m just enjoying less of it. And sometimes I have a whole piece, still. And that’s OKAY.

  • Reply
    Will Aguero
    August 29, 2013 at 12:38 am

    If your friends are supportive of your efforts to get healthy then they will have no problem with you bringing an alternative. It could be a fruit tray or a Paleo-fied dessert. With something less sugary you may be able to enjoy a bit too.

  • Reply
    Margi Hansen
    August 29, 2013 at 12:47 am

    I’m of two minds:
    Have a sliver! Even once a week. If you have to plan accordingly for the other parts of the day food wise, then do it. If you’re going to miss it that much, have a wee bit and plan around it

    Make something you don’t like. Put a piece of Red Velvet anything (cake, cookies, cheesecake, anything) in front of me and I won’t eat it. The only lemon sweet treat I’ll have is lemon poppyseed cake-and with that it would also always be a sliver. No big deal, don’t eat them because you don’t really like them. I’m not going to waste my carb amount (I am Type II diabetic and count carbs) on some sweet treat I don’t like.

  • Reply
    August 29, 2013 at 1:22 am

    Great ideas above so I’ll add another option… Try to use your creativity to make some super-tasty baked goods healthier. Use the applesauce trick or find other ways to reduce the guilt-factor. You’ll still get to enjoy being creative in the kitchen, your friends still get treats, you can feel better about choosing to have a taste, and you’ll have the added bonus of being able to shock them when you tell them how much healthier their dessert is. By the way, you should try the chickpea cookie dough dip – I’ve been dying to see how that stuff is!!


  • Reply
    August 29, 2013 at 8:46 am

    My friends and I have a ‘Dessert Fridays’ group where we take turns bringing dessert to work. I use the 3 bite rule and cut myself a tiny piece of the dessert if it appeals to me. That doesn’t have a significant effect on my weight loss and I do not bring leftovers home. Works for me.

  • Reply
    jules- big girl bombshell
    August 29, 2013 at 8:54 am

    Here’s a different thought…..based on some of the things I have had to do to begin to change my “beliefs” about food—Look at a few thoughts you wrote:

    lost incredible amounts of weight by not having a social life, but I am not prepared to sacrifice all of the things that matter to me….

    I don’t want to disappoint my friends or make them feel like I care about myself more than them…..

    how should I deal with that fact that they’re expecting me to bring sweet treats…..

    ****what we believe is expected of ourselves in order to lose weight sometimes comes from a place of our stories…… If you come from a place that losing weight is BORING, it will change who you are more than how you look, and deny what you enjoy to lose weight than is it truly worth it.

    Are they truly expecting you to bring the treat or do you expect yourself to do that? and if you don’t indulge or bring the treats will they truly think you care about yourself more or is that your belief?

    Eating healthier, saying no, doesn’t have to be isolating though we make it that way. We want to be a part of, be normal, and think that not living up to our perceived expectations of others, will change us. Thinking of ourselves does not make us selfish, it actually gives us more to give…..

    So share what we you love…baking…enjoy a bite or two…and revel in the fact that losing the weight will not CHANGE that part…. xoxo

    • Reply
      August 29, 2013 at 4:12 pm

      This is exactly what I wanted to say, but she said it so much better!

  • Reply
    August 29, 2013 at 8:59 am

    i say either bring fruit or a veggie tray
    i refuse to bake because i know i will eat it all
    it’s bad enough my husband is a junk food junkie and worships peanut butter
    sandwiches which he has two of every day for lunch (ugh)
    if these people are your friends they will understand
    also a question…because i know for me this is true
    do you feel the need to bring the food so you will be accepted into the group?
    i feel that way ALL THE TIME! like if i do not ‘gift’ people with something because i am not ‘the normal size’ person ….even though they are your friends and you have been a part of their group maybe subconciously this is what is going on? like a crutch…trust me i have lots of them….they suck!
    there is a guy i work with who on tuesdays he always brings a box of donut holes for everyone…….a few weeks ago i worked his shift and he worked mine. one of the ladies who works there was actually pissed off at me when there was no box of donut holes…
    “excuse me, arnie ALWAYS brings us donut holes on thursdays, where are they?” (and she was dead serious)
    i replied “well, i would suspect they are still at the donut shop, i do not buy donuts , nor do they pay me enough to buy them for everyone here”
    was she mad!
    really lady…go get your own donuts

  • Reply
    August 29, 2013 at 9:37 am

    You know, even if your friends don’t have a weight problem, there’s no obligation to feed them your desserts. Reading your post I was reminded of posts by moms losing weight who say they still buy junk food for the household because their child/spouse is skinny and shouldn’t be
    “punished” because mom is fat. No one needs to eat junk food. Your friends are free to get cakes, pastries and anything their heart desires every day of the week. Losing access to your baked goodies once in a while isn’t going to hurt anyone.

    And as others have said, if your friends get mad or drop you because you stop bringing your desserts, they aren’t really friends. Find social activities that don’t revolve around food: mini golf; batting cages; reading at the library; walking tours; hiking; the zoo; museums – anyplace where eating is not a primary activity (or not allowed).

  • Reply
    August 29, 2013 at 9:43 am

    You could make them desserts and bring yourself something that you enjoy – I really love Quest Bars, Cookie Dough Zone Perfect bars, Chobani flips yogurt… healthy items that I don’t eat everyday, but are sweet and satisfying.

    I always try to remind myself that when I think about times that I’ve spent with my friends, I don’t remember the food that we ate. I remember the conversations, the fun, the laughter. Reminding myself of that over and over again helps me to say no to temptation.

    My friends know that I am trying to lose weight. They have seen my struggle and they are understanding of it. If I bring an unhealthy item to a potluck, I try to make something that I’m not tempted by. I would never take cupcakes or homemade cookies or anything snickerdoodle flavored. Those are my weaknesses, and it would make resisting harder. I’ll make a dip that I know that they’ll love that I can say no to, or some kind of more decadent side dish.

    I always eat before I go somewhere with friends, and if we go to dinner, I look at the menu beforehand and pick something healthy, then commit to it.

    I agree that weight loss and social lives are hard to combine, but with planning, it can be done!

  • Reply
    August 29, 2013 at 9:54 am

    I think you have to do the right thing for YOU, and anyone who loves you won’t care. Maybe you could bring fruit salad or some other “sweet” thing that is healthier and won’t be hard for you?

  • Reply
    August 29, 2013 at 11:50 am

    If you were an alcoholic who could no longer drink, would you still bring a bottle of wine? If it were me, I would make the healthy, weight watcher recipe or bring nothing at all. The best thing I can ever do for my diet is bring something I am completely comfortable eating. Typically, the other healthy eaters appreciate this.

  • Reply
    August 29, 2013 at 1:24 pm

    Here are my 2 cents, because I have been loosing weight SLOWLY for 2 years and I also LOVE to bake, it is definitely how I show love.
    I would plan what you are going to bring every Tuesday, choose something you are excited to try, something that you love, something you have always wanted to make but just needed an excuse to do. Then I would suggest that you enjoy one piece, just one and be sure to leave any extras with the host. I strongly believe that not only can you enjoy an indulgence once a week, but I think that you definitley should. I have never been sucessful with my weight loss when I was far too strict. Allow yourself Tuesdays to enjoy that treat. Enjoy every bit of it, planing for it, preparing it, sharing it with your friends and then enjoying it yourself.
    If you plan and hold yourself accountable, I really think you can make this work. 🙂

  • Reply
    August 29, 2013 at 4:02 pm

    I have lost a lot of weight, but it’s also taken me a long time. It’s been over 3 years, and I am still not at goal weight, but I have lost over 150. If I had been perfect all the time, I might have lost faster, but like you, I want to have a life. Eating out always makes me gain weight. It doesn’t matter how much I work out. So, this summer my weight is up a few pounds because we’ve been traveling so much. I was also sick a lot. That’s life. I can’t bake and have it at home because I’ll eat, so I like to do it when I can give a lot of it away. So, I think that what you’re doing is fine, maybe have a small portion yourself and just don’t always bring it home and I bet you’ll be fine. I think if we don’t allow ourselves some indulgences it just causes us to want to overeat more.

  • Reply
    August 29, 2013 at 8:57 pm

    I’m going to quote a dear friend of mine…”The next bite will taste just like the first.” <3 Make what you want…engage your brain and have one bite.

    • Reply
      August 30, 2013 at 2:07 am


  • Reply
    August 30, 2013 at 12:54 am

    Ugh, this is always so hard.
    When you made the cheesecake, were you tempted to eat while you bake? The good thing about cakes and all that in their whole form is someone WILL know if you have a piece before you bring it, lol. I’d bring it and enjoy a sliver, but then again, I’ve lost about 0 pounds, so don’t listen to me 😉

  • Reply
    Sarah @ The Fat Girl Fighting
    August 30, 2013 at 3:01 am

    I noticed during the post that you talk about disappointing your friends, and their expectations and how they want treats. What about what you want? You need to be a little more selfish and think about yourself. Take a healthier treat next time and see what sort of response you get. Let them know you want to focus on being healthier & eating better. Maybe agree to bring a baked treat once a month or something as a treat for you all. Friends support each other, and want to make each other happy, and at the moment you are the one making the sacrfices to keep your friends happy, so now let them friends make sacrifices for you. If they want cakes they can have them the other 6 days of the week. Good luck.

  • Reply
    August 30, 2013 at 9:57 am

    I think it basically depends on what is tempting you – are you tempted to eat the cake you bring because it’s delicious and you love sweet things? Or are you tempted to eat it because you feel you should as it’s a social occasion and you want to be one of the gang?
    If it’s the first one then it might be better to stop baking cakes for a while and go with the fruit plate or some alternative because you are just putting temptation in your way each time and making your life harder than it should be. Similar to an alcoholic always going to bars to hang out – its just an added temptation.
    If it’s the second then I say keep baking because you love it, and share your skill with your friends, but just make a commitment not to eat it. You dont HAVE to eat it. You’re friends will completely understand.

    Finally, it’s not forever. It’s not the odd slice of cake that leads to large weight gain. Its many many lifestyle choices including eating too many unhealthy things too regularly. You are working on those lifestyle changes now. Each one, little by little. And so it can be helpful for a while to just cut out this cake …until you kind of re-set your self. Once you have improved many of your lifestyle choices which you are working towards, you can easily accommodate a slice of cake once a week. Just think of the abstinence as a temporary action. Imagine the Catholic festival Lent – 40 days where you give up something.

  • Reply
    August 30, 2013 at 11:40 am

    So much good advice above, Kenlie. For me, I have to make everyplace a safe place for me, including social occasions. Safe for me is a sweet-free zone. Period. If you are able to only have a bite, or a sliver, don’t deny yourself if denial just makes you want it more.

    I so agree with the above post which states that it’s not just the occasional sweet; it’s the ongoing pattern of bad choices. Try to see the big picture—you are making so many good choices right now.

  • Reply
    August 30, 2013 at 12:27 pm

    One thing that no one has brought up…you say that ‘most’ of your friends are not struggling with weight. I wouldn’t be surprised if there are more people who are struggling than you realize. They might be embarrassed to talk about it with you- because you work so hard at it, and have made so much progress and they feel like their own struggles can’t compare. You might find more support for a lower-calorie dessert or snack than you expect.

  • Reply
    August 30, 2013 at 2:57 pm

    You know, I have a friend that is an AMAZINGLY gifted baker. I know what you mean when you say that your friends would be dissapointed if you didn’t bring dessert, just like our group would feel if said friend didn’t bring one of her desserts.
    Since it’s an issue that is causing you a struggle, you could go ahead with your dessert baking, but maybe do healthier verisons? Some websites that I’ve really enjoyed, and have great suggestions for making things healthier are:


  • Reply
    August 31, 2013 at 2:01 pm

    I was going to suggest a cheese or fruit plate too! Or you could research desserts from other countries maybe? Expand everyone’s culinary horizons. I’m Filipino and one of the main desserts in the Philippines is called halo halo. It’s shaved ice with all kinds of mixings on top – shredded coconut, jackfruit, pineapple, beans, etc. Here’s a link to one recipe –

    It sounds weird, but it’s SO tasty.

  • Reply
    August 31, 2013 at 9:26 pm

    I too love to bake and love to see people enjoy what I make … I still like making treats to bring to a gathering, because then I can make it, I can get the feedback, I can have a taste … but then it’s gone and I’m glad it’s gone. If I make it for just my own family there’s usually leftovers hanging around tempting me fore a while.

  • Reply
    September 1, 2013 at 10:31 pm

    I’m in the same kind of boat you’re in. I absolutely LOVE to bake and it is one talent I have. Unfortunately, I can’t eat most of what I make. When I do “have just one”, it often leads to a binge. If you feel you must bring something sweet when you meet with your friends, maybe you can check out some of the Weight Watchers desserts. However, the bottom line is that you have to take care of yourself. If you know you will have a hard time resisting the goodies you bring, you need to explain to this to your friends. If they care about you more than the desserts you bring, they will understand.

  • Reply
    September 2, 2013 at 4:43 pm

    a great, healthy alternative would be my opinion. fat free cool-whip mixed with a bit of reduced -fat Hershey syrup mixed together and then frozen/cooled makes a delicious dip for fresh fruit. i’m sure a lot of other people in the group will appreciate the healthier alternatives as well.

  • Reply
    September 4, 2013 at 5:17 pm

    hi! i am extremely outgoing and love my social life. i also LOVE food. i’ve been a chunk (to say the least) my entire life and finally realized that if i’m gonna serve God, i’m gonna need to be alive. nothing had ever gone wrong with my health because of my weight but i felt like it was only a matter of time (april 2012). i started a program called ideal protein and decided that i would still go out to eat but i would focus more on the people i was with instead of the food. it’s been crazy awesome and super hard (not as hard as i thought it would be) but i lost 140 lbs in the first year. my goal is to lose 30 more lbs. it is harder to bring sweets/complex cards back into my diet in moderation so i’ve stayed away from the mostly. hope this was somewhat helpful… you’re doing awesome. i’ve loved watching your progress. i may get a pedometer. you’re a good sales girl for these folks. =)

  • Reply
    September 4, 2013 at 5:18 pm

    one other thing, i was always prepared to bring my own food while everyone else ate what was brought to a party or Bible study. that was hard but it worked. =)

  • Reply
    September 5, 2013 at 4:40 am

    for me dessert isn’t an issue i’m a bread/chip/snack addict but I have tried the crustless low carb atkins cheesecake and it’s tasty!
    Low Carb Luxury Recipe!
    Atkins’ Crustless Cheesecake

    Ingredients: • 12 oz cream cheese, softened
    • 3 pkts Splenda
    • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
    • 1 Cup heavy cream
    • 1/2 Cup fresh strawberries, quartered. (optional)

    Combine cream cheese, sugar substitute, and vanilla extract in a bowl and mix well. Beat the heavy cream in a separate bowl until it forms soft peaks. Fold the whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture.

    Transfer the mixture to a large glass bowl and chill, covered with plastic wrap, for at least 25 minutes. Top with berries if you like. Serve immediately or store, covered with plastic wrap, in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.

    Serves 8. 2.6 carbs per serving (7 carbs if using berries.)

  • Reply
    Anne Mc
    September 6, 2013 at 10:02 am

    Hi, Kenlie! I have a weakness for sweets too, so I had to conspire with my friends. I came out to them and told them of my struggles managing my weight, and how I am afraid to disappoint them by not bringing my fabulous desserts. That sparked an honest conversation where some surprising members said they also struggled with weight. We brainstormed about what we could do together to support one another. Some wanted to continue to have a treat during our gatherings, others wanted to make it not be about food at all. We ultimately decided to mix it up. That gave us the option to meet at different locations, do some things outdoors where it would be difficult to deal with food but now possible. We conspired to switch who brought treats, share recipes for healthy varieties, etc. It opened up a new connection among us. Good luck with your decision! I know it’s a challenge!

  • Reply
    September 29, 2013 at 3:43 pm

    Hi Kenlie!
    I’ve been reading your blog for a long time but never posted, but I have to this time. I feel your pain!!! I LOVE to bake, too, and I have such an all or nothing mentality that just one bite or one small taste leads me to a massive binge. (I wish I could eat one little peice and move on, I really do – but something in my brain goes haywire when I even have a little bit of sweets). So I had to change my thinking – I think of myself like an alcoholic, and I have an addicition to sugar, which means I can’t have it. It sucks, but it is what it is. I imagine your friends will understand if you tell them you are dieting and avoiding sugar for a while. That’s what I tell my friends, and they have all understood. (I also had to temporarily “give away” most of my baking supplies, becuase people always want me to make them cakes or cookies, so my best friend is holding on to all of my stuff. This way, I can’t bake even if I really really wanted to!) It’s extreme, I know, but so far it’s working for me. Although the holidays are coming, and that’s going to be rough! So hang in there, sister. You’re doing great so far!!! It’s been a pleasure to read about your progress – and, I should just add that I am super happy you’re finding the Lord. That just warms my heart 🙂

  • Reply
    Plus Style
    November 16, 2013 at 8:53 am

    Can you suggest to your friends that you change up your weekly get together? Maybe try an exercise or dance class, hike, visit a museum, volunteer somewhere together … something that does not involve food and may up your activity level. Or if you get together at home, maybe try some xbox zumba, dance party or Wii fitness – help balance the food/activity level.

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