A few weekends ago I decided to make some homemade bread. It was a stormy, snowy day and I have a tendency to be a “storm baker”. I’ve made homemade bread lots of times before, but not frequent enough that I have a tried and true recipe that I go-to. So I did what any person in 2018 would do – I Googled. The recipe I chose was one with lots of 4 and 5-star ratings, I read some of the comments and it seemed most people had good luck with it, so I decided it was the winner.
I followed the recipe allowing the yeast to bloom, then adding some flour and letting it sit before adding more flour and starting the kneading process.
As it came time to turn the dough out and start kneading, I knew that I had a problem. Instead of the dough being slightly sticky, it’s consistency was a cross between slime and glue. My fingers immediately became encased in the sticky mess, and my initial thought was, “Well, that was a waste of time and ingredients.”
About 45 minutes had already elapsed from the point when I had decided on a recipe to now being covered in floury goopy goo. I’d already invested 4 or 5 cups of flour, nevermind the yeast, water, sugar and salt. But in that moment all I wanted to do was chuck the whole thing in the green bin and walk away.
I had followed the recipe perfectly. It had been tested by hundreds of others – none of which had mentioned anything about a gluey-slime stage. No bread I had ever made before looked like this.
Clearly, I was a screw-up and has mismeasured something.
If my hands hadn’t been covered in so much sticky dough, I would have sat down and cried in frustration.
Instead, I paused and said this is stupid. I didn’t screw up. This just needs more flour. I started rubbing the palms of my hands together to rub the dough off of them, then started to add more flour to the dough.
As I was alternating adding flour and kneading I started to think about what had just happened in my mind.
In the sum of about 15-30 seconds, I had felt so defeated over this recipe that I was going to throw out the time and work I had already invested in the recipe – even though so many other people had found it successful.
I immediately blamed myself for “screwing it up”, because if it had worked for all these other people, it should have worked for me too.
I felt angry, upset, and frustrated. Over a ball of sticky dough.
And then I had made the choice. The choice to tweak the recipe to meet me where I am, instead of throwing it all out and washing my hands of it – both literally and figuratively.
It got me thinking about all the people making new year’s resolutions. And how there comes a point after they’ve already invested a decent amount of time, energy and money into a new program or diet plan that many often feel like I did in those moments.
Like they must be screwing things up if they aren’t getting the results they want since others have been successful.
Angry. Upset. Frustrated.
But what if like the recipe I was using, it is the program that is the problem – not you?
So many things can change a recipe – the humidity, barometric pressure, your elevation, the temperature of your water, your yeast. You can do everything right and still need to make changes to a recipe to get it to work for your circumstances.
The same can be said for a “cookie cutter” fitness or nutrition plan. Each of us is so different, how can we expect a certain program or nutrition plan to work for everyone? But so few people seem to understand that.
You see your neighbour who started running and lost 30 pounds – so clearly running is the answer.
Your cousin who is eating paleo and has lost 15 pounds – so THAT is the way to eat.
Your friend who has become a vegan and is glowing – so clearly that is the recipe for success.
The truth is there is no one recipe for success. And even within the groups of people who choose the same recipe, they have to make changes and alterations to make it fit their circumstances.
Because a one-size-fits-all solution leaves most of us with a whole new set of problems that cause us to toss the program out and wash our hands clean.
But what if you only needed to add a little more flour and knead that dough for a little longer to get the program to work?
You’ve already put in the time and effort thus far, maybe it’s time to make a few adjustments and to keep going instead of tossing it all out.
For the record, my dough turned from a sticky mess into a lovely dough about 1-1 1/2 cups of flour later. It went on to become two delicious loaves of bread that we happily gobbled up.
The next week or two is when so many people find themselves struggling with their new year’s goals, and sadly many will give up and decide that they are either doing something wrong or that the struggle isn’t worth it.
If you feel yourself falling into one of those categories I urge you not to give up yet. Maybe the program you are doing needs a few tweaks to make it better suited to you and your lifestyle, or perhaps it’s time to switch to a different technique.
If you are looking for fitness or nutrition plans that allow you to improve your health and fitness without losing hours in the gym or starving yourself – that’s what I do and I would love to help you! Check out my program offering by clicking the links below
or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Perhaps the problem is not you. Perhaps you just need to add a little extra flour or try a different recipe.