Thursday, July 31, 2014

Guest Contributor: The Business of Baking

Once again please welcome our guest contributor:
Michelle Green from The Business of Baking!

How to Lose Weight and Still Eat Chocolate Every Day

by Michelle Green, The Business of Baking

Five years ago I decided to change the course of my life dramatically, and over the course of two years I lost 70 kilos (154 pounds). (That's like losing an entire supermodel holding a big handbag.) I've now kept that weight off (plus a bit more) for three years. It might surprise you to know that in all those years, I ate chocolate pretty much every single day and I still do.

Here's the interesting thing about losing weight. LOSING it is actually the really easy part. You're all excited about your shiny new gym card, you love your bright pink running shoes,you can't wait to program your Fitbit,you went and got the cutest pair of gym pants ever, and you've told everyone you know that you are “being good.” You've got a goal weight in mind, you've set up some mini goals along the way, you've got a reward scheme set up for each goal, and most of all you're motivated and excited and you are going to DO THIS THING! You are losing weight, getting fit, and things are looking pretty damn fabulous both emotionally and physically.

Fast forward three months. The weather has turned cold so you end up staying in bed and therefore missing your Zumba class. Your fancy water bottle broke when you dropped it and you haven't had the chance to replace it. It's Valentine's Day, Christmas, your birthday, Mother's Day...and you allowed yourself to indulge on the holiday (and then just kept on indulging). You've either hit the dreaded plateau, or the scale has started to move in the wrong direction entirely.

Fast forward three months. You managed to stop the food train before it raced to the bottom of the hill, you got back on track and replaced the water bottle, found a way to exercise on cold days (hooray for Zumba DVDs) and the scale is back to moving in the direction it's meant to. Before you know it, you've hit your goal weight!

You go out to dinner to celebrate.
(oh the irony.)

Fast forward three months. You've ticked off the mini goals and gotten the gold star for the big goal, the runners now look a little tatty and the plastic on the gym card has started to peel at the corners. You can't remember the last time you looked at the My Fitness Buddy app you used to track your weight loss on.

Fast forward three months. You're now heavier than when you started a year ago.

Wait. What? What does that scale say?! What the hell happened?!

What happened to all that excitement, motivation, enthusiasm, drive? What happened is that you forgot that your life continues for a long time after you've reached goal weight. It's about what you do AFTER you get to your goal that's much more important. You've still got to exercise and eat right and be involved with your body EVERY SINGLE DAY. Yes, of course, since you're not actively looking to lose more weight you can be a little more relaxed, drop the intensity down a little, allow a treat or two without beating yourself up about it..but there is no way you can get off that treadmill permanently and expect to maintain your new svelte figure. Even supermodels have to work at keeping those bodies looking the way they do.

If you haven't worked it out already, losing weight and owning a business are very similar life experiences. It's what happens AFTER all the fun stuff of setting up the business which is important. You get so excited in the beginning – designing logos, ordering business cards, signing up for wedding expos, searching out new packaging, buying lots of gorgeous vintage cake stands and telling everyone you know that you are starting a new business. It's such an incredible adrenaline rush, isn't it?

Fast forward three months. You haven't gotten quite as many orders as you had hoped, the ink on the business cards wasn't quite the right colour, a few of your cake stands got borrowed and never returned.

Fast forward three months, and three months more, and three months more. Your business (like the numbers on the scale) has gone up and down like a yoyo. Sure, there were a lot more ups than downs, you still love what you do, this whole thing is still awesome and you're still mostly motivated...but it doesn't seem to have an end point. The goal was to open the business (or open the shopfront), and you did that. Now what? Honestly, sometimes in business it can just feel like an endless slog of rent which needs to be paid, bills which need to be managed, and cakes which need to be baked, products which need to be created, marketing ideas which need to be put into action. Those things, for as long as you'll be in business, won't ever go away...much like holiday eating binges, cold winter mornings that keep you from the gym and sleeves of Oreos won't go away either (much to my disappointment.)

I've often said that going INTO business is the easy part, STAYING in business is the hard part. Those of you who have been at this for a while will know how true that is.

It's what happens AFTER you've reached the goal which is - in many ways - more important than the actual goal itself.

Know why you're in business – why you're in this for the long haul, long after the last cake crumbs have been eaten – is what's going to keep you going. Bringing a fancy water bottle along is optional.

Copyright 2014 Michelle Green The Business of Baking All rights reserved.


Michelle is a food writer, trained chef and pastry chef with a huge amount of knowledge and helpful insight into running a cake business. She is also the sole author of the blog, "The Business of Baking"  "The Business of Baking" is specific to the baking and decorating industry and teaches you how to make a real living doing what you love. Michelle started cake decorating at sixteen years old and eventually turned her hobby into a business by becoming a pastry chef, then opening a custom cake business and owning it for ten years. These days, Michelle is an educator, consultant and author who mentors other decorators in business, proving that it's possible to run a business and maintain your sanity at the same time. In 2014 and 2015 Michelle will be teaching live classes all about running a sustainable business. More information on her courses can be found at

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