How Cooking Saved My Sanity…And Waistline

How Cooking Saved My Sanity...And Waistline

If this is your first time reading one of my posts, welcome!

I’m here to help you navigate the complicated and confusing world of eating to look and feel your best.

If you’ve been reading my blog for some time now, I owe you an apology. I say this because I’ve been doing you a great disservice by showing you how to eat, but not how to change your body and life in the kitchen.

You see, learning how to cook my own meals and making it into a daily habit literally turned my life around.

It’s helped me get a handle on what I eat in and out of my home, allowed me to finally put a stop to my out-of-control emotional eating and lose the extra 22 pounds I’d been carrying around for years…once and for all.

Even though friends, family and colleagues constantly ask me to cook for them, and I do—I’ve always hesitated to share my food here on my own blog. This is because I don’t consider myself a food blogger and I’m not much for making my food look pretty. Yes, I love cooking, but I also love making my meals quickly, with as little hassle as possible, and with simple ingredients, which can be messy and don’t quite make for Instagram-worthy photos.

Silly, I know. But I also know that I should be inspiring you to enjoy one of life’s biggest pleasures: Being able to make your own food, and look and feel good because of it.

Which is why I want to bring you into my world to cooking (and eating!), and want to start off our food journey together with 5 reasons why you should spend more time whipping up your own meals in the kitchen:

1. It’s the perfect way to START REDUCING YOUR TENDENCY TO OVEREAT.

As you chop, blend, season, stir-fry and bake, you can’t help but become more aware of every little thing that goes into making your food.

In contrast, you automatically tend to not think about what’s in your food (like the harmless-looking, 600-calorie burger bun on your plate or the 500 calories worth of cheese on your lasagna) or where it came from when you’re eating out.

Instead, you’re paying attention to the ambience, conversation and the company you’re with. You’re distracted by the smells, people, decor and the thrilling number of meal options that are in front of you.

This is why your kitchen—where you can focus on the task of nourishing your body with fewer distractions or preparing for it—is the perfect place to start if you want to develop the ability to make your own meals and enjoy them, minus the significantly higher risk of eating too much, too little or out of balance.

2. losing weight will become so much easier

The more involved I am (by way of handling them) with different ingredients, spices and ways of cooking, the more aware I become of the number of calories the foods I eat most often contain, and how they affect not just my digestion, mood and energy levels, but also my weight, satiety and well-being.

This knowledge helps me make more informed and mindful meal decisions in and out of my kitchen, and as a result, makes it easier for me to lose weight when I want to, and maintain my weight-loss in the long run.

3. you can say bye-bye to food decision fatigue.

I like to make sure that I’m prepared for the biggest meal of my day: Lunch.

Spending one day a week or 15-30 minutes in the morning putting this meal together doesn’t just save me the hassle of having to go out for lunch on most days while I’m at work, it also saves me from making not-so-great food decisions when I’m busy, feeling tired and prone to what I call food-related decision fatigue—a mental state in which your mental stamina or ability to make good decisions wears thin.

Ever since I started having a healthy lunch and snacks prepared ahead of time, not reaching for the chips, fried pastries and chocolates have become so much easier, and almost effortless.

4. you’ll be helping your friends and family get healthier

If you’ve got your sights set on losing those extra pounds and want your spouse, boyfriend, girlfriend, kids, relatives or friends to jump on the get-healthy train with you, telling them what they should be doing and expecting them to follow suit isn’t going to work (believe me, I’ve tried).

It’s just human nature to want to resist or rebel when someone tells you what to do—we all want to feel in control of the choices we make in life, and even better, feel like the good choices we’ve made were our idea.

The best way to inspire change in the people around you? Let your actions speak louder than your words.

This means: Instead of dragging your spouse to the gym or forcing them to swap their spaghetti with salad, lead by example. Once they start seeing amazing changes in you, they won’t be able to help but want to know what you’ve been up to to achieve them and will feel inspired to follow suit.

5. It’s fun.

It really is, once you realize how easy it is to make a meal that makes you happy and feel healthy.

So many people make the mistake of thinking that they need to be the next Thomas Keller or Gordon Ramsay to be any good in the kitchen, but this couldn’t be further from the truth.

I started from ground zero just like you are (if this is where you are) and I can promise you that to start with, all you need is an open mind, some basic tools and ingredients, and a willingness to try.

Once you do, you’ll be glad that you did, especially when you also find that being able to cook delicious meals that are good for you is the perfect opportunity to bring friends and family together, and inspire them to live their healthiest life with you.

Photo credit: Margo Brodowicz/Unsplash