Summer of Wholeness – Day 61 – I Love Cooking
Today I want to welcome our guest writer Keith Newhouse. Keith is a Senior Instructional Designer as well as an actor and director. He and his partner David are the proud parents of a beautiful little dog named Bella.
I love cooking. There, I said it. It’s taken 30 years (I’m writing this the day before my 30th birthday), but I’ve finally learned how (and learned to love) to cook.
In the past two months I’ve gone from eating out twice a day, 5-6 days a week (eating doggie bags on remaining days), to cooking at least 3-4 times a week and eating leftovers most of the other meals. This feat in itself makes me proud, but what amazes me even more is that I’m enjoying every moment of it; cooking has become a passion for me!
If you had asked me two months ago why I didn’t cook, I’d give you every excuse in the book:
- I just don’t have the time
- I’m awful at it
- I’m just too tired
- It’s just easier to eat out when you live half a block from a number of great restaurants (walking to restaurants counts as exercise, right?)
- And of course the famous theatre quote, “I can’t, I have rehearsal”
The past two months I’ve come to a point where none of those excuses work for me anymore:
- I’ve always had plenty of time; you make time when something is important
- Not only am I a good cook, but people want my recipes!
- I think I felt tired mainly from overeating at restaurants
- Walking to go overeat at a restaurant does not qualify as exercise (and though there are some healthy options eating out, I wasn’t eating them)
- Even after starting to cook I wasn’t sure I’d be able to get past the I can’t I have rehearsal excuse, but I’ve just finished a very successful run of a musical and had some very successful meals cooked before rehearsal.
So what changed to help me find this new passion and lack of excuses?
Those who know me know that I’m by no means overweight and some have even wondered why I would bother trying to lose any weight at all, but in all truth I really was not happy with the way I looked or the way I felt. On top of that, emotional eating was becoming an issue with my metabolism no longer catching up to what I ate. Between not eating right, not exercising, and having an extremely stressful 6 months of life (fear of being laid off high on that list), I came to a point where I was feeling down on myself and either would continue down that road or I’d have to find a way to get out of the dumpster.
So I made some changes. I began biking, signed up for personal wellness training, and started counting calories. I tried eating healthier at restaurants as well as reducing portion size. Now these are all things I’d tried in the past and failed at. I’ve had more trainers than I can count, I’ve tried biking and was terrified of falling off, I got bored of the calorie counting, and being raised as many were to not waste food, not eating the whole meal was close to impossible.
So how has this time been different?
1) Technology- I’m an educational technologist/instructional designer by trade. Every day I use technology to help train/teach people. From designing online classes for colleges across the country, to creating training for the military or corporate clients, technology plays a huge part in helping me make other peoples’ lives easier. So this time I used technology to help myself. I’m addicted to the using the Noom Weight Loss app on my Android phone for everything from tracking my weight to giving tips and challenges for weight loss, Runtastic’s Road Bike app keeps track of my biking with so many different analytics, and Ziplist’s website and Android app have been invaluable helping me find recipes, plan them, and creating a shopping list (one of my least favorite things to do with cooking).
Even my fear of biking has been overcome by changes in the way bikes are made. They now make a special bike for people who are afraid of falling. The pedals are pushed forward slightly so that you can still get full leg extensions, while riding where your feet can always touch the ground.
2) Support- I’ve had so much support in the past two months. Normally I’ve been ashamed to share my weight loss endeavors, but I think because I’ve been trying so many new things, I’ve been sharing with everyone who will listen. I’ve been learning so much and am even starting to share some of what I’m learning. I can’t count how many people I’ve told about Noom and Ziplist, and I’ve even started a Facebook group for friends who’ve been asking me for my recipes when I share pictures of my culinary creations.
3) Most important though, I’ve found Passion- I still hate training (though David Brooks of WELL makes it as painless as possible!), but the passion I’ve found for cooking and biking has helped make the rest of the process so much easier. Sure I still overeat once in a while or have an off day, but most days I can’t wait to get home, hop on the bike, and then come back to prepare a creative, delicious, (usually healthyish) meal!
When I started writing this it was the day before my 30th birthday. My older friends were all asking why I was so worried about 30 (Just wait till you get to 40, 50, 60, etc); my younger friends were heckling me (You’re over the hill now old man); and while I was slightly worried about the transition to the thirties, I think it could have been far worse. Besides having lost 13 pounds in the past two months (and looking the best I have in the past 4 years), I think my newfound passions in biking, cooking, and substituting less healthy foods out of my diet (along of course with the personal training), have helped me feel the best that I have in years. If my thirties continue the way that they’ve started (and I plan to continue to become even more passionate about my health through cooking), I’m very excited to see what the next decade brings!
Side Note: I’m thinking about turning my cooking with Keith and Friends group on Facebook into a blog. If you’re interested in learning more about recipes that require no cooking skill (Trust me, if I can cook it, you can cook it), feel free to email me firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you Stephen for allowing me to share my experience and in turn giving me a chance to do some very therapeutic writing about my experience!