Get out of the Kitchen!
Posted By Janis Jibrin on June 5, 2012
Believe it or not, cooking is not always the healthiest way to spend your time. That might sound strange coming from a nutritionist—after all, you’ve probably heard that cooking at home allows you to choose the healthiest ingredients and keep a lid on fat and calories. However, if you’re unable to control portions or struggle with binge or addictive eating, then spending a lot of time in the kitchen is akin to an alcoholic hanging around bars. The only difference: Your hangover happens on the scale. There, you’ll see the result of all the extra mozzarella you nibbled on while preparing the lasagna, the batch of cookies you baked that didn’t go to your friend, and all the extras eaten during and after cooking.
So should you give up your hobby? I’ve always advised my clients to find a new one, at least for a period of time. Best Life contributor Angela Taylor, L.C.S.W., a Los Angeles-based therapist specializing in eating disorders and body image issues, agrees. “You have to normalize your relationship with food, and you might need professional help doing so,” she explains. “Meanwhile, it’s OK to cook, but pare down food choices with less variety and fewer ingredients in your recipes, avoid foods that are likely to trigger overeating, and don’t spend a lot of time around food.”
If you’re really spiraling out of control, try eating frozen meals and meal replacement shakes for a few days or weeks. This can help reduce your anxiety level and limit or prevent bingeing. “If you do this, don’t try to also restrict calories. If you go too low in calories and get hungry, then you’re simply triggering the urge to binge,” Taylor warns.
Once you feel like you’re back in control, Taylor recommends reevaluating your cooking hobby. “Ask yourself what it is about cooking that you love. Is it the planning, the creativity, the sense of accomplishment? Is there another hobby that would give you the same pleasure, such as gardening or painting? If so, give it a try, and spare yourself the risk of overeating again,” suggests Taylor.
If your cooking hobby ever got you into weight trouble, I’d love to know how you resolved it.
Reprinted with permission from