I hate to cook.
I said this recently in front of a friend who knows me well and her response was “You do?!?! I thought you loved to cook?? Because you’re always cooking something…!?”
To be fair, it’s not that I hate to cook, it’s that I hate to spend more than 20-30 minutes in the kitchen because there are so many other things I’d rather be doing with my time.
But I cook because I really like to eat home-cooked meals.
When I cook for myself I know exactly what to prepare to feel my best.
I know the foods that fuel my exquisitely manufactured machine (body) best so I cook those things in healthy ways and feel great after eating.
I wasn’t always this way.
I used to almost never cook.
I ate mostly in restaurants or cooked big pots of pasta that I’d eat throughout the week.
I’d eat mac n’ cheese with hot dogs, pizza, and quesadillas because my family likes those things.
They were easy to make or cheap to pick up so they were go-to options for working parents, normalized by our quick-n-easy culture.
These habits made me feel terrible-- both physically and emotionally-- and fueled my weight gain like gas on a fire.
I didn’t want to eat that way, but I told myself things like…
These four statements were all lies that I was feeding myself-- and what I was feeding myself was keeping me fat.
Here’s what I discovered when I decided to change the way I was eating and lose weight permanently.
I don’t know what to cook. ---> I know exactly what to cook.
Protein and veggies. Simple.
I choose a protein and a veggie and I roast both in the oven.
Cookie-sheet dinners are the easiest things ever.
No recipes, no hassle.
Open a bag of lettuces, add a few of your favorite veggies and a sprinkle of cheese-- dinner is done in less than 15 minutes of prep time.
I also learned how to use an InstantPot-- yet another game changer.
Lunches are pre-prepared salads or a salad-bar-in-your-fridge (stay tuned for an upcoming post on how to do this).
If I can’t roast it, saute it, steam it, or eat it raw-- I’m not cooking it.
I don’t know how to cook the foods I like. ---> I only cook the foods I like.
This was a lie I was telling myself because I did know how to cook many meals that I liked, and for those that I didn’t, I learned.
I chose about 10 meals that were super simple to make that I liked to eat and I now rotate through those regularly.
Most families rotate through the same 10-15 meals every couple of weeks without even realizing it, so I sat down and made a list of my family favorites and use those to plan our weekly meal plans.
I definitely don’t have time to cook. ---> I am only willing to spend 20-30 minutes in the kitchen.
This was a game changer for me.
I have become very selective about what I am willing to cook and the first criterion is that it is simple (5 ingredients or less) and quick.
Toss veggies with olive oil and season with salt and pepper, throw them on parchment-lined pan and in the oven at 400 for 15-20 minutes-- voila!
Dinner is served!
With chicken leftover from last night, of course.
Leftovers are huge.
I always cook enough for multiple meals to reduce the time I spend cooking.
I don’t have time to shop. → I don’t have to shop.
I started using a CSA and grocery delivery services to all but eliminate trips to the grocery store and that solved that.
But then I realized that I actually like going to the grocery store so I decided to make time for it and am happy with that decision.
I like picking my own veggies and talking with the butcher about the cuts I’m buying.
What are the reasons you are feeding yourself for not losing excess weight?
Lia Pinelli is a weight loss coach and educator who helps women put an end to emotional overeating and lose weight, permanently.