Before we start I just want to be clear that I’m not going to suggest that you learn to cook, or lift weights, this blog is about what those things taught me and how that might help other people, whether or not they ever cook or go to the gym.
This week I joined a new gym. I got involved in competitive sports in fourth grade and have been in the gym ever since and my comfort in the gym has really served me . The gym is comfortable to me. Even though I sometimes have to deal with people saying obnoxious things to me, assuming that I’m a beginner exerciser etc. they can’t take away the fact that I know the machines, that I can put together a free weight routine for any purpose, I can create an interval training set at the drop of hat – I feel competent at the gym and that provides some armor.
About a year ago I decided that it was time for me to learn how to cook. My lack of culinary skills meant that eating whole foods was pretty much confined to roasted meat and steamed vegetables. When I got sick of that it was time to eat something with directions that included “dissolve sauce packet in boiling water.” So I didn’t want to learn to create flavor profiles and be a contestant on Chopped, I just wanted to become a competent from scratch recipe assembler. A year later I can put together a lot of simple recipes, a few complicated recipes, I can cook some things without recipes and I’ve even baked a couple of things from scratch. I didn’t realize how this had changed me until I was in the produce section of the grocery store today. A year ago I would have known how to steam a few of the veggies and that’s about it. Now I know a number of ways to prepare a lot of them, how to use them in various recipes etc. It realized that I hadn’t just developed cooking skills – I feel competent in the grocery store. My cart is no more or less “healthy” to the nosy observer than it was before I learned to cook so people will likely judge me the same, but the way I look at myself changed and that helps protect me from people who are laboring under the misapprehension that their beeswax is located somewhere in my grocery cart.
That’s also how I feel about my Size Acceptance and HAES choices. I’ve done the research, I’ve thought it though. I am certain that I have the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness in the body that I have now, and I am certain that includes not having war waged on me by my government for how I look. I am confident in my choices about my health and I am certain that my health is nobody else’s business. That doesn’t mean that I don’t deal with all the crap that society throws at me. But it gives me some armor. I feel good about who I am and the decisions I make and I will not allow the world to steal my self-esteem and cheapen it just so they can try to sell it back to me at a profit (a concept that my amazing friend CJ Legare first pointed out to me.)
In the end what I learned from lifting, boiling, and being fat is that how I view myself really changes the way that I view the outside world, the way I relate to it, and the way I deal with so much of the crap that comes my way from it so it’s worth taking some time to really clarify how I feel about things and how I feel about myself.
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8 thoughts on “Lifting, Boiling, and Being Fat”
I admire how you view yourself and how you have created those shields of yours. You’re doing great! Keep it up and don’t let other put you down. Take Care!
Loved this post. Simple and to the point. I love that I can learn new ways to prepare foods that I once thought were ‘icky’… but really were only prepared poorly by my well-meaning mother.
I think my long time love of cooking was one of the things that insulated me against a lot of the diet pushing. If a ‘diet plan’ had no room in it to let me cook with the flavours and ingredients I knew made me feel good, I didn’t consider it. Which is not to say I didn’t LOOK for one that fit with how I already felt about food. I stopped looking for a diet to fit my demands about the time I started reading your blog.
I can make a spectacular old-fashioned sourdough loaf–you know, the kind that takes 2-3 days from start to finish–but I can’t cook whole pieces of meat to save my life. (I CAN cook ground meat and then mix it with stuff, like taco seasoning or spaghetti sauce, or turn it into chili). I need a meat/poultry cook book. As in, “How to Roast Chicken Breast or Cook a Steak Without Turning It into Shoe Leather.” 🙂 If anyone has any suggestions, I’m all ears.
I highly recommend watching Cooks Country and America’s Test Kitchen on PBS. It’s a good way to learn to cook, they cook a huge variety of foods, so it’s not the same meal over and over. Not every meal is a winner, but a lot of them are.
We subscribe to their online recipes and we’ve made a shocking number of the dishes and we’ve only been disappointed a few times.
Thanks! I’m going to try this one first: http://www.americastestkitchen.com/recipes/detail.php?docid=26295
Part of my problem is that when it comes to poultry, I generally only like the breast (I do like the salt-soaked, smoked turkey legs you can get at the Ren Fest). Unfortunately, I think the lack of fat (combined with my lack of skill) means it tends to turn out drier. Using a sauce like in the recipe above might keep the chicken from drying out.
I got a great cookbook when I left home, How To Boil An Egg by Jan Arkless – it tells you how to prepare simple meals for one or two people and includes a bit on things like roast chicken – it even defines terms and lists general ingredients that are useful to have as standard, I’ve found it really handy over the years as it doesn’t assume you know anything but isn’t written in a patronising fashion.
The book does tell you what the standard portion size for various items are, but for things like pasta you can adjust to your preference and there is no feel of judgement about it, the book give approx. preparation time, cooking time cost per serving and calories per serving but it generally feels more as an extra info if you want it thing than a judgement thing and of course the prices will be laughably out of date by now. I don’t know if this will help but it might be the style of cookbook you want.
I will check it out on Amazon. I actually know a lot about cooking, but when I try to do it, I mess it up (at least, when it comes to meat). I can bake pretty well, but I don’t seem to have cooking intuition. It’s possible that there are some basic things when it comes to cooking meat that I’m clueless about. My mom is also very terrible at cooking meat–even worse than me (but I would never tell her that!). When she tries to grill hot dogs, they are completely burnt on the outside, yet barely warm on the inside. I have never seen my dad cook meat. I grew up on legumes. 🙂