• April 14, 2024

I Hired a Cooking Therapist to Deal With My Anxiety

Debra says she doesn’t recommend cooking therapy as the primary treatment for eating disorders; She advises people with eating disorders “only when a client has recovered and is stable, and only if their primary therapist thought it was a good idea.”

“Cooking therapy is less about nutrition and nutrition (although it can be customized) and more about an experiential tool for self-reflection and clarity,” she says. Ultimately, however, there is no getting around the fact that in a cooking therapy session there may be distorted values ​​and beliefs about, for example, what constitutes nutrition. My problems with zoodles are not the point of Debra’s session, but they are right there on my plate.

But I’m a Capricorn and a Type A person and an A + student, and that’s how I ate the zoodles. Not only that, I enjoyed it. I mean, what I enjoyed the most was the feta and the tomatoes and olives that were riddled with them, but the zoodles weren’t bad, and besides, the food didn’t catapult me ​​back to a moment when I pretended they were it would be a satisfactory lunch. Instead, I went out and got a nice loaf of sourdough bread and ate a slice of it, buttered, plus a few scrambled eggs. It was kind of a fun lunch, but I enjoyed it and it kept me fed up until it was time to figure out what to have for dinner.

That was the real moment of mindfulness for me: after years of thoughtless rejection of everything that I categorized as “diet food”, I was finally able to ask myself questions about this instinct. I could consider it, name it, and start doing something to let it go. When I was 18 and 22 years old, it was The Work to get me to the point where I could eat so-called unhealthy foods without feeling guilty, but now, more than a decade later, it may be time I did stop appreciating food in the first place and realize that whatever I eat does the important job of keeping me alive, be it a bowl of grains or a bowl of lasagna. I may no longer make zoodles a regular part of my routine, but I may feel less helplessly sad thinking about having a salad for lunch.

I’ve tried many therapy methods over the years and learned that, in general, they only work as well as you use them. Cooking therapy is certainly not for everyone – it has many of the same barriers to entry as traditional therapy in terms of the cost of a private session, which starts at $ 250 for an individual (not to mention the cost and time it takes to get it) of ingredients are used) a specific recipe). But when you are open to it, it can give you a new perspective on an activity that you are likely doing several times a day every day, and prompt you to find yourself without the numbness of habit.

“You will do it on your own, eat cereal and think, ‘This is just like me, soaking up everyone’s stuff,’” Debra tells me at the end of our session, and it’s true: often when I ask about cooking something now I wonder what it could mean to me and think about how dried beans bloom and soften after a long, slow soak, and how the end product tastes so much better when you add some fat to the pot. By that I mean, don’t be afraid of zoodles, but also not of the luxury of fat! Or as Debra might ask, what little treats can make your day better than you expect?

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Jack

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