Healing Emotional Eating & Losing Weight Through Cooking
 
It’s like driving a car at night. You never see further than your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.
— E.L. Doctorow
 
 
Kerstin Martin・The Reluctant Cook
 

Unravelling four decades of emotional eating

My story is universal and individual all at once. I eat too much and move too little, that’s what I have in common with millions of people who struggle with obesity. Why I do this is a combination of my own personal demons, cultural pressures, lifestyle choices and infrastructure challenges. My dieting journey began in 1977 when I was 14 years old and embarked on my first calorie restricted program. I was not actually overweight but I was a little heavier than my more petite friends and I wanted to weigh as little as they did. Peer influences and unfounded body image issues were definitely at play here but I've also always been a comfort eater who uses food to soothe the anxieties that have been my companions for most of my life and which are rooted deeply in early childhood abandonment trauma. Despite the ensuing diet/binge cycles I didn't gain any significant weight until my early 40s when I moved to America and my lifestyle became increasingly sedentary and my food portions a lot bigger. Now in my mid-50s I am 100 lbs overweight. It’s not healthy, it’s not comfortable, it’s no longer about culture or body image. It’s about healing my emotional eating and building up my emotional and physical resilience.

 

A fresh approach

In early 2018 an orthopedic specialist told me that I had to lose a significant amount of weight to qualify for the ankle replacement surgery I need to fix the post-traumatic arthritis in my right foot that is increasingly impacting my ability to walk and be active. I need and want this surgery! However, rather than get back on the diet wagon I decided to take a closer look at my habits, both in and outside of my kitchen, and over the next 12-24 months I will focus on building new sustainable habits that are in support of my weight, health and lifestyle goals.

The Reluctant Cook

I'm not a bad cook actually but often times I just don't feel like dealing with the peripherals, such as meal planning, shopping, food prep or cleaning the kitchen. My resistance to cooking is rooted in my overall resistance to being more present in my life, which is my default response to my anxieties. I actually come from a family of great cooks and every now and then I catch a glimpse of their enthusiasm and creativity in my own kitchen and my goal is simple: I want to fall in love with cooking and create nourishing meals that are delicious and help me lose weight.

 
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Short and sweet bio

Born and raised in Cologne, Germany, I have lived in four countries and moved more than 35 times before finally settling down in Bellingham, WA, with my American husband and fluffy grey cat. My professional background in the airline, technology, finance and education industries eventually led to me starting my own business as a Squarespace Web Designer and Authorized Trainer in 2014. You can read more about my background here.