I’m not normally one to write anything other than the recipes themselves. I’m an all-in kind of person and this website was originally conceived as a cooking website and very little more.
With that said, the problem with generating content for a cooking website is that someone, somewhere must take on the terrible responsibility of eating all of that food. So for the last year, I have been stuffing my face with all the creamy curry, rich hollandaise and buttery pastry I’ve been making for this website.
I won’t lie, it’s been wonderful.
But all good things have to come to an end.
How I developed my bad habits
Lockdown, you see, proved something of a problem for me. I used to work at a restaurant in a city nearby. To get to that restaurant I had to get up at the crack of dawn, eat if I had time, shower more days than I didn’t and get my ass on the half a mile road to the bus stop, where I would then wait in the cold and the rain for a bus that would take me to a stop in the city about two thirds of a mile from my destination.
I would then spend the next 14 hours on my feet, standing, cleaning, running from table to table, up and down stairs, in and out of the kitchen and, occasionally at lunchtime, back and forth from the pub across the road. You know, because that’s what it was there for.
At the end of the night, I would walk all the way back to the bus stop, where I would catch a different bus back to a town near my village, because my own bus no longer ran. I would then walk two and a half miles back to my house, which I would normally arrive at in the early hours of the morning.
This was my day-to-day life for usually five of the seven days of the week.
I fuelled my daily marathon by eating anything and everything I could get my hands on. If there were kitchen leftovers, I would stuff them in my face and carry on my day. If there were food at home, I would binge everything I could and hope it carried me through the whole day.
How I got fat
I can’t claim to know just how many calories I was consuming and burning each day, but what I can say for certain is that when I continued eating that way once lockdown hit, the weight built up at a pace I quite frankly could not believe.
With each passing day, clothes were turning obsolete. Hundreds of pounds were being spent each month to ensure my bloated, bulbous body remained clothed and the world safe from exposure to its unbearable form.
The Birth of Ed-Chef.com
Unfortunately for me, cooking is perhaps the thing about which I am most passionate. Well, after eating, of course. So this website was born and became a symbol for me of the financial freedom I one day hope to achieve.
Fuelling my project meant fuelling my already heavily-overfuelled body, channelling more and more rich, calorie-dense foods into my expanding gut.
This carried on until fairly late last year, when our second UK lockdown kicked in and forced me back into the confines of my lair.
I had spent the last month or so of freedom suffering very welcome ridicule from my friends for the not-so-positive changes I had made to my festering physique and the lockdown posed to me an opportunity to initiate a meaningful change.
Beginning to exercise
This isn’t the first time I’ve gained weight. I actually spent the entire first 23 years of my life believing obesity was a permanent state for some people and was one I would likely never leave.
It was only when a certain inexplicable something switched on in my head that I realised there might just be a way to change. And suddenly my whole heart and mind were fully engaged with the process.
It was not quite like that this time around.
Nevertheless, I did have the advantage of already possessing much of the equipment and knowledge that would help me walk this path again.
I knew that to continue updating this website with meaningful and worthwhile recipes I would have to continue to eat the exact kind of delicious and indulgent food I consider good food to be.
I concluded that the best way to exercise would therefore be to lift weights, ensuring the ridiculous quantities of calories I was consuming would at least go to a good cause, ending up fuelling my workouts and building my muscles instead of simply expanding my waistline.
How I changed my diet
Naturally, with that change to my routine came a desire to capitalise on the opportunity being afforded my body. Lifting weights in such a way did help to bring back a little of the muscle I had developed when I had first begun lifting all those years ago, but not enough to really offset the unhappiness I felt with my physique.
I have a tendency to dip my toes into the shallow end only to quickly realise the fun is all happening elsewhere. In this instance, that meant doubling down on my commitment to lifting weights and making a change to my nutrition.
I looked at my nutritional intake and attempted to improve my diet from a caloric perspective, reducing the quantities of the foods I would eat during the day and ensuring they were high in protein and other nutrients.
What I was not prepared to do at this stage was sacrifice my main meal. My main meal, you see, was the key to this website. It was my opportunity to explore, to experiment and to have fun with food in a way that I felt would translate to far better recipes and reading than anything with kale or quinoa.
How I fully commit
As time went on, of course, I continued to gain weight. There’s only so much you can do with your morning and afternoon meals to offset the intake of extraordinarily calorie-dense foods each and every evening. Getting my required intake of protein proved as easy as anything could be, but hammering down those calories was an absolute nightmare.
Naturally, I added cardio to my workouts and I dropped the number of high-calorie meals I was allowing myself to have. That’s how I reached the conclusion that posting cheat-meals might enable me to keep on making great food, fun food, without sacrificing my progress in the gym. Or the spare room, as I should probably call it.
It still wasn’t enough.
I’m not the biggest fan of cheat meals. As I said, I’m kind of an all or nothing guy, so cheating simply isn’t something I gain a great deal of satisfaction from doing.
Plus, when you’re eating super-clean six nights out of seven, the cheat meal tends to feel like a bit too much for a body far more used to simpler, lighter food.
What it means for the website
Unfortunately, I still have a long way to go. I believe in dieting sensibly and working out consistently, with good health and real progress in mind.
I could crash diet my way to my goal in a couple of months, but crash diets cost you in ways you don’t always notice, and my eventual goal is to build myself back up in a strong and healthy way.
Crash dieting means sacrificing your health and your musculature for quick fat loss, which tends to result in a strange and shrivelled body, still chubby, yet weak and thin.
As such, this is going to take some time. I will get stronger and healthier, leaner and fitter. It’s something I’ve done before and it’s something I’m very excited to do again.
But better this time.
As for what it means for the website. I think it means a slow period of adjustment. I hope to learn more about healthy food as I go and I absolutely intend to allow myself a little indulgence here and there as I reach the point where I can continue at a simple maintenance diet, rather than at a strict caloric deficit.
Health is about balance, as is happiness, and while my two goals very much contradict one another at present, I see them entirely as two ends of an incredibly important spectrum we all learn to deal with as we grow and develop.
In short, keep posted. There are plenty of recipes still to come and there might be a little nutritional information as well. It just might not be quite so quick for a little while!
Thanks for your support.