Culinary Sense

Adventures with Food and Life

The body… one year later.

Hey Folks,

let’s start this year review with changes in the body.

The most significant change in my body in the last year has definitely been weight gain. Although I started gaining weight before I came to culinary school, I have definitely gained much more since my arrival. This is something I feared when I applied, and it seems that my fears (in this regard) have come true.

Really, it was expected. As students, we are encouraged/required to taste everything, so we do. And lots of stuff has cream, butter, sugar, flour, and many other rich ingredients. Plus, all students are on the meal plan, and there’s lots of yummy food to try there…

Weight gain - a side effect of working in the food industry?

Let’s just say that I have been eating, tasting, and munching my way through the last year. Plus, I have been practicing at home, and get to eat the results. Without exercise, we all know what happens.

The standing and walking in the kitchen have had negative effects on my legs and knees. My knees seem to be more sensitive and hurt more than before. I was diagnosed with ‘runner’s knee‘ (ironic, since I don’t run) several years ago, which basically means my knee caps (the patella) don’t run in the groove they’re supposed to; rather, they scrape along the edges, which causes pain.

It’s not too dramatic, but I find that I am sometimes tentative on the slippery kitchen floors. My shoes are no-skid, but, of course, water, oil, and other yucky things grease up the floors ‘real good’, and one should always walk carefully in professional kitchens.

Which is why I think I store so much tension in my legs. Maybe the pain and tension in my back just migrated further south, but I think it has to do with the floors that my legs, especially my hamstrings, are very tight.

About halfway through the year, I was diagnosed with carpal tunnel, which is apparently very common among cooks. I had lost feeling in the tips of some of my fingers, and in addition to tingling, my hands felt very weak. I know wear arm braces at night that support my wrists, and it has gotten a lot better. Although my hands still feel weak (“Can you help me open this jar, please?”), there is no more tingling or numbness.

Aside from the weight gain, I really only have positive things to say about the way my body feels. I had had chronic lower back pain since 2007 that I attempted to treat by seeing a chiropractor and getting regular massages, but it just didn’t go away. I suspected that it came not only from my sedentary work (office manger) but also from deeper psychological problems. Unresolved issues, anyone?

I’m happy to say that my back pain is completely gone. I no longer have chronic back pain, which is really really amazing, and I am so thankful. I attribute this to multiple factors.

First, I am no longer sitting at a desk 40 hours a week. I am mostly standing or moving around, which is better for your back. Second, I have been doing spinal twists regularly, trying to breathe into the spot that hurt. This has also increased my flexibility.

Third, and this is perhaps the hardest to measure, I am on a career path that I enjoy. I made a huge life decision a little over a year ago, and I believe that helped bring mental stability and focus into my life that it lacked in the few years prior.

And maybe, just a little, it helped ease the pain.

No more back pain!

So overall, I really can’t complain about the bodily changes. I’m really very pleased to no longer have back pain, and that makes all the other aches and pains seem small and unimportant.

For the next year, my motto will be: “More tasting and less eating!” Plus, some exercise wouldn’t hurt.

~ Carolynn

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2 thoughts on “The body… one year later.

  1. I forgot to mention another positive: the acne I have had on my face since puberty is basically gone. Aside from the occasional pimple, my skin is clear. (It took you long enough!)

  2. kmiriam on said:

    Strange. I always though you had very clear (perfect) skin. We have such different self-perceptions than others have of us sometimes. Anyway, I’m so glad for the positive changes. I know that spinal twists are also awesome for digestion–for me. Now I’m inspired to do yoga this morning! 🙂

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