The year was 2012, and I had this half-baked idea to get myself better at cooking as part of a healthy lifestyle change. Half-baked is a pretty terrible approach to most meals, but I felt had to start somewhere.
At this early stage, I was aware how to put frozen things into an oven and wait an appropriate amount of time, and I had a similar working understanding of microwaves as well; but working with “ingredients” to make something from scratch was still unchartered territory.
People with a keen grasp of history might tell you, that the internet existed way back in 2012, so learning this foreign new skill could have easily started there, but no. I opted for the slightly more cavalier approach of assuming I had all the necessary skills already, and would simply muddle through.
The results were a mixed bag at this early stage. As in different levels of shit. All of them I was immensely proud of at the time. My “curry from a jar” was a particular specialty.
My successes here were all pretty basic as you can imagine, but this was a world apart from my university diet of toast, takeaways and the occasional fry-up.
I started running just after university, having coincidentally put on about five stone. Two years on, I had now lost that weight due to a combination of racking up some pretty reasonable distance PB’s, and eating a lower quantity of my crap diet.
By the following year, despite an obvious lack of effort and research, I had improved a lot. Still amateurish by most people’s standards, but I could now make uncomplicated stir-fries with a vastly increased range of ingredients over the previous year. However laughable, it was definitely proving worth it. My running was improving, and I reasoned that this must at very least, be playing a small part in that.
I would describe my working knowledge of nutrition at this time as “confident, but often wrong”. This is often the problem with a ‘little bit’ of knowledge. It’s very easy to become overly certain of things.
Fast forward a few years and I was now a qualified Personal Trainer, making my way in a new career with what was now a little more understanding of the many training and lifestyle things I did wrong, and some of the things I accidentally got right. The point is, I now found it extremely embarrassing how visibly proud I was at the time.
Some people call it the “Dunning-Kruger” effect. When a small amount of information supplies you with a lot of confidence, but add a bit more, and it supplies you with doubts. Obviously, this is not the case for everybody, but this is DEFINITELY where I was at the time.
These days, I’m certainly no “chef”, but I am “sufficient” enough to eat a much healthier (and more aesthetically pleasing) diet than I ever used to. Although I rarely post about my creations to social media anymore, due to my totally rational, crippling fear of being embarrassed by how naff it is in a few years’ time.
It is reassuringly embarrassing, albeit stemming from my own specific neuroticism, to find such fault in earlier great pride, and things like “Facebook Memories” really compiles the self-consciousness by shoving it in your face on a daily basis. WHY did I have to be so confident of my brilliance, from a plate of pasta and chopped up hotdog sausages the evening before a marathon, that I felt compelled enough to post it on Facebook!??
But if there was not at least a little bit of cringe-worthy history on the timeline of my young adult life, that would surely mean a distinct lack of development. That I was basically just doing and thinking the same things over and over. Or at least that’s what I keep telling myself.
Now, as a strict flexitarian (lol I’m so funny), I am constantly updating my food choices as there’s so much to consider now in terms of healthiness, cost, ethics, environmental and whether I actually know how to cook it or not.
So, I now quite eagerly anticipate looking back at this thought-spew of a blog post, in maybe five years’ time and be embarrassed perhaps, at the sheer simplicity of my current health guidelines. Or maybe I’ll just remember that time in my youth, when I thought fried egg on a frozen pizza was some sort of nutritional master stroke. Who knows…?
In summary then:
Keep learning, keep developing, and keep that embarrassment alive!