Make Friends with Your Kitchen

How Cooking Can Help You Lose Weight

By Jean Lawrence
WebMD Weight Loss Clinic - Feature

You've heard of retail therapy and cinema therapy? Now comes "culinary therapy," the philosophy of making friends with food in the intimacy of your own kitchen. With more than 60% of adults being overweight -- and most of the rest probably thinking they need to lose a few pounds -- people tend to avoid concentrating too much on food in hopes a fast or packaged item here and there will keep them from overeating.

Just the opposite is true, according to hypnotherapist Skyler Madison, director of the Skyler Madison Wellness Center in New York. "If food is your nemesis, you need to cultivate it and learn to appreciate it," she says. "Packaged foods -- even those diet dinners -- are tasteless and full of chemicals. In some cases, the portions of pre-prepared foods are ridiculous. You need to work with food in a pleasant way -- fresh, nicely seasoned, beautifully presented."

Madison uses hypnosis -- in addition to cooking classes -- to help people see food as energy, rather than an evil force or "the enemy." "You need to ask, 'What is the best source of energy for my body?' rather than looking at food as a distraction," she says. "Most people have lost and gained so many times, they need a mood change."

Healthy Cooking Helps a Chef

When Kathleen Daelemans, author of Cooking Thin with Chef Kathleen: 200 Easy Recipes for Healthy Weight Loss, got a job at a new restaurant in Hawaii, she was surprised to learn it was a spa restaurant. "I was fat and didn't have the faintest idea what spa food was," she admits. But she says she needed the money, so she took the job.