I finally got around to taking some pictures of my latest apartment. There's something about resetting the clocks at the end of Daylight Savings Time that makes me nostalgic each year, so I thought I'd take this opportunity to have a little walk down memory lane. So here is My Life and Weight Loss Journey, Kitchen Edition. Enjoy!
I'll skip over my parents kitchen or the gross kitchens in the dorms in college, because my love affair with food really began when I moved to Connecticut and rented my first apartment:
The kitchen was itty bitty, with an apartment sized stove and no counter space to speak of, but for the first time in my life I had to cook for myself so I made it work. I made a lot of pasta and sandwiches in this kitchen. I also discovered that I loved baking, and began churning out homemade sweets like there was no tomorrow! Needless to say this was a time of net weight gain.
The following year I upgraded to a smaller, nicer, less expensive apartment a few blocks away:
That apartment was great - exposed brick, central air, and lots of natural light - but the kitchen was the best feature by far! There were granite countertops, TONS of storage and counter space, and even though you can't see it in the picture, there was a walk-in pantry tucked under the stairs off to the left of the kitchen that housed the refrigerator and lots of shelves. Cooking in that kitchen was an absolute joy! Alas, that kitchen was pretty much the only good thing in my life at that point. I was bogged down in a PhD program that I hated (and ended up leaving when I had done enough to get a masters). All that stress, and the joy of food, meant that my weight absolutely ballooned while in that apartment! Sad times.
At the end of that graduate program I spent one month in a tiny studio with an awful kitchen, one month living with my parents while I looked for a job in Massachusetts, and then one month in a long-stay hotel where the "kitchen" was just a sink and a hot plate (sorry, no pics of those!). But then I settled back into a real apartment, where the fun really began!
That was the kitchen that finally turned my weight around, because that was the kitchen I was using when I discovered Spark People!
It was a small galley kitchen in a tiny apartment that I spent a small fortune to rent, just across the street from the Porter Square T stop in Cambridge, Mass. It was tiny but glorious - granite counter tops, stainless steel appliances, a huge drop sink, and a dishwasher! Ah, I have fond food memories of that kitchen. I was all about Conventional Wisdom at that point so I was rocking all sorts of homemade granola, whole wheat pasta with lots of veggies, huge salads, and weird quasi-vegetarian kashi-based casseroles. In retrospect that was probably hell on my gluten-rejecting immune system and I became a bit OCD about tracking All The Things but the weight did come off and my clothes got a lot smaller. I bought my Wii Fit and worked my way through C25K, running down Mass Ave from Porter to Harvard Square and back. Man I really miss living in Massachusetts sometimes!
That was a great apartment but the rent was really high and I'm actually not much for urban environments, so one year later I moved from Cambridge to Arlington, one town over. I am very sad to report that I have no pictures of that kitchen! It's a real shame because that is the kitchen where I stopped dieting and embraced healthy eating and exercise as lifestyle change. I started shopping at farmers' markets, I joined a meat CSA, I found a glorious bike path to run on (also no pictures - I think I need to go back!), I gave up the grains, realized just how damaging gluten had been, and finally started being healthy rather than just shrinking! I am quite sad to have lost those pictures. I'll just have to give you some food porn from that kitchen instead:
Ahhh, good times with good eats. Yeah, sometimes I really do miss Massachusetts!
I left New England to give grad school another try about a year ago. The first kitchen I had was great, but it was shared with two strangers and the living situation was so bad that I moved out after four months:
My weight stayed pretty steady during those four months. I was stress-eating but still running, and I did have a nice kitchen to work in. But then I developed a medical issue that left me in pain and rather unable to exercise, and the kitchen at my next apartment was not fun to spend a lot of time in:
That kitchenette was tough to work with. The oven was too small for my baking pans, the fridge was 3/4 sized so I couldn't buy in bulk for savings, and there was no counter space whatsoever. I was able to use a bookshelf to double my storage and "counter" space but cooking was a chore. I lived there for eight months. Between not wanting to cook and not being able to work out, I did a lot of backsliding.
Which brings us to today! I moved again in August and I have to say, I LOVE my new kitchen!
It's large! It's home-y! It has more cabinet space than I need, proper appliances, room for all of my appliances, great natural light, and loads of counter space! No granite or stainless steel, but on a grad student stipend I am not complaining. Cooking is once again an absolute joy. And now that my medical issue is finally healing up (fingers crossed!) I am back on track to get in shape! I took a gigantic step backwards after leaving Massachusetts but everything is in place for me to climb aboard the healthy train and stay there this time. One step back, two steps forward...and a great kitchen makes all the difference!
Have a great week, everyone.