A long overdue Introduction
Hi, everyone! I’ve been posting recipes for a while, but I think a proper introduction has been a little overdue. I’m Ed! I’m a father, husband, and a high school English teacher. I'm also a member of the WW community that happens to really like cooking and eating, so I started this website to share some of my recipes.
My family and I live in the Greater Philadelphia area, which we love exploring on weekends and all throughout the summer. I’ve got two daughters that keep our days filled with laughs and exhaustion.
I’ve been a member of WW for almost two years, and I’ve had a great deal of success on it through adapting my love of food without compromising flavor and joy. I believe food is meant to be enjoyed; if you are not looking forward to your meals, a healthy lifestyle is never going to stick.
How did I find myself on WW?
At the end of each school year, we fill out an index card confirming our address, phone number, and T-shirt size. They ask for a T-shirt size because we start each year with a group shot of the faculty in that year’s new T-shirts.
I was wearing the XXL T-shirt from the beginning of the school year when I took the index card from my mailbox. The shirt was pretty snug, and the idea of putting another X on my shirt size really bummed me out. How did I get to this point? I was wearing an XL the year before.
I decided that day I needed to make a change and joined WW (at the time Weight Watchers) online.
The answer to the question “How did I get to this point?” is a sad one. In September 2016, we announced that we were having a baby. We did a Facebook announcement on the chalkboard wall we used to decorate cataloging each new week of my wife's first pregnancy.
Our oldest, two years old at the time, wore a big sister shirt and we happily read books about a new baby coming each night at bedtime. In October of that year, we lost the baby late in the pregnancy. Our world stopped. My wife's school had an emergency faculty meeting. Our friends made sub plans for both of us.
It took months to even begin to crawl out of the hole we lived in. We channeled the little energy we had left into our daughter who was too little to know what was going on. That Halloween, we didn't trick or treat. That Thanksgiving we went through the motions and considered skipping it altogether. That Christmas we (I) maxed out our credit cards buying every toy imaginable.
In the song “Quiet Uptown” in Hamilton, there's a line that goes “There are moments that the words don’t reach / There is suffering too terrible to name / You hold your child as tight as you can / And push away the unimaginable / The moments when you’re in so deep / It feels easier to just swim down”. We did exactly that. It was easier to just swim down.
The moments when you're in so deep, it feels easier to just swim down.
I gained most of my weight ignoring my own health, ordering food online just so I didn’t even have to speak to a human. Focused on my daughter and wife, I couldn’t muster enthusiasm for much else.
My wife, God bless her, forced back into the world of fertility treatments as soon as she could. Anyone that has gone through fertility treatments can testify that the treatments alone are difficult, but coupled with a pregnancy loss, they are unimaginable. The tolls that loss and IVF can take on a person, a marriage, and a family are immeasurable. The scars last a lifetime.
I didn't cook for months. When I did, like most of our decisions henceforth, I did it with a YOLO spirit. All the butter, all the cheese, all the fried food. I told myself that if I was going to eat, I was going to enjoy it. I’ve always looked at food as something that provides comfort and happiness.
I couldn’t fix our pain; I couldn’t make it easier. Maybe for a brief second I could make a meal that would help us pause and relax. The food was great, but not that great. Clomid treatments evolved into IUI treatments which then evolved into IVF.
In May of 2017, we welcomed our daughter into the world after a traumatic pregnancy filled with miscarriage scares and several trips to the ER. We met our daughter in a crowded delivery room. The doctors told us my wife could lose her uterus or even her life because of her placenta accreta.
That May, though, we left the hospital with everyone healthy and happy for the first time we could remember. I finally took a full breath after what felt like an eternity.
That June, looking at that index card asking for my T-Shirt size, I knew exactly how I got to that point. However, I was ready to stop swimming down. I joined WW, and I haven’t looked back. I lost over 80lb since my highest (although realistically I probably weighed more I wasn't weighing myself).
I’m a happier, fuller person now thanks to WW. I feel, for the first time in a really long time, that I am the person I am supposed to be. I take care of myself, and for the first time in a long time, I've prioritized my health and wellness. WW has helped me find a balance with being a good father while being good to myself.
How I did things differently this time
This isn’t the first time I did WW. We did Weight Watchers to prepare for our wedding. My weight fluctuated all of my life. When you’re paying so much to have a giant party and take fancy pictures, you want to look your best.
In those days, grilled chicken, steamed broccoli, and hot sauce was my usual dinner. We ate a lot of fat-free and sugar-free products, and they totally worked; it just wasn’t sustainable for me in the long run. It wasn’t sustainable because I didn’t actually enjoy a lot of my meals.
This time around, I wanted to make sure it stuck. We went through the emotional gauntlet and we still very much live in that YOLO philosophy. I’ve found success in experimenting with food and finding food that makes me happy.
I’ll never be a guy that eats a salad more than once a week… or even every other week for that matter. When I first joined, you should have seen how much lettuce, kale, arugula I bought. There were over-ambitious salads I never ate. You can’t make yourself like salads, but you can find your own creativity in the kitchen. You can make your journey work for you.
My healthy journey is filled with burgers, biscuits, pasta, cheese, and all sorts of other delicious things you can find on my website.