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Just a bunch of Musings from Canadian eh?
by MP

previous entry: I really wish...

next entry: It’s been a month now etc

My Relationship with Food


From the time I was a kid up until I reached my mid-forties, I always had a small to medium-boned body frame despite my always having big shoulders like my mother. I was always slim I ate whatever I wanted without any issues that would have affected my weight or caused any weight gain. To this day I was also a very fussy eater until my mid-thirties. While I was young, I never liked to eat. At the dinner table as a youngster and as I had approached early adulthood, I would take forever to finish a meal partly because I was a very fussy eater or that I would dawdle. Whatever I did not finish from my plate my mother would take over and clean my plate for me. At the dinner table, my mother or my mother's god-awful ex common in law partner Ivan who used to bitch at me to EAT! It bothered him or my mother to see me dawdle at the table or hardly eat due to my having been very fussy. Ivan was the same common-law partner who later sexually assaulted me. As I had developed anxiety due to my having been sexually assaulted by Ivan there were times, I would be fearful of eating anything due to fear of ending up vomiting in the end. If my memory also served me correctly, I even had fears of making myself throw up after eating which of course neither of the above had ever occurred. Another thing despite I never seriously binged or purged even as a young adult I recall years ago my anxiety would cause me to feel extremely hungry nothing I ate no matter how much I ate made me feel satisfied without ever putting on weight.

Although all throughout my life my weaknesses were always junk food and fast food which I guess was also my form of rebellion after I had moved out on my own since my mother forbade junk food such as pop, pop, cookies, or ice cream in the house except for birthdays while growing up. On the other hand, the only treat my mother bought into the house were Wagon Wheels which were chocolate-covered round cookies with marshmallow filling that my mother had bought for me to have for my recess in Elementary school. My mum at home would hide the Wagon Wheels away from me because she knew I would find a way to eat them when I was not in school. I recall my eldest sister as a teen occasionally supposedly rebelling in the junk food department while she was growing up at home because I would recall her making chocolate brownies from a generic Duncan Hines box of brownie mix where I would then find myself licking the remnants of the chocolate batter from a spatula or wooden spoon.  


Years later when I was living on my own allowing junk food at my place was my way of making up for the years of not having any at home while growing up and remaining quite skinny.

However, I do remember in my late 30s I did start to put on weight, but I had managed to lose weight without ever really changing my diet or eating habits. The only difference was that maybe my portions were smaller. I gather my weight gain during my late 30s attributed to my always having been eating my meals every day at my former Vietnamese neighbor's place where I had helped raise their daughter Catherine for 10 years. Anyhow the weight loss back then was easy due to the fact I was also going through major emotional stress due to some family issues and the loss of my former place. I have managed to keep the weight that I had lost for about 3 years which I think again was related to further emotional stress I was going through again resulting from some personal problems I was going through. I will never forget that back then I went down to weighing 135-140lbs which was a perfect weight for my 5”6 in a half small to medium body bone frame. Imagine to my shock back to my having weighed the above weight because I will never forget being at the closed down Zellers department store in the fitting room during the summer of 2008, whereas my having been able to zip up and fit into a pair of women’s sized 9 pair of denim shorts. As I lost the above weight, I even recalled being in awe of being able to also soon after fit into my neighbor's teen daughter Catherine’s pair of size 7 Jeans. Again, lost weight with no changes to my diet or eating habits.

During the years I was healthy with no evidence of high blood pressure or other health issues that would be apparent to one being overweight. I also to this day have never smoked and never touched any alcohol nor have ever done any drugs. I have tried throughout the years to stay active by riding my bike everywhere. My bike was my form of transportation since I never owned my own car, especially because I never got my driver's license.

There was also no family history of one ever being overweight or even obese. I do recall my siblings or my mother would always be dieting which never made sense to me. I never thought anyone in my family was to be considered obese or even fat. My sisters, especially my middle sister who is now a medical physician, were always going out jogging and to this day she still leads a vegetarian diet as well as participates in marathons or running clubs. My late father during his life was never, despite being petite, he was a heavy smoker and an alcoholic.

While growing up my mother always cooked at home there were never desserts at home nor any junk food in the house. My brown-bagged or lunchbox-filled school lunches my mother would have packed for me during elementary school would always consist of a healthy sandwich such as Tuna salad, a piece of fruit, and a small lunchbox-sized can of Sun Rype Apple Juice. Again, there would be no cookie or even a Hostess, Ding Dong, to be accompanied as an after-lunch dessert. My high school cafeteria lunches would have consisted of items such as chicken pot Pies with fries or Pizza with a small carton of Chocolate Milk. During my breaks in between morning classes in high school, I would sometimes grab a doughnut from the school cafeteria. My high school brown-bagged lunches would usually consist of a sandwich and a drink with a piece of fruit. I recall at home my mother after dinner would always say “There’s no such thing as a dessert or junk food in this house”. Back then I never understood why we never had desserts in the house after dinner or junk food because I recall my friends would always be having desserts or Junk food in their homes whenever I would get invited at their places for dinner.  My mother never baked except during Saint holidays, orthodox Easter, or Christmas. Another thing while growing up eating out was only considered to be an occasional treat such as going out for ice cream at DQ aka Dairy Queen or ordering dinner from McDonald’s. Whenever I would go home for lunch during elementary school my mother would make a pot of KD aka Kraft Mac & Cheese dinner a bowl of Lipton’s Chicken Noodle soup with a grilled cheese sandwich along with a glass of milk.

Prior to and after I had moved out on my own back in 1996  despite my still having stayed pretty skinny weighing 110-115lbs and wearing women’s or Junior size 8 clothes for many years my meals then would still consist of TV dinners, canned or other processed foods  I have bought on my own because to this day I always DETESTED cooking I do not know why but I just do maybe it is because of the continued accumulation of a Mount Everest sized pile of dishes that frequently seemed to evolve after a home-cooked meal was prepared. And I am one of those people who always strongly loathed doing the dishes after every meal. There were times I would make an actual home-cooked meal for dinner such as spaghetti, but it was not often which again was related to the fact that I ABSOLUTELY did not enjoy cooking even though I did manage to have acquired some cooking skills after my having sometimes had watched my mother cook. Again, aside from the occasional home-cooked spaghetti I again resorted to having TV dinners or fast food for dinner or sometimes lunch. My favorite fast food I would find myself to be going to KFC for their weekly Tuesday $2   Special the 2 pieces of KFC chicken with fries and a drink special called the Tuesday Toonie special. Every Tuesday I would buy at least 2 boxes I would eat one box one day and the second box would have remained inside the fridge to be eaten for lunch or dinner the following day. I will never forget one day while I was talking to my dear old former high school counselor as well as my darling dear old friend Sheila who was always like my second mom to me when she was pleasantly asking me what I was eating. I can still remember Sheila’s exact words to me, “What ya get?” I had mentioned to her the KFC toonie Tuesday Special. Sheila seemed OK with what I was eating or at least she did not end up bitching nor lectured at me for having eaten something so highly fattening or greasy, to begin with. I am amazed by the weekly KFC Tuesday toonie specials I have eaten every week that I have remained to have not only stayed skinny but that my cholesterol levels always remained to this day to be NORMAL. Because I had gone to KFC every Tuesday the store manager had always recognized me and always KNEW what I had wanted to order before I even uttered the “Toonie Special”.

In 2011 I moved to Richmond, and I did manage my weight despite I slowly started to put on weight partly due to stress my eating habits, and perimenopause despite I still rode my bike around and swam every day at the outdoor pool at my residential complex during the summer of 2011. My health again, even then, remained healthy, no evidence of health issues of any sort had appeared.  In 2012 the lazy as hell managers at my place had decided to permanently shut down the pool which meant goodbye to free summer swimming for all residents. So once again I resorted to riding my bike everywhere, I went. It also didn’t help my living next door to a mini shopping center where there were many restaurants to choose from such as McDonald’s the temptation was there to eat out within a stone's throw which of course caused me weight gain regardless of how physically active I tried to be.

In 2013 I got a yearly membership to the local gym at the nearby recreation center where I not only used the fitness room but even attended public swim sessions such as pool aerobics. I would ride my bike to and from the rec center. My weight did increase which again was due to my eating habits and perimenopause. After all, I was in my mid to late forties while at the same time, I showed no evidence of health issues as indicated on lab tests.

Around early 2014 I attempted to go buy several freshly prepared home-cooked meal packages from the culinary department at a local community college. All the food there was freshly prepared by culinary ambitious standards under the strict supervision of the head chef of the school's culinary studies program. All food prepared that I had purchased had met nutritional guidelines and did not contain any additives or preservatives. It was healthier as well as very economical than eating or buying TV dinners. Then in late 2014  on my way to buy more food from the local nearby community college,  I experienced my first vertigo attack that whole experience literally threw my world upside down both mentally and physically because I was afraid to not only go out due to fear of developing a possible vertigo attack out in public, but it also signaled the end of my being able to go back to buy meals from the community college. For a while, my friend Mike did go for me to buy some food from the college, but it didn’t last long due to the lack of selection of the food I had wanted. 

Walking at times for exercise had made me dizzy at times due to vertigo which made doing exercise at times challenging it still does from time to time. Lack of exercise due to vertigo eventually led to more weight gain than in 2015 or 2016 I didn’t like the fact I was continuing to gain weight, especially where all or any of my weight always had gone to my stomach area even when I was skinny. I then decided the hell with my vertigo something had to be done about my weight, so I once again attempted walking which helped me start to lose weight. So then in 2018, I attempted once again to start walking every day around the baseball field at the park behind my place. There were times I would have walked for 2 hours at a time walking 20 laps around the field. I even attempted riding my bike around the park too. As I started to walk on a regular basis, I started to lose weight, and walking around the field continued till the end of 2019. As the Winter of the following year approached it left me unmotivated to continue walking due to constant rain cold or snow. I tried to change my eating habits then, which helped some by ordering home-cooked meals prepared by the nearby nursing home but my diet and eating habits were still the same in terms of my having eaten some processed foods.

As I reached full Menopause in 2019 my weight started to increase despite, my trying to exercise my health was constantly questioned by my mother and she continually body-shaming me it didn’t help me emotionally because I learned from my therapist Barbara that I not only suffered from a predisposition to developing an eating disorder but now I would have thoughts of purging my meals. I guess the thoughts of purging my meals had developed even when I was skinny because I didn’t want to be fat but at times, I would feel guilty for having such a very relaxed attitude about having eaten that cookie or the ice cream and or even a bag of my favorite Sour Cream & 0nion chips. The only reason I never acted upon the thoughts of purging is that for starters, I have a phobia of vomiting, and 2. I was aware of the damage that can occur to one's body by forced vomiting. In the fall of 2019 while staying at my mother's for a week while my place was being renovated my mother seriously got on my case with everything, I had eaten she would also body shame me. I will never forget how she seriously freaked out on me so badly after seeing me put a small amount of margarine on my breakfast sandwich I had prepared which had caused me to verbally blow up at her. After my constant hearing do not eat this do not eat that, do not eat dairy, do not eat light mayo or even bread. I thought what in the hell was I supposed to eat??? I mean everything we eat such as cheese or the things I like to eat is high in fat or even calories even when it is non-processed food. I figured I would not eat only veggies and salads since I was not a rabbit. Another thing that I found was that even though I did remain skinny for most of my life I started to recall throughout the fifties to the nineties everybody ate everything they wanted and there were no high rates of obesity in people especially when I was growing up. There was also no gluten-free or vegan type food whereas years ago either again did not seem to be such extreme rates of obesity. Today I noticed there are just too many food restrictions or so many types of different diets such as intermittent fasting. Sometimes I feel if one kept restricting so many types of food from their diets then what could one be eating then? Grass from the ground?

Then in 2020, my weight continued to climb, especially more so since I would be invited by friends out to eat every weekend (almost). Then when the coronavirus pandemic had started, we were all told to stay home especially where most places had closed except for grocery stores. I started to feel depressed and that was when I frequently utilized food ordering apps such as Skip the Dishes the food choices, I ordered were not exactly the healthiest either but at the same time due to the depression I was not feeling motivated to cook or even go outside to even walk. Once again that meant more weight gain. I wanted to ride my old 21-year-old Raleigh Mountain bike but could not since it needed to be fixed which I found was not worth fixing instead, I was in search of a new bike which soon proved unsuccessful. During my search for a newer bike, I tried walking around the baseball field without much success due to lower back pain as the result of my degenerative disc disease I had developed when I was in my early 20s. Then on June 15, 2020, I went to the ER due to some abdominal pains I was having on my lower left side.  While in the ER I had full bloodwork and urinalysis done and the results of the lab work were ALL NORMAL EXCEPT there were some slight elevations of my liver enzymes. The ER doctor Dr. Reid Barker who was the Instructor of Emergency Medicine at UBC was not concerned about the liver enzymes because I guess he was impressed with the results of the rest of my bloodwork such as the optimal performance of my kidneys. I knew enough that having slightly elevated liver enzymes was a sign of a potential liver problem and was surprised because I always have been a non-drinker non-smoker and non-drug user as well. Plus, I never even indulged in risky behaviors that would have elevated the risk of AIDS or even hepatitis. Finally, I did not even have any physical symptoms of liver issues either. I had asked Dr. Barker and my sister who was also a physician why would my liver enzymes be a bit elevated? I was told by both doctors that sometimes being overweight, especially when there are too many fat accumulations in the stomach, can contribute to slightly elevated liver enzymes. I had asked Dr. Barker if my liver enzymes could be lowered. He said yes. Also, soon afterward I read that elevated enzymes can be attributed to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease mind you Dr. Barker never diagnosed me with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease but the fact that I knew on that day in the ER that I had to seriously do something to lose weight. As I had done some reading on the internet about fatty liver disease and elevated liver enzymes, I learned that it can be reversed due to weight loss. If I did not try to change the health of my liver or lower its enzyme levels, I could possibly develop liver failure, liver cancer, or even hepatitis. This was enough information to seriously scare me straight into seriously changing my lifestyle. I am so glad I went to the ER on that June day because if I had not known about my slightly elevated enzymes, I not only would have continued my bad diet of processed foods, but I could have died from a liver condition. So, I must thank Dr. Barker, the nice-looking 30-something ER doctor to really have given me a good wake-up call. In fact, a couple of days later after my ER visit, I had sent Dr. Barker by email an E-card thanking him for looking after me at the ER. I think I should have also thanked Dr. Barker for waking me up about the slight elevations of my liver enzymes.

The first week or two with the new lifestyle changes to my diet was difficult. I even threw away a lot of the food from my cabinets and fridge. I wanted to make certain I had only healthy low-cal or low-fat foods as much as possible. I was also hungry all the time no matter what I ate even in between meals or even at night which I guess was the result of my stomach being so used to eating the bad diet I was eating and the supposed substantial portions of food I was eating during my meals. The worst was craving food during the evenings before bedtime. Thoughts of food would randomly appear in my head one night I was even craving a salami sandwich which I have not had since childhood. Thoughts of food were even creating a lot of anxiety. I tried drinking a lot of water which did not fill me up and made me quite hungrier. I also never liked water or the taste of it since childhood despite knowing water was greatly beneficial as well as important to our bodies. I even started to consistently cook all my meals at home regardless of how much I hate cooking. I bought more fruits and veggies and I made sure to eat them every day with my meals.


During the first week of my new lifestyle change, I tried to get help from my friend Mike's sister Jennifer who is a fitness and Nutrition expert which did not help and created extreme anxiety because no matter what I ate there was always something wrong Jennifer had found with what I ate and the fact that she did not like the fact that I ate dairy or even drank 1 percent milk. I am sorry but I was not ever going to give up milk because it had always been my go-to beverage all my life, it is what made my bones extraordinarily strong and healthy. And the fact that I dislike tea Also, coffee. Also, Mike's sister Jennifer also had refused to accept any excuses from me just because I did not work especially upon her knowing how it was extremely difficult for someone like me who was on low disability income to be able to afford very nutritious food. Plus, how challenging it was for me at times for me to even try to exercise. Therefore, after all the extreme anxiety I was developing from just continually contacting Mike's sister Jennifer for help with my lifestyle change, I had to stop talking to her for it was not helping me whatsoever. Just talking to Jennifer just created too much frustration for me. She was just too extremely strict for me in terms of her approach towards nutrition. Talking to Jennifer had mentioned thoughts of purging my meals just for the sake of losing weight which I guess were the result of the stress and anxiety I was experiencing while having spoken to her. I of course still never acted upon my thoughts of purging and only because I had a good sense of control as I recall my therapist Barbara saying. So, to protect my mental health I had to seriously block Mike's sister on Facebook.  


After talking to my friend Tina about my food frustrations she suggested that I call to speak to a registered dietician through 811 Service Canada a free service for those who reside in British Columbia and possess a valid health insurance card known as The BC Care card. I soon spoke to an extremely nice dietician named Carolyn who really took the time to talk to me very pleasantly, more like having had a whole 2-hour phone conversation with me. Carolyn really took the time to answer any questions I had and even seriously taught me how to read nutrition labels. Carolyn even encouraged me to call her again if I had more questions or concerns. The thing I liked about talking to Carolyn is that she never made me feel so horrible or even very anxious about my food choices and she seemed to genuinely want to really help me as if she genuinely cared about me. I really liked Carolyn along with her extremely warm approach to how she dealt with me overall. 

After I had spoken to the nutritionist on the phone, I had managed for about a month to stick to my healthy lifestyle and change in diet but after I had moved to Burnaby everything went back to my old ways of eating thanks to my living near two fast food burger joints along with many other restaurants nearby my place. 


In the 3 years since I had moved to Burnaby, my weight had gone up and down and I also tried to join Weight Watchers only to quit after a day due to it giving me extreme anxiety due to their food points system. I am trying to eat healthy as much as possible, but I still have issues by trying not to eat at night before bed, what do I do if I do not want to go to bed on a hungry stomach? My mother still finds the time to body shame me it's a demanding situation. I had tried exercising at my mother's indoor pool but even that got kind of boring since I hate exercising alone.   As I had said before, no matter what I had done to try to lose weight it seems there is a difficult situation in the end.



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