my food story.

I can remember
counting calories
and eating Weight Watcher bread
in grade 8.

I spent the summer
babysitting two young children
and kept track of
every.
single.
thing.
I. ate.

8 glasses of water
plain melba toast for snack
tuna sandwiches with lettuce,
what felt like
every single day.

Walking long distances
not because I enjoyed it,
but because I thought
it might help me
lose weight.

I finally did
going into
the fall of grade 10.
Suddenly,
it felt like boys
started to notice me.

finally.

A year later
my goal was to eat
as little food
as possible.

Dizzy, weak spells
and the pride of finally
being able to buy clothing
in size 8,
almost 6.

Friends made comments
and shared concerns
about my eating,
or lack thereof.

I’m fine.
I still wasn’t where
I wanted to be.

I don’t think I actually felt
somewhat balanced
or healthy until university
(with the exception of first year).

First year was sketchy cafeteria food
that had us ordering in pizza
at ungodly hours.
First year,
I joined the many
who brought home
their Freshman 15.

But in second and third year,
I was surrounded by friends
and had met my hubby.
I wasn’t worried
about trying
to impress anyone,
but myself.

Fast forward to graduating
and living on my own.
Cooking for one person?

In my basement bachelor apartment
it looked like:

cereal
toast
artificial crab (weird, I know)
ham steaks (what?!)
soup

I don’t even remember
what else I ate.

I do remember, however,
that Eric bought me
a George Foreman grill
that Christmas (or birthday)
because he was concerned
that I wasn’t eating enough meat.
It didn’t go over well.

I’m not a girl
you buy kitchen appliances for.
It’s not 1950.

Moving in together
for the first time
man did I gain weight.
I was living with a guy who loved to cook
and dished up my plate as though
it were his own.
I didn’t complain,
it was nice to have full meals.
He’s a two vegetable with every meal
kind of guy.

I won’t continue
to drag you through
every moment
of food consumption
in my life.

We’ll fast forward
to now.

Three babies,
in three years
and I feel disgusting
in my own skin.

I’m not taking care of myself
and yet I expect
to see something different
than what’s in the mirror.

Breakfast is usually a piece of toast.
My priority,
is having
a hot cup of tea.

I don’t often eat lunch.
I’m busy trying to get the kids fed
and ready for nap.
And then, I don’t want to waste
any of the quiet, precious
alone time
that comes with three sleeping children.

I’ll eat something later
but then I don’t.
The kids are up and
we’re busy again.

Dinner,
is scarfed
between multiple trips to the kitchen
after requests for more milk
or more chicken please.

Side note,
I’m not using the kids as an excuse
for my utter disregard
for nutrition
and my own personal wellbeing.
I’ve been doing it for years.
But now,
it has reached
a new level of unhealthy.

I look at photos
of myself
in disgust
and disbelief.

It has to be true.

I can’t believe
that I look like that. It’s gross.
It’s not me.

What happened?

When will I ever
figure this sh*$ out?

heavy layers.

The thickening
of my thighs,
the feeling of
the top of my legs.
beginning to touch
my a$&.

the tightness of jeans,
a shameful reminder
that the layers I’m adding
are self-inflicted.
they keep me
buried,
even further
inside.

I’ll start to exercise again
I’ll cut back sugar…

sure.

empty plans.
lines I’ve been repeating
since grade 8.

when will I ever
just feel like myself?
healthy and content,
comfortable and proud
in my own skin.

 

nutritional advice.

use margarine,
not butter.

eat celery,
it’s mostly water.

don’t snack between meals,
you’ll consume more calories.

drink lots of water,
it will fill you up.

the cabbage soup diet
the no carb diet
learning to dip my fork in salad dressing
rather than pour it directly onto my lettuce.

all ways to help cut calories
and lose weight.

this is what I remember
about eating food
as a kid.

 

Mom.

I remember
shopping for clothes with my mom
and seeing her frustrated
by how everything fit.

If I lose some more weight…
Ugh.
I need to get back to walking…

Mom tried
different diets,
like the cabbage soup diet
and carb free.
She bought Women’s World magazines
filled with easy tips
for weight loss.

Growing up,
my mom
worked hard
to lose weight.

She went to TOPS meetings
for weekly weigh-ins.
She has always been someone
determined
to reach her weight loss goals.

I wish it didn’t have to be
so hard for her.

 

rewriting my food story.
I’m so thankful that our kids
will grow up seeing food
as something
that nourishes them,
that provides them
with energy
to play
and think
and feel good
in their own skin.

Eric has such a great way
of seeing food.
He loves cooking
and trying new recipes.
He gets excited to plant
vegetables and herbs in the spring.
He also loves cookies
and doesn’t see them as the devil.

Now I need to do my part.
Charlie will love
the skin she’s in.

I’m going to change
my food story.
Instead of seeing food
as the enemy,
the thing I don’t want to
waste my time preparing,
I will learn to embrace it
as a creative act during the day.

Rather than feeling guilty
about having something “bad”,
I will ask myself,
how will this make me feel?
is this nourishing me
physically?
or emotionally?

I’ll take a thinker
and maker’s approach
to rewriting
my food story.

 

Writer’s Note:

At the time of publishing this (end of May 2018), I have decided to do something different to change my food story.

Rather than default to the usual, trying to drastically change my diet or commit to exercise for a short period of time, I’m trying something new.

First, I’m asking for help.  This part hurts me a little. I don’t do this very often.  I like to think that I can do things on my own.

My hubby knows a lot about nutrition, so I’ve asked him to create a meal plan for me. To make it more likely that I would stick with it, I shared some really personal things with him about my eating habits.

Screen Shot 2018-05-28 at 3.06.46 PM.png

my criteria so to speak.  I wrote this for Eric while we sat with the kids during bath time last week.

I’m usually a I want to lose 20 pounds in a month kind of girl.  Which is why he likely asked me to set goals for 30 days, 90 days, and 180 days.  He knows that I’m impatient. I need to quickly see change in order to stick with it and feel motivated.

I also told him that if the meal plan and exercise feels really restrictive or controlling, I’ll totally push back.  I don’t like feeling controlled. That’s a story in itself.  I also get tired of eating the same things all the time. I need variety and something that I can pick at. I don’t want to eat a huge meal at lunch. We’ll see how this goes!

I’m also starting a 30 day email course with Meghan Genge called A Month of Magical Eating.  It starts June 1, 2018 in case you’re interested in it too.  I signed up because I like the idea of thinking more about my relationship with food.  I think diets and short term goals are just band-aids on something bigger.

I don’t enjoy food.  I eat for the mere sake of not being hungry.  Instead, I want to appreciate the taste of food and to be more conscious of what I’m consuming.  I want to think about how it is providing something good for my body (instead of the years I’ve spent worrying about what’s bad).  I’ve never done a course like this before, so I hope it will be a useful piece as I work to rewrite my food story.

And lastly, I’m going to spend some time doing research and learning more about food associations (how is what I eat, linked to my past?  Do certain foods trigger good or bad memories?) I have no idea what I’ll find out. I do hope that it will give me some insight into my current behaviours – conscious or not.

Here’s to change.

5 thoughts on “my food story.

  1. Stacey says:

    I hear you on this big time!! I’ve spent over a year “flipping the script” in my mind. Every time you go to think a negative thought, turn it into something positive. Instead of bashing myself for eating treats I say “ok I enjoyed that. Back to healthy eating.”
    I’ve stopped counting calories and that because it made me feel stressed and anxious.
    I focus on eating balanced meals and not snacking after dinner. I try to do something active (run/gym) 3 days a week.
    The weight is slowly coming off but more importantly I feel good about myself. I’m not standing in front of the mirror saying “you’re disgusting” anymore. I feel like I’m on my way to feeling good about myself.

    • Very Lainie says:

      Good for you! The changes you describe sound like ones that feel do-able versus short term. It’s something a person can continue to work on. Being patient and kind to oneself is so key.

  2. Jackie Speers says:

    That was so honest and brave girl, thanks for sharing! You know you aren’t alone in this, so many of us share the same struggles, especially the part about having littles who take up most or all of your time. Just now that my kids are bigger (6 and 10) have I started to take some time back for me. I see a trainer twice weekly and love how strong and fit it is making me feel. That too can change your relationship with food, and has for me. I am verging on 40 and feeling the best I have in a very long time. Wishing you well on this journey, I have no doubt that you’ve got this! 🙂

    • Very Lainie says:

      Good for you, Jax! So happy to hear that you’re feeling great and carving some time for yourself. You do so much for your kids. Thank you for posting a note – always good to hear from you.

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