Growing up in Germany with health-conscious parents, I was strangely fascinated by the American diet. I remember watching a Christmas movie where drinking a coke was about the best thing that could happen to a sad kid --and it stuck with me. On TV people would always go ‘grab a bite’ and then I’d see them eating French fries and sipping on a shake. When I did an internship in Canada for 6 weeks as a young adult, I felt ecstatic to find a fridge and multiple freezers in my family’s home, always stocked with pop, microwavable quick meals, tubs of ice cream, and a pantry filled with different kinds of cereals.
I had so much fun starting my day with mixing sugary cereals, one or two donuts for snack (I was interning as a teacher after all), and walking home for lunch (the school was close) to either have some leftovers from the family cookout on Sunday or those pizza pops all the kids went crazy for. At the end of my school day I would sweeten my free time by drinking coke, and eating ice cream with frozen fruit on top. It felt like freedom! In addition to walking around town, I did spent some time on my family’s treadmill. But when I was back in Germany and had my pictures developed, the photos revealed -without sugar-coding it- that in those 6 weeks I gained 20lbs.
But here’s the kicker; it wasn’t my weight that was the real problem. Honestly, I don’t even remember noticing my weight gain until I saw the pictures. What I did notice while in Canada was that my teeth started hurting, which made my much-needed naps very difficult. It wasn’t my gums or one specific tooth, it was the enamel that hurt all over my teeth! I also noticed terrible skin blemishes and severe sluggishness. Having no energy led to craving more sugar! Besides that, the depression I had already struggled with before I arrived in Canada got worse, much worse. This led to falling back into old patterns of comforting myself with food. Most of the day was spent thinking about food and sleeping. And candy… there was always more treats to be had. So why not have more!?Read More