Gaining weight has to be one of the most dreaded things by all human beings. Why can’t I eat whatever I want and not see a weight gain? Why can’t I just enjoy all the “yummy” food without realizing one day I no longer fit in my favorite jeans? I know these thoughts have probably passed through your mind, because they have definitely passed through mine. Gaining weight is no fun under any circumstances, but gaining weight while living abroad is something a lot of people have experienced, including myself, so in this post I want to share my experience, how I have dealt with it, and what you can do if you are about to embark on a journey in a new country, city, or even if you are changing jobs, or making an important shift in your life.
2 Reasons why gaining weight while living abroad can happen very easily
- Food and emotions: My first official ¨weight gain while living abroad¨ happened when I left Mexico and moved to Canada at 15 years old. I moved from a warm weather climate to -40ºC – pretty cold if you ask me. The fact of moving countries, leaving family, and having to adapt to a new language, culture, and life, had everything to do with my weight gain of more than 20 kilos in the first year. This hasn’t happened just to me, and in fact, it happened to almost all the people I met at boarding school that year. There is evidence that our weight is linked directly to our emotions and mental state, therefore we cannot be too hard on ourselves.
- Physical Activity: When you move to a new country, city, start school again, or a new job, your mind is most likely busy settling in, exploring the city, and finding your way in your new home, this is when exercise can, most of the time, take a back seat. You can still live your new life to the fullest without becoming too sedentary and complacent!
What can you do to stop gaining weight while living abroad?
- Nutrition: Get a nutritionist, get a food plan, and learn how to eat and adapt to your new lifestyle. There is always a way to enjoy the new cuisine from the place you just arrived to, while taking care of your body.
- Keep moving: It is very simple. If you eat more than what you are spending while moving around, you will gain weight. Join a fitness class, dance studio, gym, yoga class, and keep that body moving. I can assure you that it will keep you in a good mood, less homesick, and in great shape.
- Keep your emotions in check: Don’t drink away your calories, alcohol is the worst enemy when trying to stay at an ideal weight. There are other ways to fit into a new circle of friends or society, join mindfulness activities such as meditation, yoga, if running is your thing, train in groups, in parks, and keep your mind healthy and busy.
Over the years, I have moved homes 8 times, lived in 5 countries and traveled the world extensively. I have always been a seeker of new challenges and goals. The places I have seen, my interaction with people from diverse cultural backgrounds, and the new flavours I have tried, have deeply influenced me and fueled my career as a health, marketing, and food specialist and professional. My background in health comes from my degree in Nutrition and Food Science and my Master’s Degree in Science, focused on Global Health from the University of Glasgow in Scotland.