Let me just preface this by saying that I don't weigh anywhere near the amount I would actually like to weigh and that I have struggled with weight pretty much my whole life. I do not have a good metabolism and staying at a "normal" weight has always been a challenge. With that being said, I have been able to lose fifteen pounds since moving to China in August. While I still have a long way to go, fifteen pounds is at least a start. Below is a list/reflection of why I think I lost some weight so far.
* I live on the 5th floor of my apartment building. By the third floor, I'm always winded, and at that point usually Scott says something along the lines of, "We had better have calves of steel by the end of this year." Walking up and down five flights of stairs multiple times each day really adds up and forces me to get in exercise that I might not normally get. Also, I'm forgetful, so there have been many times in which I'll be outside of our building ready to meet a friend and realize that I don't have my sunglasses and/or camera and then I'll have walk back up to get them.
* Desserts don't tempt me as much. In the States, I would look forward to going out to eat just to get dessert at the end of the meal. In China, throughout the week I just eat at local restaurants by the school I work at. Those restaurants don't even serve any dessert, so I'm not able to order any, which is a good thing!
* I walk more than I did in the States on a day to day basis. Since I don't own a car motorized scooter, walking it is! I seriously don't mind unless it's super polluted that day.
* Okay, I'm not saying this is a healthy way to lose weight, but the way many foreigners (myself included) have lost weight is through getting food poisoning. Scott and I have discovered that there are certain places we simply cannot eat at because getting sick is a guarantee. For me, I have to avoid this Muslim noodle shop by my school, but we never know when a meal or snack will not sit well with us.
* For lunch, we have to eat with our students and are given a free meal. While I do like that the meal costs me nothing, sometimes the food we are given does not taste the best, so I won't eat everything on my plate.
* Since I'm on a schedule for my job, I have a routine for when I eat each meal. I'm usually pretty hungry when I finish working at 5, so I'll typically grab dinner at around 5:30. Eating an earlier dinner also seems to help out because I've found that eating later makes me gain.
* Grocery shopping is a bit annoying because we can only buy what we can carry. Even if we take a taxi, we are dropped off at the main gate and still have to carry our groceries across campus and for me, up five flights of stairs. When I go grocery shopping, I tend to just buy breakfast food and for that reason, I don't have a lot of snacks just sitting around in my apartment. The lack of readily available snack foods saves me because I don't mindlessly eat while watching Netflix which I've done in the past from time to time.
* The drinking culture is big in Shanghai, but I usually am good at limiting what I drink. Yes, sometimes I'll have a long night out, but those nights are pretty rare for me. Calories in my favorite drinks can add up quickly, and I'd rather just have food!
* This also isn't necessarily a positive one, but Chinese people have commented on my weight and appearance by saying I'm fat, and it got to me. Because of this, sometimes I'll reconsider whether or not I need to have the other half of a sandwich, etc. I know this is stupid, but their comments make me feel guilty so I'll eat less.
While I don't have the perfect eating habits, I think I'm really improving. Chinese food tends to be quite oily, so that is also hard to get around. It's a little discouraging for me sometimes because Scott has lost almost 40 pounds and we do almost everything together/live a very similar lifestyle, but it is A LOT harder for me to lose weight. I've asked him what he thinks I'm doing wrong and he said nothing and that it's just harder for girls in general. Anyway, I have been able to lose some weight, so I'm going to try to focus on the positive and just keep working at it.
How have you struggled to stay healthy? What are some of your best tips?