Living Maintenance - Maintaining in N America

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Just Dance Girl
04-26-2013, 03:11 AM
I live in Asia, in a developing country (read poor) and I'm returning to the states for the summer. I'm quite nervous about it because I'm afraid I will eat too much and gain weight. We even joke about it here that people who go to the states to study come back 'bigger'.

The thing is that here we don't have the junk food or fast food and I walk everywhere. Actually we have different junk food that I've made my peace with and don't indulge in. And we don't have processed food, like spaghetti sauce.

But being there for 3 months and knowing I won't be able to have certain foods when I return, I'm afraid I'll go crazy.

We're hoping to join the Y and I'll do strength training. And I can 'go' for a walk instead of having to walk.

It just seems like N America is set up to be fat.

Does anyone have any suggestions?

04-26-2013, 06:31 AM
I feel your pain. I currently live in a rich Asian country (Korea) and every time I have gone home I gain a ton of weight. I was home for 4 months last year and gained 10kg!! Insane. I know my biggest problem last time was eating out. My fiancÚ and I were travelling a lot, between his family and mine and just road trips in general. It was the worse. You have to be superbly conscious when eating out in North America. However if you're going to making your own meals it's completely doable. The first time I went home I gained about 15 pounds the first month, it was around xmas, I was visiting friends and again eating out/drinking a lot. However I spent the next 2 months losing it by preparing all of my foods, watching my calories and avoiding all the junk in my parents house like the plague. I guess my biggest piece of advice would just be to try and eat as similar to as you do now. It's all about avoiding temptation! Good luck.

04-26-2013, 08:32 AM
Empathy here. I lived in western (undeveloped) China for 4 years and came back to the States in the summers for a 6 week visit and classes. Now, I hadn't lost weight yet but I know I gained at least a few pounds, maybe 5-10, every summer. They came off quickly when I returned to China and I went back to my "normal" overweight status. :)

My suggestion to you would be to decide now, before you come to the US, what you will and won't do, and then stick with it. Make a workable plan and commit. For example, what will you do for exercise? How many days per week, for how long? What special "treats" will you allow yourself, and how often? What big food events are important enough to you to splurge on, and what would just be excessive? What foods right now do you really, truly miss? What is worth it and what's not?

Temptation is everywhere in the States, but it's often suggestive temptation. I don't even like Doritos, but when I see a bag in the store I want them. For a long time I would have to go through the internal conversation of reminding myself I don't like them, so it would be silly and wasteful to buy them. Now, I don't need to have that conversation - it's automatic. I use that as an example - what suggestive temptations will you need to plan to avoid when you're in the States?

Good luck!

04-26-2013, 03:32 PM
I find it easier to eat healthily in the US than Asia. There are more options in supermarkets. In Japan where I lived for a few years everyone (ok not EVERYONE but it sure seems that way) weighs less than me and eats super carby diets, so I would find myself thinking "I can eat a super carby diet and be like them." When I'd come home on vacations I would see huge fat people everywhere and think "if I eat poorly I will become a huge fat person."

Just Dance Girl
05-04-2013, 02:38 AM
Thanks so much for your input!

I agree that I do need to make a plan. I'm thinking now about how to deal with treats, but also staying with people and eating whatever is served me. The first week we'll be staying with friends and I want to be respectful and kind.

Maybe with the treats I'll have one every other day. On the days friends don't serve me spaghetti and garlic bread. :dizzy:

I'm also thinking now I'll try to build up as much muscle as possible. The first 2 weeks back I won't be able to work out so more muscles now will help that. I will be able to walk/jog, though. Maybe even bike ride. When we get settled, I'm hoping to join the Y and do their classes. They were great last summer.

Thinking about This has really helped. I'm a little less freaked. Thanks.