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Old 10-18-2008, 02:31 PM   #1  
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Default Study Abroad Weight Loss

okay, this is a real shot in the dark, but is anyone else studying abroad next semester? I think it'd be great to have support because trying to prepare for 5 months away from home is hard and I want to lose weight and gain confidence in myself so I have fun and no regrets about not doing something because I feel fat and ugly.

anyone else studying abroad?

I'll be leaving for Spain January 5th and returning June 5th, how about you?

What are your goals/how are you going to accomplish them?

Okay, yea so hopefully there are some other study abroaders?
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Old 10-18-2008, 02:59 PM   #2  
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Hello! This is actually the first message I have posted (long time lurker) but I had to reply since 10 years ago I did exactly the same study abroad, and I always tell people a semester in Spain is the easiest weight loss plan ever! I don't know what your specific situation is (ie, if you'll be in a homestay like I was), but I ended up losing almost 20 lbs. with NO effort - or even intention - at all over the semester. Why?
1) It is not a "snacking" culture. Most people have a small breakfast, a huge lunch, and a light dinner. We would sometimes get coffee, or occasionally ice cream on a hot day, but it would be weird to just sit down with a bag of chips in the afternoon.
2) No driving. (I'm assuming you'll be in a city.) So you either take public trans, which costs money, or you walk everywhere. My homestay was on the other side of the city from the university where we had classes (I was in Valencia). Every morning my closeby friend and I would take the bus (45 min., around the city) to class, then walk home (straight through, also about 45 min.). We would look in the shop windows and talk, and the walk went quickly.
3) Filling time. Our setup was classes all morning, but nothing scheduled in the afternoon. So if we didn't have an outing or other group activity, we had to entertain ourselves. Was I going to sit in my room? So almost every day I spent the afternoon walking, either around the city or in the long string of parks that circle Valencia in an old riverbed. I'd bring music (a CD walkman at the time) and just wander around.
4) The food. If you have a homestay your host mother will probably cook a big "comida" every day midday - from paella to chicken or whatever. And you'll eat until stuffed, then have to stuff in some fruit on top! That keeps you full all day, and is healthy too.
Things may have changed in some regards in the past 10 years, but I'd bet a lot will be the same. If you are in a similar living situation, just enjoy Spain and the weight will fall off!
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Old 10-18-2008, 04:27 PM   #3  
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My cousin spent a semester abroad in Italy and said the same thing happened to her. There were so many sights to see, and she walked almost everywhere. The simple lifestyle change slimmed her down quite a bit!
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Old 10-18-2008, 06:27 PM   #4  
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I intend to go to Curacao for a year somewhere in april/may. I have no idea what I'll be doing with my weight loss program then; it totally depends on what I weigh then. I have heard, though, that the food culture there does not really support dieting. Meat has status, especially red meat; fish does not (it's cheap). But because the people don't have too much money they usually eat the cheap parts, the fatty parts of the animal. Vegetables don't have much status as a food either. I don't know how this'll affect me though, as I'll probably be cooking for myself most of the time.

I hope you'll have fun in Spain . The mediterranean diet is apparently a great way to lose weight, so that's hopeful, isn't it? Also I feel that fast food is not as readily available there as in the USA; that might help too. Give me a wave when you pass over Holland :P.
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Old 10-18-2008, 07:20 PM   #5  
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Ok, I live in Chile, right now my but BF is doing his Phd in Spain and everytime he sends a pic he looks thinner.
I think that the "meal schedule" for latin countries makes you eat less, small breakfast, big lunch around 2- 2:30 pm a coffee at 5-6 and then a small dinner around 7-8 and imagine all the stuff you´ll be doing, all the walking, etc.
I tend to eat when I´m bored, so I know I would loose if I was studying abroad bcause it´s hard to get bored with all the places to visit, people to know, etc.
One little tip, exchange students tend to party A LOT, so keep away from the alcohol, it´s totally filled with calories! And good luck, ahhh my BF is in Barcelona so if you´re going there and need tips feel free to PM me!
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Old 10-20-2008, 07:39 AM   #6  
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I'm not studying abroad, but I did just temporarily move from the US to South Korea (been here almost two months, will be here 1-2 years). I am NOT losing weight here. I don't like Korean food much, I'm vegetarian and it's super-meat intensive so I find myself kind of eating whatever (fast food and junk food). It's getting slowly better but still... I ate much healthier in the states. THOUGH I ate a LOT there, here I rarely snack anymore, though my dinners are the biggest meal.

Korea is great for walking, I walk somewhere everyday and I'm always climbing stairs... sometimes even to my 23rd floor apartment.

I'm not sure what's wrong with me, I have been working out plus the walking and getting better with my eating but not losing weight. My boyfriend, already very slim, lost 7-10 lbs without trying. He's now underweight.

Anyways, when I was in Europe in February, I ate anything I wanted and just walked all over Barcelona, Madrid, Italy and the UK and lost about 6 lbs in 3 weeks. You will probably be successful in weightloss, especially with a little effort.
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Old 10-20-2008, 07:42 AM   #7  
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*sigh* I miss my study abroad days in Florence, Italy... *sigh* I had a great time and I'm sure you will have a great time in Spain too

And PS... I lost almost 20 lbs while studying abroad in Europe in 2004, just by eating normally and walking around.
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Old 10-20-2008, 10:22 AM   #8  
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This is my first post- I just joined today essentially for the same reason.

I am going abroad for my final semester of college to Singapore on Jan.8th!

I really want to enjoy the culture and enjoy the food and my time spent there and not have the additional worry or anxiety that comes with the dieting mindset.

So, therefore I want to go there at "my happy spot" weight of around 130-132... but I have to concentrate on making healthier decisions to get there which is hard to do at college when you live with 6 other girls who love to bake and make goodies ALL the time! So hopefully by posting here I can keep myself focused for the next 2 months on getting healthier and dropping a couple pounds in the process.
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Old 10-20-2008, 10:29 AM   #9  
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I spent the first semester of my junior year in Milan, and had no problem maintaining the weight I had already lost, and losing a few more, literally without trying, because of all the walking and the different attitude toward food there.
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Old 10-20-2008, 04:06 PM   #10  
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I live in Italy... as long as you are walking around as much as you will be in Spain, you should be fine. I am assuming you will be living in a tiny apartment in a large city, which means most of your social/recreation time will be out. You'll do great! Enjoy the tapas and paella, they are YUMMO! Was just in Barcelona a few weeks ago, Spain is an amazing country, and the food is fantastic.
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Old 10-20-2008, 07:10 PM   #11  
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Thanks everyone for the support! I can't wait to go to Spain! I will definetly be walking a LOT and being a lot healthier I know that for sure! maybe except for some alcohol but... the city I'm going to is ultra healthy and what not. I just don't want to be that chubby american who is huffing and puffing everywhere. I want to be healthy and confident. Plus, it's by the beach and those beaches are clothing optional so....

I have a little over 11 weeks until I leave. Ideally, I'd like to lose 20 pounds but who knows. I'm trying to running every mon-Thursday morning outside so weather permitting. I went for the first time since august and I'm REALLY out of shape. This week will be mon, wed, Fri but next week will be Mon-thurs since that is when I have classes. Actually, I don't know I might do some weekends depending. I'm really self-conscious so I like to do it when very few people are around. haha!

erika- that's so cool! It looks like you only have a few pounds left to lose (whoo-hoo!), but I totally understand the living with other girls and trying to maintain during Christmas season! eek! good luck!! how are you planning on losing weight? (btw, I love the "happy weight" idea!)
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Old 10-20-2008, 10:31 PM   #12  
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Be carefull when you are there. I gained a TON of weight when I studied abroad.
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Old 11-02-2008, 03:22 PM   #13  
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I'll be going to Spain as well, but it won't be until May. I can't wait to go either!! I had several friends lose a significant amount of weight there. They really enjoyed bicycling around the city in their free time - something to think about.
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Old 11-02-2008, 05:31 PM   #14  
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Oh man, I did a year-long fellowship in Scotland/Italy (split time between two research facilities) a few years ago and lost about 50 lbs. Then I came back to an intensive classroom and lab program that mostly involved sitting at a computer or working with a microscope and gained it all back over the next 5 years.

You'll be out doing so much and walking and having yummy local food that you won't even notice the weight loss.

Have an awesome time.
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