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Living Abroad Made Me Healthier

Updated: Apr 26, 2022

Living Abroad Made Me Healthier

Can we talk about something that's been weighing on me lately? My weight... or recent lack there of. See what I did there?

When I finished undergrad I was 180 pounds of quesadillas, wing combos and potluck dinners. No lie that was my weekly eating schedule. I was not exercises nor was I eating right. I think the Freshman 15 hit me a couple times, but that all changed when I left the States. In 2019 I lived abroad for 7 months out of the year and lost more than twenty pounds. Coincidence? I think not.

My first time leaving the States to live abroad was to be a volunteer English Teacher in Europe. During my three months in Italy I started walking a lot. When I say a lot I mean at least 10,000 steps a day. AT LEAST. I also at fresh, home cooked food for damn near every meal and meat was no longer the main character.

My secret (not so secret) to becoming healthy was leaving the US. In other countries, people walk on a regular and I don't mean on the treadmill. In other countries, the speed and convenience of food is not the top priority. In other countries, you shop local and actually get to know the people you buy your groceries from. In other countries, health (or lack thereof) is not a business for some to get rick while others suffer.

Moving abroad changed my life for the better in more ways than one. It has really showed me how easy and affordable it is to eat good AND healthy. This ain’t the land of salads being twice the price of a burger… IYKYK. It forced me to make a lifestyle change. Now, I eat healthier and have stopped overeating. There was a time in my life when I could eat a full racks of ribs in one sitting... now I can't even finish half a rack. That's called growth.

In Italy, I was eating freshly prepared meals on a daily basis with my host family. In Senegal, there were real chefs going to the local market and preparing the food right there on campus. Frozen, packaged food? Not over here. In South Korea, I could feel the difference in the quality of food because I didn’t feel heavy after a big meal. In Haiti, my weekly supply of mangos was a dollar and my street food ladies greeted me with a smile when I came for my meals (that they cooked right there in front of me).

Moving abroad was the first step and working remote took it to a whole new level. You see, now I got time. Time to go buy fresh produce in the morning. Time to cook slow meals on a daily basis. And time to take care of ME.

In México. I get to start my days slow. With home cooked brunches using fresh ingredients or by going to local spots to get traditional Méxican food. Both are top tier experiences and have drastically changed my quality of life. You already know I’m not missing any meals and I’m saving coins along the way 💁🏾‍♀️

I also naturally walk more while living abroad. From walking back and forth to work, exploring my new neighborhood, chasing my students around at school when I was teaching and everything in between. I get my steps in by any means necessary.

In 2020, I got down to 140 pounds of Korean rice cakes, gimbap, and kimchi. I feel healthier and the weight continues to disappear. I've never been on a diet and you won't catch me in the gym. I don't like either and both are often temporary so I don't do it.

This is my unconventional, unintentional, highly successful weight loss program. Healthy living has made all the difference. I feel better and have more energy. Reason #462 why moving abroad was one of the best decisions of my life.

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