Thursday, August 7, 2014

expat problems: how not to get fat when visiting home


I know, I know.
This topic is a little weird + funny.
But I think most expats can relate.
When you go home, wherever that is, there are just so many delicious ways to gain weight.
For me, after two years of living in Taiwan, simply walking into an American grocery store feels like bliss.
Oh.my.the.choices!
But the thing is, I don't really want to go back to Taiwan weighing 20 pounds more than when I left it.
Some people whose genetics smile at them and make life all butterflies and rainbows may not understand this but I actually have to work at maintaining my size 12 body.
I eat balanced meals and work out at least five times a week.
If not, watch out size 16!
So even though I may not be the poster child for healthy living, I actually found some pretty great ways to enjoy all the culinary delights of home without expanding my waistline.
So here is how I, an expat visiting good old America, have enjoyed all the foods I missed over the past two years in Taiwan without needing to go out and buy bigger pants.

share meals at restaurants 
When Sean and I go out to eat, we only order one meal. Then we split it. Because lets face it: almost all restaurants in America serve enough food to feed at least two people with just one entree. We alternate who gets to pick a restaurant + meal. If it's Sean's turn to pick, he chooses the restaurant and the meal. The next time? It's my turn. Another additional bonus? This saves us lots of money!

indulge, once or twice
I became obsessed with the concept of a donut before leaving Taiwan. In my mind, I just knew I had to have this particular donut when I returned to America. It was a maple bar with chocolate drizzled on it. The weird thing is that I was never a big donut eater, even when I lived in America. But for some reason, the idea of going home became synonymous with the idea of eating this particular donut. So that was one of the first things I did when I got back to America. But in the past five weeks, I only ate two. I don't need more. I satisfied this craving. I indulged. And I really don't need to do it every day while I am in America simply to make up for the fact that I cannot ever eat this donut in Taiwan. Once or twice was enough.

find ways to be active
So we run at least five times a week in Taiwan. Usually, we do quick trips to the track and log one or two miles. Back in America, we lack the convenience of a track and steady schedule. Sean and I are bouncing all over the place, from house to house and town to town. That said, we still find ways to be active. Sometimes that means visiting the local gym or swimming pool. Other times, that means going on hikes or playing frisbee with the family dogs. Being home is no excuse to be lazy. We are having a blast staying fit and active with each other and our family and friends!

So there you go. 
Three simple ways to enjoy all the delights of home without having to blow your summer budget on bigger clothes!






10 comments

  1. Ohmygosh, I've been visiting home (the American Midwest) for a month and my pants barely fit now. I've started suggesting to friends that we get together for walks rather than happy hour or brunch.

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    1. Walks can be even more fun than happy hour!!! Well, at least if you're walking somewhere beautiful!

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  2. I love that you split meals. That's a great idea. I find that you could probably do that in Australia as well. When I was home in April, I just went CRAZY. I think the beer did it for me.

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    1. Honestly, even when we split meals we still feel like we've been given more than enough food. And I totally understand. When my favorite foods (or beverages) are put in front of me, I go a wee bit crazy too.

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  3. you + sean have way better self-control... so much beer and cider and gluten free goodies have been happening. and I just can't turn down a properly cooked burger when I see one on the menu!

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    1. Self-control? Sean and I? Nah, we just have a dismal bank account :)

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  4. but. it's all so yummy ;) we're in the middle of this right now and even though we're walking miles and miles more every day than we were before, all of these American food that we haven't had in two years are just flashing their shiny signs at us. sharing meals is such a good one. I forget about the portions! hopefully our excitement will die down soon and we can start cooking more meals at home.

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    1. Cooking meals at home can be great too!! But sometimes going grocery shopping can be even more dangerous for me than going out to eat. There are so many goodies!

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  5. Oh the foods! It was glorious to eat it all, but as you said, in moderation! Eating chili and a real burger was just so amazing. More so than food, my weakness was coffee. I love coffee and the coffee here is always very bitter and sludgy. I drank so much coffee (with the occasional donut) and packed about 8 bags to bring with me - excessive I know.

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    1. Yes, the burgers have been calling out to me at every restaurant. And I am so sorry about the coffee situation. That I could not deal with. I always require a good cup of coffee!

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