1-99 SparkPoints 8

Vacations and Culture Shock

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Living in Venezuela, I am able to maintain and lose fairly easily. This is due to several things:
-There are food shortages, where it is hard to find staples like flour, sugar, chicken, milk, ground beef, and eggs. Therefore, I treat these items like they are very special and am careful when I use them.
-I have to walk everywhere, including to the grocery store. Do I really want to have to carry that package of oreos home with everything else that I really need?
-Not only to I have to walk, but I live at the top of a hill. Imagine carrying your groceries up a giant hill. Plus, my school is on a different hill, so I walk uphill both ways to and from school.
-My body responds to culture shock by just trying to survive. I'm not sure if it's solely due to the facts above or if it just really fights to survive and loses a lot of weight. I'm pretty sure it's the latter.

Vacations are my downfall, and by vacations, I mean any time I'm not living on my own and buying and cooking my own food. I tend to treat myself too much, especially when I know it's something that I won't have again any time soon. At least, that's my excuse now. However, vacations have always been my downfall. Back in seventh grade, my family went on vacation, where we hiked a lot, but we also went out to eat a lot. In two weeks, I gained twenty pounds. I never lost that weight. Over my Christmas break this year, I went back to the United States. I found some old medical records, and one showed that I weighed over 200 pounds when I was in eighth grade. Eighth Grade! No wonder why I can't remember when I lasted weighed below 200. I wasn't even fully grown yet. It was so sad. Why didn't someone stop me? Anyways, I reached below 200 for the first time this past fall. I was down staying close by 187 for a month leading up to my Christmas break. My one goal for Christmas break was to stay under 200. I failed. I made it up to 203.

Vacation was terrible if I look at my nutrition and exercise. It was great every other way. As far as nutrition went, it was a good day if I waited to eat a Christmas treat until 10 in the morning. When I first came back, I ate a normal meal with my family and felt as stuffed as I normally would after Thanksgiving dinner. My stomach had shrunk so much! I quickly enlarged it, but I also spent too much time feeling overstuffed, when I should have known to stop eating. I need to make sure that when I go back this summer, I don't make the same mistake.

Now I've been back one week, and my body quickly went into culture/lifestyle shock mode. I've already lost 10 of my 16 vacation weight pounds without really trying. Part of this weight was also due to flying and water retention, and I understand that.

Interested in how my weight looks overall since I started on SparkPeople? Well, here's my weight graph from May 2012 - January 2014.

Like I mentioned in my last blog post, my weight definitely reflects where I was at during that time. During the time on this graph, I have lived four different places: Fort Wayne while student teaching, my University, my parents' house, and Venezuela. The hardest of these places is always my parents' house. I don't buy the food; it's just available to me whenever I want. Looking at the graph, I can see times when I have been there I typically go up (late December 2012, end of May - July 2013, end of December 2013). This summer, I will be living at my parents' house for about 5 weeks. Two of those weeks, I will probably be on vacation with them in Canada. I'm already thinking about and planning how I can make those weeks maintain weeks instead of gain. I'm fine with not losing all the time. Learning to maintain is one of the most important steps in this process, in my opinion. That means learning how to maintain in every circumstance. I probably won't always live by myself in Venezuela, so if this is the only place that I can be the weight I'm at, that is no good.

Also, for those of you new to SparkPeople with this new year, please look at my weight record and notice some details. I have gone weeks with staying just about the same weight (each of those little blue lines are one month). This was frustrating at the time, but how is it looking back? Fine. I'm actually very thankfully I had those chances to maintain. There are weeks where I gained, even giant jumps in gaining like over 10 pounds in two weeks. Yes, it could have been better those weeks, but overall, I'm still much lower than where I started. This journey is just that: a journey. It has its ups and downs. The key is to never give up. Never stop caring. Even when I make choices like I did this past Christmas break, I make them intentionally. I chose to eat and gain weight over Christmas. I knew it would happen, and I was okay with it. I knew what I could have done to prevent it but chose not to. Remember that you do have choices. Did I have to eat all of the steak my dad put on my plate? No, and the first night I didn't because I felt so full that I could puke. He respected me not eating more than I needed. Whatever you do, it's a choice. Every good step is one further than you've taken before. Take those steps.

All that to say, the hardest part of my journey is learning to have self-control in all situations. If I can't do that, the effort I'm putting in now won't matter because I will gain it back once I'm in a different situation, and I can't let that happen. Learning to maintain using self-control is the most important thing we can learn.

My current goal is to be at or under 170 by the beginning of May (my birthday). I will have to work to get there, and I'm getting ready to put that hard work in. This week, I started exercising more: playing volleyball, doing sit-ups, and some other easy strength activities. I already have plans for a few weekend hikes (I do live by/on mountains) in the coming weeks. I'm also trying to begin walking more to prepare for these hikes. I hate being the one who can't keep up.

My end goal of 145 is in sight, and I love that! Slow and steady wins the race! I'm excited to get back under 191 later this week, which puts me back into a BMI of overweight instead of obese.

We can do this! Keep making those good choices! It's all about baby steps! Self-control is key! Learn how to maintain!

Current Weight: 193.4
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    what is the main food staple in your country? That is wonderful you are losing that extra weight you gained in 2 weeks. I am starting over for the last time. I can say that because I am looking at this whole thing in a different way
    Take care
    2477 days ago
  • no profile photo CD2704340
    You are doing so great! Love how you have to walk uphill to school both ways! LOL Lifestyle does make a difference! Happy New Year and keep up the good work!
    2477 days ago
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    Disclaimer: Weight loss results will vary from person to person. No individual result should be seen as a typical result of following the SparkPeople program.

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