Weight Loss from Moving Countries: The Expat Diet

Hold your hats, because we’re about to get personal.

For the vast majority of my teenage years and my early college years, I was probably overweight. I think I bordered on the “Normal” and “Overweight” BMI line, but was probably more often closer to the latter. What can I say, I like to eat and my favorite food groups are carbs. It’s a dangerous combination. Also check out those bangs.

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Today, I’m about 20-25 pounds less than the last time I lived in America permanently and I’m more firmly in the “normal” range. Except I never tried to lose the pounds. I didn’t even realize I was losing weight. I came home one year and my whole family was in shock like I had just come back from fat camp.

Looking back now, it’s all very obvious, but at the time I was just like, “YES! Miracle weight loss! Maybe I had a growth spurt at the age of 21?”

In reality, living the Londoner lifestyle was good for me in more ways than one. Firstly, I walked EVERYWHERE. Sometimes across the whole city in a day. If I wanted to go get food, I had to walk there. Work? Walk. School? Walk? Go to the park for a walk? HAD TO WALK THERE.

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This is a huge generalization because it’s easy to be overweight in England and it’s equally as easy to lose weight in America if you’re actually trying.  But I have found that English eating habits are healthier than American ones. Fast food is existent, of course, but less of a ‘staple’ meal and more of a treat for many families. Portion sizes at restaurants are smaller. Many products lack the chemicals that you can find in their American counterparts. Also, sidenote, grapes are usually considered an ‘after-dinner’ dessert food. GRAPES. In my mind, grapes are the things I had to eat as a kid to then get to the good stuff, AKA cake. But anyway.

I love American junk food and will never miss an opportunity to either ask my friends and family to send me some or buy some at an extortionate price in the American aisle of the local grocery store, but I’m doing a lot better without having it around all of the time (and haven’t really fallen in love with too many English ‘junk’ treats except for Cadburys which I could eat from morning until night).

So, in short, if you’re looking to lose weight: diet and exercise or…move to England!




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4 Responses

  1. Jordyn says:

    What an awesome post. It’s great to hear others stories about how moving affected their eating habits because it is such an important thing to think about! I moved from a small town in Maine (where we drive everywhere) to DC a few years ago and lost a bunch of weight right away because my habits were different. Much like you, I was walking everywhere and eating healthier/smaller portions were the norm there. Glad to know others have had the same thing happen, thanks for sharing!

  2. ldr13 says:

    I literally just finished off a bag of Doritos as I was reading this. I can definitely see how it could be easy to lose weight moving from the States to England. I visit the States often and even though I’m from nearby Canada -and we also generally eat more fast food, sugar and salt than England- I feel like i gain five pounds every time I visit the States.

    My man and I love to find places from the show Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives when we visit the US for the heartiest, artery-clogging, comforting goodness there is. I am so bad when I go there, but it’s such a treat!

    I think I may have actually gained a little weight since moving to England but the great thing is I actually have no idea (not that I weighed myself often back home anyway). When my doctor here weighs me in “stone” I’m like “that number literally means nothing to me.” It gives a whole new literal meaning to the saying ‘weight is just a number.’

    I love having no concept of what I weigh because it should never be about a number on a scale. I absolutely love food and I eat whatever. I think that as long as I feel good when I look in the mirror, that’s all that matters. But I do feel like I eat healthier here and that’s definitely a good thing. I eat way more fruits and vegetables (hello roast dinners), and less fast food, salt and sugar than I did back home.

    Buuut I’m still bad sometimes 🙂

    • girlgonelondon says:

      Oh my gosh, I love your experience with ‘stone’ because I am so the same! And then I ask them to translate it for me and they do it into kilograms, which we STILL don’t use so I have no clue haha.

      Also now I’m craving Doritos! I agree with you about looking in the mirror – I always use the mirror test nowadays to see if I need to eat a few more vegetables in my diet as opposed to the 5 boxes of cookies my mom sent me in the mail. 😀 😀

  3. Asti says:

    Haha, this is actually pretty funny to me because I have the exact OPPOSITE story. I did my Master’s degree in London and while I was there for that year and a half, I gained twenty-five pounds. You would’ve thought with all that walking (because yes, you do walk so much more) I would’ve been similar, losing weight, but my diet was atrocious. I couldn’t cook (and didn’t even try) at the time so a lot of when I was alone what I ate was kebab, or curry, or a giant roast dinner. Or fast food. And then when I moved in with my fiancé’s family, the meals got a little better but the portions were outrageous. His mom was serving me the same portions as his six foot heavier dad and I didn’t want to turn it down and be rude so yikkeeeessss. I’ve been back in the US for a year now and have managed to lose all that weight (though I am being a bit more aware of what I’m eating, it’s not just naturally happening) so yeah. Not quite the same story. haha.

    Asti || ohasti.com

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