Living in a foreign country changes the way you think (and it continues to do so on sooo many levels!). One of the first changes for me was the way I viewed my health. I never really thought of myself as huge or obese, just a bit curvy with some extra “love” all around. But the moment I stepped on a scale and realized I’d reached close to 200lbs, I had to reassess my current status and take some action.
And it’s not easy being a minority chick like me in a country full of tall, bronzed (mostly fake bronzed, but still golden) skin girls with blonde hair and light eyes. Sure, I’ve had to deal with this most of my life as I happened to attend private Christian schools (all of which consisted of mainly fair-skinned boys and girls). But I managed to find ways of escaping and found comfort in shopping. I’d run to my favourite stores and shop for all my favourite clothes and styles without having to worry about feeling guilty about my size (even when it increased!).
That’s not the case here. It was a wake-up call the first time I went shopping in Australia. Back home in California I was a size 11/12. At some shops, I was even a 9/10. But here? My size converted to 16! And that’s the start of when I knew something was wrong. Not just with the whole conversion of American to Australian sizes, but mostly with my body. I didn’t know it, but I had totally let myself go. And I was approaching my 30s.
All signs were pointing to FAIL. I’d grown up in a Filipino home. I was taught to eat everything on my plate and finish the food “or else.” Food is central to Filipino culture and eating lots of it just becomes a way of life. So having to re-teach myself how to eat, understand nutrition and portion sizes, and spending more time being active rather than sedentary are all things that didn’t come easy.
And to be honest, it’s still hard. But so far, I’ve managed to take those steps and train myself to stay on track. It’s been almost two years now since I first began this journey to transform my health, and I wish I could say it gets easier but honestly, it doesn’t. What happens is that is just becomes more of a routine. Every day, you still have to make the conscious decision to exercise; every meal, you still have to choose to make it count–small, with lots of veggies and protein; and every opportunity to eat junk, you still have to say “no.”
It doesn’t always happen perfectly or the way you want it to, but slowly over time, it eventually begins to show. There really are no strange tricks to getting healthy and losing weight. It’s as simple and basic as changing what goes in your body, so you can make it sweat out and get rid of the bad things you’ve accumulated all the years before. It’s about taking out the old and bringing in the new.
For me, it was time to disregard my scale and bust out the measuring tape and fat calipers. It’s about losing inches, not pounds. It’s about being healthy, not looking skinny. And it’s about being the best I can be not just for my Creator, but for my husband and for myself.
Bye bye, black shorts. Hello, blue.