The Expat 10

I want to coin a new term – The Expat 10 which refers to the 10 pounds or more that you put on when you move to a new country because you are trying all the new foods that your host country has to offer and are doing little to no exercise because you aren’t sure where everything is.

I’m definitely suffering from this malady, although in my case it is more like the Expat 15.  German food is not kind on the waistline nor is the Northern Hemisphere winter where you don’t really venture outside for 4 months or more. I’ve been mourning the fact that this time last year I was in the best shape I’ve been in in my whole life. Then again, I was barely eating thanks to emotional trauma and in training for an international martial arts competition (the Gay Games).  Therefore, I can’t expect to be in the same shape when I’m emotionally stable and no longer doing martial arts, let alone doing about 6 hours training a week. However, I am now attempting to shed the Expat 10 by taking up running and reining in my diet.

Has anyone else suffered the Expat 10 when they moved to their new host country? Please tell me I’m not alone in this.

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9 thoughts on “The Expat 10

  1. You are definitely not alone. In the last year and a bit I’ve also acquired the Expat 10. In kilos. It’s funny how much harder they are to get back off again.

  2. I think you both came from exponentially healthier countries than I did, as I lost weight when I came here! That said, I think our experiences are a little reversed – I was too scared to open my mouth and venture out to try new food that first year, but now that I know where the tastiest schnitzels – not to mention the good beers and the most amazing Mexican restaurant! – are, I’ve definitely started to pack the pounds back on. With all the walking here though, I’m still in better shape than I was when chained to my car in painfully long commutes in CA!

  3. I was more along the lines of shoegirl as well. I started to gain a little bit of weight, as I wasn’t running as much as I had been before moving, but then I fell back into smoking again and it went right back off. Add to that being vegan at the time, aka not eating most of the German foods with the most fat, and I managed to put off gaining the expat 10 for another four years. Might have gotten to it in the last two years though, now that I’ve quit smoking and eat milk products again. Good luck with the running. I want to get back into that myself as well.

  4. Ok, I better fess up, I gained the expat 10 as well. Or could I say they just found me, hiding behind Milka chocolate, christmas sweets, sausages and all those great kinds of cheese, not to forget the breads and Torten. Now I am working very hard at loosing the easily aquired 10 pounds, was so much more fun putting the weight on then losing it.

  5. I’m with you… we moved to Bavaria 2.5 years ago – the bakeries, sausage, beer, um… did I mention bakeries – they are worth mentioning twice (especially since there are 5 on my street alone). Of course, I had to try all the pastries! Thankfully, I found running. I’ve never liked it, but between the amazing views on my run and the fact that my pants were getting looser – I did it any way.

    • Tell me about the bakeries, they make such yummy fattening things. I have now forbidden myself to eat franzbrötchen.
      Also, it seems that running is the popular exercise of expats, I guess it is because we can do it anywhere and don’t need to worry about the language barrier.

  6. I didn’t have any weight change in the short term when I first moved to Germany, but I found that after about six months I started to lose weight. Two years later, I had gone from a little overweight to a little underweight. I didn’t eat very many sweets, made my own food mostly from scratch (with lots of bread, pasta, and salads), but I think the main difference was that I was walking a whole lot more. I would walk a lot, and it helped in particular that I lived near fields and a big forest with lots of trails. I did take up some running, but that was just to train for a relay race event with a bunch of my friends. The rest of the time was just a lot of walking.

    One time just for fun, I walked with a friend from Tübingen to the center of Stuttgart, a 40 km trip. It took all day and my feet really hurt afterward, but I sure enjoyed it. I had purchased a map for the area for hikers, and it showed all the trails in great detail, so we just went from trail to trail through forest and village (and eventually city) until we reached our destination. Germany has lots of footpaths (and some long-distance trails as well) and very good hiking maps covering virtually the entire country. I highly recommend a hiking map of the local area. If I had been aware of them at the time, I would have joined one of the German hiking clubs (Wandervereine). Those are popular there, and they have regular group hikes. Unfortunately, I found out about them after I left Germany.

    Winter was more difficult when it came to walking, but some good rain gear (waterproof jacket, trousers, and hiking boots) really help a lot.

    I sure miss the bakeries though. Sigh.

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