Don’t go on a Diet, Become an Expat Instead!

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Black to Fat

I have this theory rooted in absolutely zero research that most Black people in the diaspora can become fat very easily.  Given the harshness and brutality of the middle passage and slavery, the only Africans that survived were those with the slowest metabolisms.  People that needed Michael Phelps’ 10,000 calorie per day diet didn’t survive.

Fast forward to 2017.  In the US, calorie dense, hormone laced, chemically altered “food” is available 24/7, and a sedentary lifestyle is common.   Plus life in the US is stressful – the 2 weak vacation, the herculean work hours, GMOS, driving Every, Damn, Where – It is the perfect storm for chubbiness.

Sedentary Lifestlye

I once attempted to go jogging in Houston and quickly realized there is literally very little side walk. There are huge and multiple lanes of traffic but no where to walk.  Because of a secret conspiracy to create new cities totally dependent on cars and with minimal public transportation between the automotive, bus, and other companies, many places in the US like Houston and LA are almost exclusively navigable by car. (This really happened)

In older cities like Chicago, where I am from, especially if you live in a rough neighborhood,  it can be scary to walk and take though plentiful, public transportation.  If a woman is even moderately attractive in many areas, she can expect harassment.  If you walk down the street, you can very literally be randomly shot.

Italy is Different

6 Months in US

2 Months in Italy

My weight has always fluctuated, up and down like someone giving furious head. But whenever I spend significant times out of the US, it always goes down.  When I come back, it goes up like tech stock in the 2000’s.

I will focus on Europe, specifically Italy because it is where I live and eat carbs. Last summer I was fortunate enough to spend 2 months in here.  My weight dropped without any real dieting, just exercise. I returned to the US and my weight almost immediately ballooned back. How sway?

Genetically modified food is illegal in Europe as is many food dyes. Portion sizes at restaurants are smaller. You are further restricted from binge eating by restaurants and grocers closing very early and being closed on Sunday or a holiday or St. Whoever Day. (Italy has a LOT of holidays and saints)

“Bars” are open for breakfast of an espresso and croissant.  No egg McMuffins or pancakes and sausage here.  Breakfast is simple and lite.  Lunch restaurants open around 12:30 and close promptly at 2 or 3.  If you have not eaten by 3, and you can’t wait until dinner, you will be cooking.  Dinner is the most involved meal and starts really late. Most restaurants open and do not even offer the full menu until you have had an appertivo and a free snack of olives or chips. It is probably not the best business model.  People would more likely buy and eat more if allowed to gorge all day but that does not seem to be the goal. As you had to wait for dinner and had a snack, you are also going to be less hungry. Dinner is meant to be social and is encouraged to be slow and enjoyed with friends.  There are studies that show that eating slowly makes you less likely to over eat.  Whatever Italians are doing works. They often eat billions of carbs a day, smoke, and drink wine everyday but still have some of the highest life expectancy rates in the world.

GM Oh? GM Who? GM Oh? GM Who? (Sing it like the hook of Jay Z’s Jigga What)

When I first arrived in Italy, I was amazed at how small the chicken breasts are.  Like, tiny.  An entire chicken is probably 1.5 times larger than a single chicken breast in the United States.  I am absolutely serious.  They are flat chested, AAA cup chickens. US chicken breasts are more porn sized.

Grocery shopping usually occurs every few days because food goes bad FAST! It’s like every store is Whole Foods because they don’t seem to be using the same preservatives.  Also, high fructose corn syrup is banned in Europe.

Exercise

I walk all the time and everywhere -to the grocer, the pharmacist, restaurants, dog groomer, ice cream shop, etc.  For folks that drive, parking is so tight in the city center, they still often walk a decent distance from tthe car.  Of course Vespa drivers can usually find spots a bit closer and instead burn their calories yelling at other drivers with their hands instead of walking.

There is a park near my home that I take my dog to everyday.  There are hiking trails and lots of space to explore with a dedicated set of free manual exercise equipment in the middle of the park.  I can do butterflies, dips, and use a row machine among other equipment – for free!!! Admittedly, this is a bit of an anomaly, but I am unaware of any place in the US that has something like that, especially in a large city the size of Rome.

Stress

I am an emotional eater.  Always have been.  These days it is regulated to the “last call” time during ovulation when my body prepares in vain for a pregnancy that will never happen. That crazy “period” (see what I did there?) aside, my life is less stressful in Italy.  I still have bills and worry about the various projectiles life likes to throw our way. However, my world has much more balance.  I have more friends and feel it is seems easier to connect with other people.  With all of holidays, people have more free time and I see friends more often. Folks don’t typically work too late unlike the US where people are working 100 hour weeks. I date more.  Way more.  Way, way more.  My general happiness level is higher and so I am not mindlessly eating as much.  I eat much more purposefully.

This is not unique to Italy.  It is almost cliched outside the US and the UK that expats tend to lose weight. It does not matter if the location is Italy, or Columbia, or Beijing.  I would argue that even expats that are heavier would probably be an additional 20 poundsor more in the US. So if you are considering a hard core diet, bariatric surgery, or a lap band, consider relocation instead.

Happy Travelling & Dating 🙂

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3 thoughts on “Don’t go on a Diet, Become an Expat Instead!

  1. I love Italy and would move their tomorrow. But, I’m 59 yrs old. Am I too old to relocate, and what work could I find? I’m a RN by education. Loved the article.

    1. I can’t tell you how to live your life, but my belief is that you are alive until you are dead, so why would you not live as you prefer? The healthcare field seems to have lots of jobs for people that want to live abroad and there is an entire field dedicated to travel nursing. There are also flexible remote jobs, teaching, and US military contract opportunities. Good luck!!!

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