Tuesday, April 2, 2013


July 24, 2012 
Want to lose weight? I've got the answer!

Move to another country, even better, move to another continent!

It took moving to a different time zone, a different continent even to actually get it finally through my skull that I had to lose weight. However, it wasn't shear "ganas" that propelled me to my current reduced size. It was circumstance. I am cheap. I walk a lot. I also don't have a car nor a bountiful pantry, or kitchen. I also can't buy the same foods (blocks of cheese anyone?) that I could in the states. I started losing weight without really trying because I walking so much and eating differently. I walk back and forth to the university 4 times four times a day, which equals roughly about an hour of walking five days a week. I knew for years I needed to lose weight for my future and immediate health;yet, I just couldn't commit to a lifestyle change.

So, opportunity led me to another continent.  Sure, I could easily still get soda, cookies, chips, hamburgers, pizza, and ice cream here. However, I slowly I started to make better food choices.

August 20th, 2012
I started running around the soccer field. Running? It used to be a childhood punishment, now I'm actually running - and during the daylight hours? I started desiring to go running, running in the drizzle, or when I was tired. When I started running around the soccer field,  I couldn't even run one complete lap. Last night, on March 27th, I ran 4 laps, 3 complete laps around without stopping, one rest lap, and finished with a final 4th lap! I also have running routes in the neighborhood that I like to take if I can't run at school.

As days and weeks go by, it is hard to see the changes during the daily grind. I don't have a full-length mirror, and until recently, I didn't have a scale. So to me, I am the same old, awkward, apologetic, fat outcast.

It is hard to walk by the bodega and snack shops with delicious, luscious ice cream, cookies, cakes, and treats, or the hamburger stand, or resist getting an Inca Kola to drink.  Sure, an occasional treat is okay, but I have to remind myself that every choice either subtracts or adds to my goal of a healthy weight.

In January 2010, according to my Google Docs spreadsheet (yes, I made a spreadsheet to track weight loss),  I weighed 223 pounds. According to my spreadsheet, I started losing some weight in 2011, when I signed up for a free health class at Westminster College for employees. Yet, by February 2012, I was back to the original weight and measurements.

During my last checkup before I left in July 2012, I think my weight was about 210 pounds plus or minus.  I think 207 to be exact, I remember how upset my doctor was with me.  I wore a 2X in shirts and size 20 in pants/skirts.

I knew I was losing weight because my clothes were falling off me.  I got a few things altered in the mercado, but it wasn't until I went to Lima in the fall that I saw myself in a full-length mirror at a hotel. I was shocked. I really had no idea how I looked.

I started recording measurements in November. On November 28th, I took my first set of full measurements. My mom had sent me a care package with some new clothes because there is no Ross here, and clothes are pretty pricey. I was happy I could get into size 16 pants and XL shirts.

My skinny jeans December 2012
At the time, I didn't have a scale. When I was home at Christmas, I weighed myself. I was amazed. I weighed 179 pounds! I'd lost about 30 pounds!  My step mom had some clothes for me to try. I couldn't believe it - I could get into size 14 pants! I haven't been a size 14 since probably I was 14.  It was really gratifying. I really felt the impact of my efforts - planned or by default. I did shopping and found I couldn't wear Lane Bryant clothes anymore. That was really strange. I was able to get XL shirts and size 14 skinny jeans.

I did buy a scale from a departing American teacher. On February 2013, I weighed 176 pounds, so I'd lost a few pounds since Christmas. I wasn't exercising as much because of my summer schedule.

A few weeks ago, I some more skirts altered, it was gratifying to see how much was taken out.  Now, even 1X shirts are too big, and XL are becoming too baggy in the shoulders  Now,  it's almost April. I've not been as vigilant with running, but I've dropped down to 168 pounds, about 10 more pounds since Christmas!

The same skirt I wore on August 20, 2012.
I've lost  roughly 40 pounds in 8 months. I have to make good food choices. I try to eat mostly vegetables and fruit, drink lots of water. I rarely, rarely drink soda. I don't buy cookies, chips, ice cream, or junk food. There's not much processed food here, so that helps. I have had pizza 3 times in 8 months. I'm trying to make better food choices, limit my portions, not buy food that I would just gobble up, I do struggle with that though. Meals aren't the same here, and my schedule doesn't allow for dinner like us Americans are used to eating.

I'm trying to eat healthy based on the food culture of Piura. I don't always succeed though. I am still obese though. I have another 40 - 50 pounds to go. I still don't feel like a thinner person. I still feel the same, but sometimes, when I catch a glimpse of my reflection in a mirror, I see the change, or when I glance at my wrist and then wrap my pinky finger around it to meet my thumb, it hits me. Also, when I see how my old clothes just hang on me, I start to believe maybe I have changed. I still have work to do on my psychological mindset.  I have to be diligent that this is a permanent lifestyle change when I return to the United States. I have a little under 4 months left, so I hope to continue to focus and commit to a healthy lifestyle and exercise.


  1. Thank you for sharing such a personal journey, my friend. I'm very happy to see you working on your health and self perception. If you could see yourself through my eyes, you would see the beautiful, Intelligent, inspiring person you are and always have been! Take care and continue to treat yourself with kindness. -brandi

  2. You're truly amazing! LOVE YOU! So proud of you, I KNOW becoming healthy is one of my biggest struggles! Every day is a new day and challenge! AWESOME JOB!! Be proud of yourself, take time to reward yourself!! XOXO

  3. You rock Emily!! So happy for you and so proud of you!!!! :)

    Kait Krause

  4. You are AMAZING, Emily. You have worked so hard, and you look terrific! I'm so proud of you! Keep up the good work!