TAPIF Tip: How to Stay Fit and Keep your Form in France

When I was a student in Normandy back in 2010, I gained a lot of weight in 4 months. I was eating a lot of bread, drinking a lot of wine, and neither regularly exercising nor taking my medications like I should have been, all of which led to excessive weight gain. However, I don’t regret anything about Normandy because I had a life-changing experience and an awesome time. So, coming back to live in Europe this past year, the only thing I was afraid of was not being away from home or missing family and friends, but gaining weight.

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Normandy, 2010 nearing the end of my stay

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November 2013

Here are several ways I have changed my habits since living in Normandy and thus was able to do this:

1. I bought a bike. I ride my bike to work almost every day (30 minutes each way) when I can, instead of taking the bus. I also do this when I’m going to meet friends. This gives me a bit of exercise every day. Keep in mind I live in a warm climate so I understand this isn’t always possible for other assistants!

2. I walk everywhere I have no car, so I do my grocery shopping and various errands on foot. For the first half of my stay, I was living at the top of a steep hill which required me to do a lot of strenuous walking everyday.

3. I joined a gym. Over the summer I researched gyms in Toulon and then joined one with exercise classes once I was settled. It was an initial upfront investment but I’m glad I did it, even if the course instructors are terrible and totally not qualified. I try to go two or three times per week.

4. I don’t snack anymore. In France, it’s not really common to snack between meals, and I’ve definitely picked up on the habit. I’m also not home often, and instead of carrying the 3-meals-a-day mentality, I just eat when I’m hungry.

5. I don’t eat out very often. On our assistant salary it’s sometimes hard to justify restaurant meals over travel, so I make a lot of food at home, saving calories.

6. I don’t own a scale. even the gym I attend here doesn’t have a scale (which I find so weird.) Not having a scale has forced me to break this habit of weighing myself so much, which I believe has made me more relaxed about eating and enduldging.

Unfortunately, although I am thinner than I was when I left, despite the exercise I do do, I do not feel like I am in as good of shape as I was back in the states, even with the everyday biking, walking, and gym membership. Hopefully that will be something I can get back over the summer. How have you stayed fit while on the road or traveling? Do you have any tips to add below?

Bisous,

Dana

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