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.

Normandy, 2010 nearing the end of my stay

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?



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