Taking the world less travelled

The highest low: My weightloss journey in Japan

Posted by on Jan 29, 2012 in Life | 0 comments

Who wants to be linear? Let me start at the very middle.

When I went to Japan in 2009 I was probably at the highest weight that I’ve ever been. I was 24 years old and my weight had slowly been creeping up for years. Here I was, living in a new country, meeting new people, everything awesome but that.

I graduated from university and was lucky enough to get a position teaching English in Japan on the JET program. Before I went to Japan I tried to exercise and eat right like I did in High School, however, even though I was lifting weights and doing the Couch to 5k program, I didn’t get anywhere and left Australia at the same weight as I was when I started.

Here are some photos of me when I was first in Japan. The photo above was taken in Tokyo.

  
Those ones were taken on my first teaching experience. We were doing some fun activities with kids in primary school and the activity was about naming body parts with stickers.

One early experience was going to the doctors for a check up. It wasn’t the most comfortable experience I’ve had. It was almost like being on a conveyor belt in a factory. You went around from station to station, getting things done like checking your eyes, having your blood drawn, checking your blood pressure, that kind of thing. That plus the fact I was feeling a bit stressed about being in that situation, not really knowing what was going on from a language barrier, and only half understanding instructions that were being given to me.  :sweat: Not a fun time.

In the mail some time later you get sent a report on it all, though, which is really cool. The number on my report was not.

74.1kg.   0_O I think I’m still in denial about that number, but hell, the pictures above show it to be true. And look at that bmi number, 28.3. Obese is 30. I was only a hop, step and a jump away from being obese. For those wanting to know the other numbers, 161.7cm is my height, and 97.2cm was my waist circumference.

Despite being unhappy, not much changed for a while. In Japan you get a lot of incidental exercise from riding bikes and walking everywhere, but before this in Australia I was often riding my bike to get around and walked a lot of the time. And my diet didn’t change much either, except for maybe eating out more often because it was cheap to do so at nice restaurants. My diet before hand was already rice and vegetable based. So if you are thinking you can get thin by living in Japan, you can, but it’s the same as in any other country, you have to make an effort. My lunches, provided to me by the schools, were huge. Restaurant meals were huge. A lot of Japanese food is high in fat with white rice carb overload. Incidental exercise doesn’t really add up to much unless you are doing a lot every day. I was a 10 min walk from the train station and would go out on the weekends, but again, not much different from home. Don’t go to Japan with the thinking that because the majority of the people there are tiny, you will become so too. Infact, many people find that they put on weight when they come to Japan.

I for the most part, as I said, stayed the same. Until I got my shit together.

I’ll be writing about what I did and how in the next instalment of this series. In the comments, feel free to share what your highest low is or was – anything at all, it doesn’t have to be weight related. But remember, being at rock bottom means that the only way you can go is up. :)


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