foreign service fifteen

I could tell you it’s baby weight, but that would be a lie. I was back to pre-baby size a few months after giving birth, before even arriving in Benin. It was after I got to post that the weight gain began.

I doubt I’m alone in this.

You have no idea what those strange fruits and vegetables even are, let alone how to prepare them. But what’s that you see in the freezer aisle? A frozen pizza? That’ll work.

You get tired of frozen pizza, but you’re still not brave enough to tackle those strange fruits and vegetables. What can you buy online and ship from the U.S.? Mac and cheese? Okay. And throw some cookie and brownie mixes in too while you’re at it.

Navigating this crazy new life is hard. Here, have another cookie.

Before long it’s time for your first trip away from post. Oh my goodness! Bagels and real pizza and sushi and waffles and good cheese? Who knows when you’ll have access to such deliciousness again. Better cram in as much now as you can!

And before you know it you’re back at post and none of your work clothes fit, and there’s nothing that makes a person grumpier than sitting at work all day stuffed into clothes that don’t fit.

Or maybe it’s just me.

But I don’t think it is.

Unfortunately for us, the Foreign Service Fifteen is worse than the Freshman Fifteen. It hits at a time in our lives when our bodies aren’t quite so resilient. I’ve been working on it for a few weeks now, but no luck so far. Except for negotiating the purchase of a bunch of fancy exercise equipment for the house, which will certainly help. But it won’t arrive until its current owners leave post in August.

In the meantime…

What’s worked for you, Foreign Service friends?

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10 Responses to foreign service fifteen

  1. Mara Rae says:

    Oh no! I didn’t even think about this! The treadmill is definitely coming to Russia with me, which I hope will help since I’ll probably be stuck in our apartment A LOT during the winter (ie ten months out of the year). Good luck with the weight loss – hopefully the exercise equipment will do the trick!

  2. Meaghan says:

    I pre-emptively worry about this – I exercise a TON here in Canada, which helps to offset my extreme love of baked goods. But all the exercising I do here is of the running-and-biking-outdoors variety, which I’ve been told will be difficult-to-impossible in most of the posts I’m interested in.

    When I was in the Philippines on my temporary assignment last winter, I found that the best thing was to just dive in with the weird fruits and vegetables – it definitely helps that I’m really into food anyways, but it was a great way to try some new things and get to know a little side of the country.

    I don’t really have any other advice, other than don’t get discouraged if it’s only been a few weeks! Exercising and changing eating habits takes time to have an impact, but in the long-term will yield much more sustainable results than a crash diet (and crash diets generally discourage cookies, and who wants that?!).

  3. Alex says:

    Mara Rae — Gym equipment in your house (at least when you have little ones at home) is KEY. You’ll be fine.

    Meaghan — When do you hear when you’re going? I feel like you’ve been in training FOREVER! I might be bugging you to tell me more about Manila too. It’s one of our top bids. We should hear in about two weeks where we’re going…

  4. Stephanie says:

    Dive in to those fruits and veggies. And run! Does the embassy have a gym if it’s not safe to run outside?

  5. Meaghan says:

    I’m in training for another year – it’s because the training isn’t full-time classroom anymore, but rather interspersed with work assignments in HQ and two overseas assignments. We apply in September though, and hopefully will know by xmas!

    I can definitely chat about Manila! Email me if you have any specific questions…

  6. Camille says:

    Obviously, you are not eating at local restaurants enough! I have managed to lose twenty pounds since we moved to Djibouti and at least ten of that came out in diarrhea. 🙂

  7. bfiles says:

    yes, this is so true! I am still skinny but my work clothes don’t fit and I’m so frustrated. R&R didn’t help. Since we returned I’m trying to up the fruits/veg (maybe bring home 1 new veg or fruit every grocery trip?), decrease the carbs, and figure out how to motivate myself to work out and fit it into my schedule. There is time, but I feel guilty about leaving my husband longer w the kids. I’m working on it, though…good luck.

  8. Greta says:

    Oh, I hear ya. I don’t know what to do. I am terrified of Tashkent tummy and avoid fruits. I have traveled for almost a month straight and it is too hot to exercise outside. My list of complaints is long but I guess I just need to try harder. I have an elliptical coming next week … hoping for something.

  9. Zsofia says:

    It’s definitely real! The receptions are the worst. Tons and tons of free food and drinks day after day. It’s hard to resist. That, combined with long nights at work snacking and no time to go to the gym, really make you pack on the pounds.

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