When I moved to Barcelona I wanted to embrace the culture with open arms. I didn’t want to bring old ways with me and not try something new. I actively sought new experiences and that meant exploring the city and surrounding towns, reading up on the area’s history, and adopting new habits including the content of my meals. I ate out often so I could frequent recommended restaurants that specialized in the most exquisite cuisine. A great part of living abroad is doing as the locals do. I also tried cooking, but found my skills lacking. I preferred the restaurants and invitations to people’s homes. They knew of my quest for newfound tastes and often made Spanish dishes with a regional twist. I learned a lot about food in a short period of time.
Food is ingested daily in order to survive so you can imagine what happens when you compound all this culinary goodness. I packed on a few pounds. I had no idea. I just assumed if I ate normal portions, I would remain the same size. Apparently this is a misconception. It is not just the quantity that counts in controlling weight but the ingredients and the calories that reside. I went for months thinking I was the same until some of my clothes started to become a bit tight. Not wanting to believe the inevitable, I jumped on the bathroom scale. Well, my friend, numbers don’t lie—that is, unless your scale is broken or it’s not the most accurate scale. Sadly mine was not so I had to accept the cold, hard fact that I had blossomed in size. I now knew what many people forget when living abroad: you are not eating as you did at home so you can’t expect the status quo over time. I wanted the numbers to be wrong, but they were right. It was time to buy new clothes or change my eating habits. This plan was difficult as it meant missing out on so much of my new Barcelonan life.
It is hard to cut down on portions and stay satisfied after meals. Okay, I could eliminate breakfast without much pain. I resorted to the practice of having an early lunch. I absolutely refused to stop visiting friends, but I did let some know about my dilemma. They were happy to oblige. It did reduce the fun a lot but I started to lose a few inches. I could now keep my old clothes although I was more than willing to adopt the local styles. That, like the food you eat, is part of the foreign living experience. So as not to give up on Spanish food entirely (for which I had a definite liking), I allowed myself one day a week to indulge. I could have anything I wanted including dessert if I was good the rest of the time. This plan worked as hard as it was. As soon as you sample tasty food, you absolutely want more.