The Euro Diet

13 Aug

So the past few days have been full of more ups & downs than Amanda Bynes PMS-ing!

One of my biggest concerns before I came to Prague was my health. In case you’re unaware, Czech food is not exactly the most figure friendly. You have meat, gravy, potato dumplings, stews, soups, bread & then you’re introduced to battered pork steak & FRIED CHEESE & don’t forget to wash it down with a ton of beer. Delicious? Yes. Dietable? No.

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(Above: I will never apologize for loving Svickova aka: steak in gravy with potato dumplings, cranberry sauce, whipped cream & lemons)

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(Above: Nor will I stop my love affair with Becherovka aka: ‘Christmas in your mouth’)

I agreed to give myself the first week to sample all the astronomical calories that traditional Czech cuisine provides. However, then it was time to get in shape! Scarred by my complete lack of healthy eating or exercise while studying abroad in Paris for 5 months & gaining 20lbs, I vowed there was NO WAY this would happen to me in Prague.

Sorry to be a little depressing, but let’s get real for a quick second. I have always had weight problems. Pair that with crippling body image issues & you have a pretty battered self-esteem (I honestly still remember being 7 & coming home bawling because a classmate called me fat) Yup. Those words stay with you. However, I realized I could either 1) develop an eating disorder 2) cry, binge eat & never leave the house forever or 3) do something about it the healthy way.

I have always played sports (horseback riding, soccer, volleyball, tennis, & 6 years of cross country…I know, right?) & loved being active. However, while in Paris I found myself in a slump. Upon returning home & after seeing how fat I was, my mom & grandparents decided to get me a personal trainer & it was the best decision ever.

Having someone push me for the past year has been awesome. Laurie is so sweet, but still knows how to completely kick my ass. I love it! More than that she is unbelievably encouraging. She has said positive things about my body when, for the past 21 years, I had always only heard negative things. She praises me for getting stronger & more fit instead of getting ‘skinnier’. With her help I was able to shed the 20lbs I gained abroad & gain a ton of muscle. (Seriously, you wanna challenge me to a push-up contest?) 

But in the weeks leading up to Prague, there was one question on everyone’s mind: how would I do it on my own? I had already decided that there was no way in hell I would ever let the past repeat itself. I had come so far & worked wayyy too hard. 

At RWU I was so spoiled. I had a giant cafeteria with a ton of healthy options, a fully equipped gym 2mins away & a ton of free exercise classes which I generously utilized. But now, here I was, on my own. Buying my own groceries, doing make shift workouts & resisting temptation all day long. It’s a little overwhelming. But then I realized that all the opportunities were right in front of me. 

There’s plenty of healthy options in the supermarket & a bike path right across the street. Today I just said enough is enough. Geeking out over my newfound motivation, I went to the grocery store & stocked up on veggies like cherry tomatoes, spinach & arugula. Got some fruit like apples, bananas, blackberries & watermelon. And how could I forget my protein! Ham, chicken breast & eggs nom nom! I have also been trying to drink a ton of water, something uncommon in Europe. 

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(Above: My super healthy super delish salad! Eating clean again feels awesome)

I also found the courage to check out the gym across the street, which looks like a super intimidating MMA fighting rink. To my surprise–it wasn’t! There’s cardio machines & strength training machines & a protein shake station. I died & went to gym rat heaven. I cannot wait to start my membership tomorrow! I am most happiest when I feel fit. Endorphins are magical, I swear.

That being said, my dear readers, you can do the same! Not everyone has to gain the Freshman 15 or the Study Abroad 20. There’s a loophole called inspiration, motivation & dedication. No matter how drastically your new lifestyle or routine changes, there is always hope to find some normalcy & stability. 

Stay focused on your goals & you will be able to achieve them! 🙂

-JG 

 

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3 Responses to “The Euro Diet”

  1. Petr Skřiváček August 13, 2013 at 10:02 pm #

    Why do you think drinking tons of water is something uncommon i Europe (or in CZ)? I´m just curious because I had an opportunity to spend 6 months in the USA and I had the same feeling from US:) And what about food? Do you think it´s less healthier in CZ (Prague)? I mean from my point of view the food you mentioned is more historical and touristy, I usually eat something like this once a month…. I know Prague is full of restaurants offering these “typical” and “traditional” food, but there are tons of new restaurants with modern and healthy menus. Anyway thanks for sharing your feelings, I like your blog! 🙂

    • jgravesss August 13, 2013 at 10:05 pm #

      Petr,
      I just feel like in the US it is very common to always be drinking water. When you go to restaurants, you will normally be served water without even asking! We also only drink beverages cold, I find that Europeans don’t really use ice cubes that much.
      Yes, I was referring to traditional Czech food. It is usually very high in fat. You could say the same for real ‘American’ food like cheeseburgers! These are just my impressions so far 🙂

      • Petr Skřiváček August 13, 2013 at 11:21 pm #

        yes, you are absolutely right, I miss tap water in restaurants here so bad!:) There is even list of reasons why you don´t get tap water in some restaurants, some of the reasons are really stupid…. But most of my american friends in NYC drank soda like crazy, which is uncommon here, I guess we drink more beer 😀

        But I think generally it´s everyhwhere in the world the same – you have always choices to eat healthy.

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