Tuesday, August 16, 2011


When I first got home from Korea I had trouble just walking around the block. Hell, I would sweat while sitting down. My time in Korea, and my own stupidity, had taken a toll on my physical health. It would be nice to blame it all on someone else, and that does seem to be the Western way, but I refuse to lie to myself. Most of the blame was on me with the next largest portion going to environmental factors.

I had to start building my health back slowly. So, I started walking around the block and as that became more doable I would extend the length of my walk. Then the number of times a day I walked. Until I was walking 3-4 times a day at least 1-2km a walk. Sometimes more. Sometimes less, but rarely. Over time the walks became part of my daily routine and if I missed one my day didn't feel right.

It wasn't just the walking that helped, I also changed my eating habits. I started that change while in Korea and worked on it harder when I got home. At the time I would have said I made no changes until I got home. Looking back I started making changes to my eating habits 6 months or more before coming home. Cutting back on my portion sizes. Making sure I ate a breakfast even if it was just toast so I would be too hungry later in the day and gorge. All in all I cut back what I eat by well over half, maybe even by 2/3.

Part of my eating problem was boredom. Over the years I equated boredom to being hungry. Often I would find myself eating without even realizing I had gotten something from the fridge. It was as if it was some automatic response to boredom. Or depression. It would lead to a vicious cycle that was hard to break. I would be bored and eat. Then that would make me feel depressed so I would eat.

There is a lot more to staying healthy, not just losing the weight, than exercise. It is a way of thinking and seeing life. People who nag or rag on overweight people are doing more damage than good. All it does is destroy their self-esteem and give them a reason to eat, depression. You can't force someone to want to be healthy. It has to be a conscious decision on their part. A lot of people, and I was one, will mouth the platitudes and seem to be trying but they are just going through the motions to shut up the naggers and haters. In the end they don't even help themselves. Sure there are some who will turn that negative attention around and use it as an impetus to get healthy. But they are the exception and not the norm.

Me, I just flat out didn't give a shit. Psycho babble aside, I didn't care and nothing anyone said would make me. It had to be a choice I made to change my life. Luckily, I came to that decision before it was too late. If I hadn't I would probably have died in the next few years.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Flint. I'm totally with you on the eating because of boredom thing. Sometimes I'll find myself sitting in front of my computer, just staring into space and not actually reading anything, and then the next thing I know I'm rummaging through the kitchen for something to eat. I also noticed that sometimes when I felt like I needed to eat, what I actually needed was sleep. I often find that when I'm overtired and I need sleep I end up thinking I'm hungry and find myself eating, when I'm getting absolutely no hunger signals from my stomach. I've started asking myself, before I eat anything, if I'm truly feeling stomach hunger or if it's boredom or fatigue. If it's real hunger, I'll have a small snack, like a piece of fruit, and if I'm still hungry 20 minutes later I'll have something more substantial. If it's not real stomach hunger then I have to either get some sleep or do something to get out of my mental stupor, go for a walk around the block, or read a book, just something to get my mind engaged back into the moment again.

    As someone who has spent my entire life battling against fatness, and now having Hashimoto's disease, I find that I really have to listen closely to my body to hear those hunger cues, otherwise I'm eating when I really don't need to. Another thing I'm trying to do is to change the way I think about my weight and my body, so that instead of working towards being a specific weight or fitting into a certain size I instead focus more on how my body feels and things I need to do to feel good, like exercising and eating nutritious food. It was easier to eat healthy in Canada than it is in Korea, I find, because here everything has sugar and outrageous amounts of sodium. I mean, really, sugar in soda crackers? WTF? And also, the Korean obsession with kimchi being such a healthy food that can keep people from getting sick? Such utter crap. Korean people seem to think that their basic diet is so much better than the west. And while it's true that there are fewer fats and carbs (except for the white rice), there is also way too much sodium in almost everything. But try explaining that as the reason for the high incidence of stomach and colon cancer and people (i.e. my husband) just refuse to listen or believe it. And don't even get me started on liver cancer and the soju lifestyle! But I digress.

    I also find that being in Seoul it's not necessary to have a car so I end up walking and biking a lot more than I did in Canada. So far I've lost about 30 kgs and I would like to lose another 20 kgs or so, but what I'd really like is to be strong and flexible and able to ride the entire Han river bike route around Yeouido without stopping.

    Wow, sorry for blathering so much. I really just wanted to say I can empathize with you. Anyway, I always enjoy reading your posts. Take care. ^.^