Weight loss/gain

A space for current JETs to share information and ask questions about life and work in Japan.

Re: Weight loss/gain

Postby word » Tue Jul 12, 2011 6:10 pm

jesh wrote:
maulen wrote:Half the teachers I know don't eat the rice, either...

Man, wish I was at your school. At any of my 4 schools, from the way the teachers act you'd think not eating every scrap of lunch is tantamount personally to spitting in the lunch lady's face. The kids at elementary give me grief about it every time! I don't know where they put it all...how can so much cold sticky rice fit in their tiny bodies?!

Both my schools are like this, too. At my home school, I've started taking half (or more) of my daily rice mound, wrapping it in saran-wrap, and taking it home. I tell them I eat it for dinner (I rarely actually do this; usually I just chunk it). While I'm doing this, I say things ruefully, like "Metabo-word! Dieto! Zannen, I am very hungry!" All for show, of course. Interestingly enough, since I started doing this, three other teachers have started doing it, too. You might try taking a chance on this method!
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Re: Weight loss/gain

Postby utsukushisato » Wed Jul 13, 2011 8:34 am

I lost weight when I first came to Japan. I already ate pretty healthy, and small portions, but the heat and humidity of August absolutely killed my appetite.
I tend to gain a little weight in winter because I start to eat bad stuff. Basically my kitchen is freezing, so I hate being there and thus only eat really quick/easy to prepare foods, like pasta, pancakes, and toast. All carbs, and then I just sit at my kotatsu table and don't move. Winter sucks for my diet. I also spend my holidays with friends, and when you hang out with friends, you tend to eat more sweets/snacks than usual.

As for large and calorie-dense school lunches, just make that your main meal of the day. It means you don't have to spend as much money on ingredients for dinner.
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Re: Weight loss/gain

Postby BasilG » Wed Jul 13, 2011 10:18 am

It's easy to gain weight in Japan; there's loads of great foods, but also loads of fast-food from combini's, restaurants and stalls. Also, it's easier to comfort eat when you're cold and alone during winter :P

But, a lot of people have a more active lifestyle here because walking and cycling tend to be main methods of transport for a lot of ALTs.

Losing weight is never effortless or easy (unless you had really bad eating habits before, and they naturally change when you come to Japan) but I've found it fine to lose weight in Japan. Walking, cycling and running are really easy to do here, and there's a lot of fresh vegetables and fruits in the local shops so it's easy to cook fresh things everyday. (I'm fairly rural, so there's no fast food or restaurants around here).

School lunch isn't that bad; it's around 700-800 cals a day at my school. I skip the full fat milk, which makes it around 600-700 cals, and I don't always eat all the carbs. Like some others said, wrapping it up and taking it with you is okay. Sometimes people say 'mottainai' which roughly means 'what a waste' when people just throw away chunks of their lunch, but a lot of teachers don't eat it all.

Really, no matter where you are in the world, diet and activity levels determine if you gain or lose weight.
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Re: Weight loss/gain

Postby shortsmallsweet » Wed Jul 13, 2011 10:41 am

I've gained 5kg ever since coming to Japan last year! Initially I lost a couple of kgs 'cos the heat made me lose my appetite, and probably also that my body was affected by the change of environment. the daily high-calorie school lunch made me gain all that weight, and the fact that I sit at my desk straight after lunch means my food burns off slower. My metabolism rate used to be higher when I worked in preschools (running around with kids all day) before JET.

Like utsukushisato, winter made me real lazy too. Every day after school all I want to do is cook up some piping hot stews to keep warm!
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Re: Weight loss/gain

Postby ShimanePA-Jason » Thu Jul 14, 2011 4:37 pm

kurilolhara wrote:As long as you're smart you'll be OK, Japan has as many bad choices as your home country!

Hit the nail right on the head there.

I had a bit of a roller-coaster experience with my weight during my time in Japan. Gained 10kg (just fat -- all eating and no exercise), then lost 10kg after people started poking my belly and now have gained 10kg again since joining a rugby club, weightlifting and an all-round better diet! :mrgreen: Wahey!
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Re: Weight loss/gain

Postby lizbuff » Fri Jul 15, 2011 6:25 am

I feel like lots of our JETs up here lose weight initially with the boiling hot summer and being active for the first few months. Then, as winter sets in it gets freezing cold, no-one bothers exercise, comfort eating starts and the past three months of partying catches up with you.

As long as you are aware of this and remember to do regular exercise and cut down on your mountain of kyushoku rice (I always put half of mine back which the sannensei boys eat) then you wont have too many problems with weight.

I lost about 20lbs on my year abroad here but since coming on JET haven't had any change in weight
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Re: Weight loss/gain

Postby buenokid » Fri Jul 15, 2011 9:33 am

Over the past year I've lost about 20kg. Probably weighed about 190lbs before I came here.

Lost most of that without exercise and just diet change. However I have been exercising after all this weight loss and have felt loads better.

But then again I live like Thoreau up in my mountain habitat. If you keep away from the chips, sweets, and candy you can really lose a lot.
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Re: Weight loss/gain

Postby DjinnWired » Sun Oct 16, 2011 9:24 pm

I've gained sooo much weight. I'm a vegetarian and I find Japan really hard to eat healthily in. Or maybe it is working full-time for the first time rather than Japan. But seriously, so much food here is deep-fried or carb heavy. Fruit is so expensive that I only ever buy bananas. Non-Japanese-native vegetables are so expensive that I could do an all-you-can-eat buffet for almost the cost of making a salad at home. There's only one supermarket anywhere near me that has low-fat cheese. But if I am being totally honest, I think it is actually the alcohol! 飲み放題 is so cheap and even when I'm not going out I often kick back in the evening with a calorie-laden chu-hi... :roll:
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Re: Weight loss/gain

Postby bittersweet » Mon Oct 17, 2011 1:18 pm

DjinnWired wrote:I've gained sooo much weight. I'm a vegetarian and I find Japan really hard to eat healthily in. Or maybe it is working full-time for the first time rather than Japan. But seriously, so much food here is deep-fried or carb heavy. Fruit is so expensive that I only ever buy bananas. Non-Japanese-native vegetables are so expensive that I could do an all-you-can-eat buffet for almost the cost of making a salad at home.

Same here, I started to gain weight at first (maybe 5 lb). I am a semi-vegetarian (no red meat) and ate very healthy in the USA. In Japan I find that the food isn't very healthy...maybe unless I ate nothing but sushi everyday.
Even though fruits and vegetables are expensive, I buy them anyway. My health/well-being is more important to me than saving money. Now I am back to my regular weight that I have been for the past XX yrs.
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Re: Weight loss/gain

Postby Lyre » Mon Oct 17, 2011 3:31 pm

I've been in Japan for close to three months now, and I am looking to have lost between 20 and thirty pounds at this point. The combination of eating less junk food and walking absolutely everywhere has done wonders for me.
The school lunches aren't too bad, I find. I just make sure I have a healthy breakfast of fruit, and maybe something with a bit of sugar for the energy, then have a light or medium sized dinner, and I'm okay. I do a bit of running now that it is getting cooler, but with the amount I walk, I usually don't have to do much. Saves me a ton on gas, too!
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Re: Weight loss/gain

Postby Siyris » Tue Oct 18, 2011 8:37 am

I have lost 10 kg since the end of July when I got here. For me it's been eating more balanced meals thanks to school lunch and cooking my own meals. I'm leveling out now, but I'm also joining the Gifu JET soccer team so that should help things start going down again.
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Re: Weight loss/gain

Postby kaleido » Tue Oct 18, 2011 1:51 pm

I gained about 5 kg when I arrived here last year. My weight peaked in the winter, and then by the time summer rolled around again (and I had been making attempts to work out more / "comfort eat" less) I was more or less able to lose what I had gained. I have to drive to most of my schools, so I don't get as much walking/cycling in as other JETs might.

I agree with those who pointed out that contrary to (what seems to be) popular belief, Japanese food really isn't that healthy! I don't think I can EVER remember seeing a fresh fruit or vegetable in the kyuushoku... it's all been cooked or fried, and added to the mountains of white rice, noodles, and bread. Why can't they just give everyone a banana or an apple once in a while? Or what about a cheap cabbage salad with some raw tomatoes and carrots thrown in? I was looking at the kyuushoku today and the only thing I could think to myself was "Man, I don't understand coppe pan." An entire loaf of plain white bread with nothing in it or added to it, no jam, nothing. They're all just eating these plain loaves of bread with whatever other carbs are already in the lunch -- today it was noodles. And then tomorrow there will another mountain of white rice, stripped of all the nutrients it would have retained in brown rice form... I just don't understand.

Also have to second what DjinnWired said -- fruit and non-Japanese vegetables are expensive. I wince every time I want to buy a red or yellow pepper. I bought and ate an entire avocado yesterday and felt like I was spoiling myself...
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Re: Weight loss/gain

Postby bittersweet » Tue Oct 18, 2011 3:04 pm

How much MSG do you think is in the school lunch?
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Re: Weight loss/gain

Postby Damien_ShimanePA » Tue Oct 18, 2011 3:15 pm

There seems to be quite a few comments that fruit and vegetables are expensive here. Maybe my situation is unusual but at the local grocers I pay 98 yen for an avacodo, 128 at the supermarket. 298 for four apples or a punnet of grapes. 112 for peppers. I don't find that expensive at all, even if it may work out a few cents more expensive than home. I'm really curious how much you're all paying in other regions.
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Re: Weight loss/gain

Postby hysan » Tue Oct 18, 2011 3:40 pm

It probably depends on where you previously lived. I used to get all of my fruit in Chinatown in NYC and $1 would get me three medium sized apples or two large apples. Even with the old conversion rate of 100 yen to the dollar, 298 yen ends up being a 50% markup (assuming those 4 apples are large). If you come from another part of the US, the markup may not be as extreme. Either way, I don't mind since I came to Japan prepared to see the huge markup (pretty much knew that NYC has ridiculously cheap fruit compared to most other places).

As for how much it is where I am, apples were 98 per when I first arrived but it jumped to 128 per 2-3 weeks ago. I can still get them from the local grocers @ 500 for 5 but that requires buying them in bulk on weekends (they close before I get out of school/clubs). As for avavados, I don't eat them much but I only remember seeing it at 98 per once when it was on sale and marked down. I would be so happy if my area had fruit as cheap as where you are since I'm paying a lot more for fruit than you (I also eat fruit almost daily so this is a huge money sink for me).
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