A Stef-centric post about being a sedentary Canadian in the Midwest

Tyler and I have been living in the US a little over a year and while Tyler has had works to keep him occupied, I havent had anything except a 4 month stint volunteering. Not that I’ve been stitting on my ass watching T.V. all day but I do a lot more nothing than I do something. Daily chores don’t take a whole lot of time and I don’t want to walk to the grocery store or Wal-Mart everyday because I don’t like going into a store without spending money. I don’t want a repeat of the time we went into the north.  Also, I don’t want to spend money everyday on unnecessary things. When we were living in Kalamazoo township and I was volunteering, being active wasn’t much of a problem. I was walking everyday for about 3 hours, going up and down hills and while at volunteering I was walking around and playing with my kid. I packed in a lot of activity in those 4ish hours that the fattier and saltier food wasn’t really an issue. Sure, I had gained some weight since we had moved but it almost disappeared in those 4 months so I didn’t let it bother me. Plus,  we were still adjusting to American food so we didn’t eat out every Friday like we had been in Victoria and we do now.

Now, I have never been one to complain about my weight. While it’s had its up and downs, it’s never really been out of my control. If I gained 5 pounds, I could cut back on chips and candy and it would go down and all would be good in my world. “Body issues” was never really a thing for me. I have never been a stick and have always been fairly muscular thanks to a combination of genetics and a life long career in gymnastics.  I am happy with that size because I like being athletic. To me, it means strength and determination and power. While I was never a top gymasts, I was always top in my level at my favourite events and almost always medaled.  When my friends were worrying about being slim and small, I was worrying about keeping my six pack (yes girls can get those).
When I retired from gymnastics I knew I wouldn’t be as muscular and strong forever but, being as young and naive as I was, I never thought there would be a day where I would have a hard time keeping my weight in check.

Keeping a healthy weight by avoiding fatty food was never really a problem in Canada.  Our medium gound beef was fine and lean ground beef was affordable. Here, medium ground beef is not the same and lean ground beef is the same as medium in Canada with regards to fat content. We buy extra lean when we can,  but it doesn’t come on sale often and when it does, it’s still $6 a pound. We have moved to ground pork and turkey for most things but a pork burger just isn’t the same as a beef burger. That being said, I have never been a huge beef fan so making things with pork (except burgers) suits me just fine. The biggest issue I have had with fatty meat (hurr hurr hurr) has been chicken. The chicken here is sooooo fatty. I cut off about a quarter of the weight in just fat and I still have like an inch of fat in the pan. No joke. I don’t know if this is an American thing or a Midwestern thing and I don’t care. It’s gross either way. I have decided that we have to start buying the more expensive chicken because it is less fatty and it tasts much better. More expensive being like $3.50 a pound. Chicken is stupid cheap here but it comes at a price. A fatty price.

Since we’ve move into the States,  the weight had been slowly creeping up. Then it went down with volunteering and I thought “ok, I have adjusted to American food”. But then it crept up again when we moved and I was no longer walking 3 hours. Then winter hit and fuck winter because it’s dark and cold and even if the sun is shining it’s fucking cold and windy and the wind can go to hell. As a result, I don’t leave my house. I used my stairs once a week to do laundry and that was about all the exercise I got. I left my house maybe 5 times to go to the grocery store or Walmart in like 6 months. Every time I regretted it. Kalamazoo isn’t very good at plowing the sidewalks because the road plows pile all the snow on the sidewalk and it’s pretty hard to plow through that shit. A lot of the time I was trekking through knee deep snow and ice. It sucked. It also meant I didn’t want to leave my house. This resulted in me gaining 15 fucking pounds. I know that doesn’t seem like a lot but when you are 5’2″ (yes I am I was recently measured) it is quite a bit of extra weight. This alarmed me in a “I’m fucking fat that that is disgusting” sort of way and also a “that is really not healthy” sort of way. Plus I kept disappointing my Wii Me because it was always in the ‘Overweight’ category. My little Wii Me Steffies always looked so sad.  The biggest eye opener I has with my fattening was when I had a check up (if I have to actually pay for health care I’m going to fucking use it). I had my blood preassure taken and it was fucking137/90. That is not ok. That is getting into dangerous hypertension area and that scared me more than anythjng. I have NEVER had my blood pressure be that high. It has always been on the low side because of being a gymnast and just being generally fit. The only thing that really changed in my life was food. Not diet perse but more like ingredients. I have been cooking all the same stuff, using all the same ingredients but a lot of the ingredients we use are more salty or sweet or fatty. Things here are just different and I am paying the price for those differences with my health. Which is so fucked up I can’t even.

So, I finally talked Tyler into getting a treadmill because you can’t run outside for like 6 months of the year and I don’t like running in public (I run like a weird pixie…don’t ask). I also found an app that tracks exercise and calories (I have never been a fan of counting calories because it seems so…vain to me) and that helps. So, for the last 2 weeks I have been running almost every day and just recently started counting calories (which I still hate and probably will always hate). Hopefully I will actually be able to see the effects of it. I am no longer 20 and cannot just lose weight by walking an extra 10 minutes a day (so I have recently learned).

In living here, I can now see how there is such an issue with obesity in America. Precessed prepackaged food is readily available and McDonald’s is so cheap that feeding a family there is cheaper than buying groceries. Like seriously WTF?

I am looking forward to the day when I can look in the mirror and be pleased with what I see instead of being disappointed.