You gain some, you gain some more

2 08 2011

YFU says that exchange students typically gain weight on their exchange.

And they are right. Totally, completely, 100% correct.

It seems as though this happens across the board. Kids going to the U.S., as you’d expect, gain weight. But even those who go to places of healthier lifestyles– South America, Asia, Europe– have reported putting on some pounds. I’ve talked to exchange students in Japan who’ve put on weight walking, biking, and eating fish and vegetables every day. Of course, there are always those who lose weight during their exchange– but that seems to be the exception, not the rule. Typical weight gain for year-long exchange students is about 15-20 pounds.

I’ve only been here for 6 weeks, but I’ve gained my fair share of fat. That’s for sure.

There could be a number of reasons for this. Maybe the change in climate put undue stress on my body. Maybe I’m exercising less.

Or, most likely, the change in diet.

Sometimes exchange students gain weight for unknown reasons, even as they enter a healthier, more active lifestyle. But I’ve probably gained weight because I’m presented with things like these:

"Hawaiian toast" with ham, cheese, and pineapple.

Wood-oven pizza, complete with toppings grown locally.

Bread for breakfast. Every day. This is typical for Germany.

Which, combined with this mentality, does not make for a slimming diet.

My host family actually eats healthy, though. My host mom always makes a conscious effort to cook plenty of vegetables. She’s always careful to cut down on the amount of fat in the dishes. We don’t eat meat nearly as often as one would expect from a German family. (Maybe about once a week.)

And it’s not as though I’ve been sitting around all day. I actually signed up for a one-month gym membership, where I take fitness classes. My favorite? “Body Pump,” an interesting cardio-weight-lifting class.

Yet, regardless, German food is delicious. I love it. Thus I put on a few pounds. However, many students that reported rapid weight gain also reported losing it all when they returned home. Perhaps that’s my saving grace? Considering that I’m going to college in a month, though, I’m not sure how easily I can do the same. The freshmen fifteen is notorious, after all. Well, if I work at it, I’m sure I can!