Adjusting to American cooking

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  1. Tori Maltby profile image60
    Tori Maltbyposted 13 years ago

    I have recently moved from living on my own in London to living with the in-laws in America.

    Although I am still excercising everyday I am picking up weight.

    I believe that my body is screaming for help because when living on my own I was too lazy to cook and too poor to shop so was living on pretty minimal but healthy meals. Now, I am faced with delicious home cooked meals every night with so many sides and salads and goodness all around.

    Does anyone have any weight loss advice or secrets to share so that I can maintain a healthy weight but not offend the mom-in-law by not eating her delicious cooking?

    1. rhamson profile image73
      rhamsonposted 13 years agoin reply to this

      Be absent around mealtime is my only advice.  Pick and choose from the leftovers.

    2. prettydarkhorse profile image56
      prettydarkhorseposted 13 years agoin reply to this

      try to talk to your husband first then to your mother in law about it, go with her to the store to buy you organic stuff

      1. Diskobolos profile image57
        Diskobolosposted 13 years agoin reply to this

        Not to mention this, back home everything you eat is organic. Genetically modified food is banned by law. When you buy stuff, you usually by it every day at green market, like this is vegetable or fruit that farmer cropped that day or week, eggs are fresh and laid by chicken often the very same day. In US that's like science fiction, if you want to buy the quality stuff it costs a lot and many people prefer to buy larger quantity of cheap food vs. smaller quantity of quality. I mean I was like that too, if you're on a low budget you have to.

    3. Diskobolos profile image57
      Diskobolosposted 13 years agoin reply to this

      I know the feeling, I moved to US 5 years ago and moved back to Europe only like a week ago. And I didn't even eat home meals that often. Though I must say i did not put weight there, I was training and played sports. After some time I actually lost some weight, when I stopped lifting semi-competitively.

      Still many people I know that moved to US get fattier, especially girls. My number one advice would be not to drink any sodas, Cokes and all that tasteless crap that's full of sugar. And it's not really a sacrifice as all that stuff tastes like crap anyway.

      Also, avoid 'dressing' salads. As we joked for all the dressings that they put on salads, we would say 'we don't dress our salads'. In European and Mediterranean countries salad is tomato/cucumber/olives/onions. You put some nice olive oil on it and quality vinegar and that's it. No ranch/ceasear/mambo-jumbo crap that's full of fat anyway.

      Last advice if you eat candies eat some nice quality stuff, either plain chocolate or home-made cake and not some Oreo stuff that tastes like crap and is calorie bomb. If you buy cookies buy something like ptetite-beurre, that's our favorite, it's simple and delicious and it's not calorie-bomb.

      Good luck with your move.

    4. profile image0
      cosetteposted 13 years agoin reply to this

      eat small portions, don't eat any bread at the meal, drink water instead of milk or soda, and suggest a nice walk after dinner. this way she doesn't feel offended and you can enjoy yourself without feeling guilty or gaining weight.

      1. Diskobolos profile image57
        Diskobolosposted 13 years agoin reply to this

        I don't see anything wrong with drinking milk, it's healthy and delicious. Also, eating bread too (although I don't eat it often). In Europe you eat bread with every meal, and you buy it every morning, every corner store has it freshly baked in the morning. 4 person family eats often like 2 kg a day, yet people are not fat.

        I always found that bizarre, Americans are looking at labels and counting calories more than any other nation, yet they are on average by far the most obese. My mom never ever cared about that, she always ate whatever she wanted (or better said what we could afford) as much as she wanted (which was frankly not much) and she's been 50 kg (110 lb) her whole life.

  2. ediggity profile image60
    ediggityposted 13 years ago

    Ditch the bread (or flour all together if possible), drink water with lemon or plain tea (unsweetened), NO REFINED SUGAR, and eat everything else in reasonable portions.

    At least 30 minutes cardio and at least 30 minutes of strength training.

  3. KCC Big Country profile image85
    KCC Big Countryposted 13 years ago

    My husband is from England and experienced the same situation when coming to Texas.  There are a lot of differences in our canned and processed foods here versus England.  He's trying to stick with fresh produce if possible avoiding canned and processed.

  4. profile image0
    Denno66posted 13 years ago

    Smaller portions. Sounds funny, but it works quite well.

  5. Eaglekiwi profile image74
    Eaglekiwiposted 13 years ago

    I am having the same problems big time.
    I knew to begin with Id have fun sampling  the many sugary treats on offer , but its the ready made products that get me too!
    I just feel sweaty all the time lol

    Have to just spend a bit more and get back to basics me thinks!

  6. Mocha Momma profile image59
    Mocha Mommaposted 13 years ago

    Do not drink soda, if you must have carbonated beverages, drink something like Izze or soft drinks with natural pure cane sugar in moderation (not daily).  You can have flour/breads, just not with a bunch of potatoes/corn.  Do not eat the white bread, eat whole wheat bread (read the bread labels).  Eat several meals throughout the day.  Do not drown your salad in dressing, set your dressing on the side of your salad and dip your salad into the dressing.  Do not eat the croutons, they are typically fried. 

    If you must have the larger portion sizes, you may eat larger meat quantities and vegetable quantities, make your carb sides smaller. 

    If you are eating a lot more meat, make sure you do some weight training (it can be light), as building up your muscle will increase your metabolism and burn more calories.

    Watch out for canned soups etc as they are full of MSG.  Watch out for canned foods period and try to eat fresh or frozen products when it comes to your vegetables and fruit.

    You can have the sweetened tea, just make sure you don't go crazy with it (one glass per day).

    You can also drink several cups of green tea per day, green tea helps flush the system and aids in elimination of flushing the fat cells.

    Hope this helps.

  7. The Rope profile image60
    The Ropeposted 13 years ago

    My sister-iin-law is from Brazil and quite a beauty.  She took the tactic of going with my mother to the store to buy a few things she really likes but knows aren't something my mother would usually buy.  She eats a little of almost everything the family is eating and then grabs fresh fruit or her soy milk after the meal, when everyone's visiting and it wouldn't be an issue for mom.  She has won my mother's heart and I'm sure it's partly because of her tact.  But she sticks carefully to her breakfast routine to ensure she gets off to the right start for the day.

  8. Miss Belgravia profile image60
    Miss Belgraviaposted 13 years ago

    I feel for you, Tori. I lived in London for a couple of years, and with all the walking, carrying groceries home from the store instead of throwing them in the car, eating smaller portions, etc., I lost 30 pounds in about six months without even thinking about it. I moved back to Texas a little over a year ago, and every pound has returned, despite my efforts to remain active and eat less. Exercise is something we have to schedule into our lives in the U.S., where it was just part of everyday life there. Since I love to cook, love to eat, and have a sedentary job, it's a real struggle for me. I hope you can find a strategy that works for you. Good luck!

    1. Marisa Wright profile image90
      Marisa Wrightposted 13 years agoin reply to this

      This is really interesting feedback.  I gained a lot of weight after moving to Australia, purely because the "normal" portion size is bigger. I didn't even notice, until I went back to the UK on holiday and was surprised at how small a plateful was!

      I also saw the post about High Fructose Corn Syrup - and I remember noticing that in the ingredients of the most unexpected foods in the US, even savory ones.  It's notoriously fattening so try to avoid it at all costs.

      1. Diskobolos profile image57
        Diskobolosposted 13 years agoin reply to this

        Had that happen to me a few days ago. But than again when your panini  is in nicer bread, with prosciutto and not some whatever ham and real mozzarella and not some cheddar crap you don't really mind that it's

  9. Enitharmon profile image61
    Enitharmonposted 13 years ago

    Stop worrying about your weight and enjoy your food!

  10. questiongirl profile image61
    questiongirlposted 13 years ago

    1. Know what you are eating: Help with the cooking if that is an option, and then you will know exactly what is going into the meal--like if the healthy-looking green beans are actually drowning in a puddle of melted butter, for instance. Educate yourself on general nutrition information so that you are equipped to make good decisions.

    2. Once you know what you are dealing with, fill your plate with larger portions of the most healthy item on the table, and take smaller portions of everything else.

    3. Eat slowly: put down your fork and drink water in between bites, and talk more so that you eat less. Do not go back for seconds.

    4. Avoid being a member of the clean-plate club. It's OK to leave a little something behind sometimes.

    5. After dinner, help with the clean-up of the kitchen and dishes. This is not only a nice thing to do, but a good way to burn a few post-meal calories.

    6. If you have the option, take an after-dinner stroll around the block instead of settling into a food coma on the couch.

  11. profile image0
    sarah dawkinsposted 13 years ago

    We have not long moved back from the states.  It is so easy to put on weight there because of what they do to their food.   I found that they have High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) in so many of their foods.  Wal Mart's meat ALL had 10-12% "solution" in it, that was HFCS, salt and flavourings.  The bread is all full of HFCS.

    We bought an "extra tasty" spit roast chicken from Publix, ate some and put the rest in the fridge.  The following day we found a huge dollop of congealed fat in the middle, obviously injected in, to make it "extra tasty".  There are many dangers with buying "convenience" foods.  Just try and eat organic and make everything from scratch.  As has been already suggested, portion control will help enormously.

    If you are eating out, stick with the salads, and ask for the dressings to be put separately in a container.  You will be surprised at how much dressings they use.

    In Texas, there are not many footpaths, and it may be far too hot to do any walking.  One of my relatives got picked up by the local Law Enforcement cos she was out walking and they don't do that there!!!!

    Hope that helps. x

    1. Diskobolos profile image57
      Diskobolosposted 13 years agoin reply to this

      God, I know the feeling, me and my roommate were used to walk like a mile to school, it's like normal stuff, for many people there it was like an expedition to Mt.Everest. The annoying thing is that a lot of cities are not built for walkers, cause nobody walks. And there aren't stores and markets on every corner, if you wanna shop you go to Wal-Mart that's a bit out of the city and you need to drive, so without a car you're almost like paralyzed.

  12. profile image0
    cosetteposted 13 years ago

    well, ok, 1% milk. or skim.

    and whole grain bread. one slice.

    i don't know who these Americans are that are reading nutrition labels but are obese. it seems to me people get that way when they indiscriminately eat anything they want and to heck with the consequences.

    1. Diskobolos profile image57
      Diskobolosposted 13 years agoin reply to this

      I've been drinking regular milk my whole life, just like every one I know, I don't see it as a problem. There are actually articles (I'm not expert enough to claim they are 100% correct) that talk about whole fat milk being much healthier than the skim one.

      As for bread, again I don't see that white bread is bad. I guess it's just different personal experience.

      It's the life style that is contributing a lot to people being fat. People don't walk much, women don't do much house work (I'm not saying they are the one that should do it, but usually they are the one doing it), kids eat a ton of food and sit in front of the computers all day, etc...


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