Goedemorgen from Holland! Last Sunday we left Hawaii and spent the next 2 days traveling to our new home in Amsterdam, landing here on Tuesday morning. We had two long flights, a long layover and a hiccup on this end getting into our apartment, but after an afternoon nap and dinner with a friend, we were pretty much on the European time zone by Wednesday. I’m not sure my stomach was in agreement with that, but my brain was doing OK.
I’m so surprised I didn’t gain any weight this week because all I did on the trip over was snack; I felt I was snacking or drinking coffee all the time. And of course I haven’t exercised once yet and I can really feel it. (It feels good that I am eager to get back out there in a routine!) Actually, I’m feeling like a fat person again… could be the tall, gorgeous Dutch women (this sure messed with my mind last year!) or it could be just that I am so much more aware of my body and what I’m capable of doing to it, good and bad!
So here we are in the land of kilos, grams, liters, kilometers, Celsius, the euro and a foreign language! I put my weight in kilos at the top because that’s the standard here and I need to get used to it (it converts to 141 lbs). It’s not a difficult conversion: take your weight in lbs. and divide it by 2.2. I’m thinking that a personal long-term goal for me would be 59 kilos or 132 lbs. I like the sound of being under 60 kilos, but also I am now seeing that indeed, I really should lose a little more weight and that seems like the right number.
Living here in Amsterdam gives me hope that I can keep my weight off and perhaps reach that new goal. We have no car; we walk a lot or take the tram. I’ll get a bike again, and if you’ve ever been in a typical Dutch home you know the stairways are all long and steep, so just walking in your front door you get a workout! I did check out a gym yesterday but at 78 euros a month (about $100) just to use the treadmill, I think I need to see what my other options are; still if that’s what I have to do, I will. I’m finally putting a priority on my health!
But living in a big city is healthy, at least for us. My husband and I are very comfortable with big cities; he’s lived in NYC, Chicago, and Seattle, I lived in San Francisco, and we have both lived in Honolulu. For 10 years we lived in a rural part of Hawaii, beautiful but we had to drive everywhere. We knew when we retired we wanted to be back in a big city because for us, it’s a healthier way to live. First, you walk organically — to go shopping, to run errands, to go to appointments — instead of “I’m going out for a walk…”. This means you walk more, and usually faster because you have a mission, and it happens several times a day. Plus it’s easy to not “go for a walk“, not so easy not to run your errands and keep appointments.
Another difference about living a city life is the size of things. In Amsterdam, the refrigerators are about the size of a toaster, and the kitchens are the size of a small bathroom, so you can’t fit much in them! So, you shop almost daily and the size of the packages at the store are very small compared to the US. No Costco-size packages here! First, there’s no way you can carry that much when you walk, and second, there is nowhere to store it when you bring it home! A bag of pasta or a bag of flour is about the size of a bag of coffee! But everything is very fresh and there are stores, delis, fruit stands or outdoor markets with fresh fish, vegetables (and flowers!) within a block or two of where you live so it’s very convenient. It’s a different way of life, but one we think will keep us healthier in the long run.
I was getting so good at reading labels (finally!) in the US, and now I am completely baffled when I pick up a package in the store… I have no idea how many carbs, protein or calories are in things, let alone the ingredients! I have to have my computer nearby just to translate the directions on packages… and much of the produce is different, but I’ll eventually learn. It’s all a mix of excitement and education, and I’m up for the challenge. It would have been much easier to stay in Hawaii or to move to the mainland, but why not live a more interesting life if you can?
Well, the sky is blue today and although it’s a lot colder than Hawaii, we’ll venture out and explore more of the city. We’re living quite close to a large park called Vondelpark, so we may just go out and “take a walk!”
Tot de volgende keer… (until next time)
QUEEN OF CROP