“You’re so skinny. I was exactly the same as soon as I moved here. 15kgs later…”
“I had a really great lifestyle back in Australia, I’m continuing with it here. The weight gain won’t effect me”.
– Were the exact words I shared with one of my housemates the first day I moved in.
Naive Elizabeth strikes again. Boy, was I wrong.
Planning to move from the wonderful, fresh Australia to the UK ? Be prepared to get the Heathrow Injection.
As the ever so accurate Urban Dictionary describes it:
Heathrow injection. A metaphor for the weight one inevitably gains when one migrates to London for an extended stay.
“What? Weight gain? This wasn’t on the visa application terms and conditions,” you say?
No, my friend. The Heathrow Injection is one of life’s little surprises that smashes you in the gut like a ton of bricks.
I am by no means an overweight person, but when I arrived four months ago I was definitely slimmer than I am now.
How does that make me feel? Pretty down actually. I have always looked after my body, and for the last few months I have done exactly that. Despite my efforts at maintaining the same diet and exercise routine as back home, I have noticed the muffin top creeping up. Gaining weight is an uncomfortable feeling, especially when you haven’t applied any major changes to your diet.
I have gotten to the point where I am not sure I can put up with two more years of this. Pathetic, right?
Let me share a little about my health and lifestyle with you:
- I am gluten free and find my body also doesn’t react well to gluten free bread (The struggle to not eat pizza all the time is real people).
- Dairy free (By choice, not intolerant).
- I probably consume meat once or twice a week (I get my iron and protein from alternative food sources).
- I don’t often indulge in high sugar deserts (when I do they’re naturally sweetened).
- I exercise regularly (Can you understand my frustration with weight gain now?).
- I Just got back from a week in Italy and had gelato and pizza basically every day, which means all of the above was thrown out of the window (Don’t jude me).
So, ladies and gentlemen, that’s a little about me. I have come to the conclusion if we want to enjoy our time living in the UK we need to fight The Heathrow Injection together. Are you with me?
I’ve put my personal weight gain down to four factors.
Fruit and Vegetables
My diet has always consisted of a lot of fruit and veg. The problem with this is in the UK most of the products are imported and contain high levels of pesticides and other chemicals used to grow the fruit.
Pesticides are used to protect produce from pests, weeds and other nasties. Although in Australia our fruit also contains chemicals, I’m convinced that fruit in the UK is not working wonders on my body.
Fish and Meat
I was never a big meat eater back home, so I haven’t been having a lot since arriving. When I do have it, the first thing I notice is a major difference in taste (To be fair, we do have pretty awesome meat standards back home. The bar was set pretty high).
Fish on the other hand – I’ve always loved my tuna. Approximately 70% of seafood is imported in the UK (Errrrrrr not so fresh = not so good).
To be fair I should have seen this problem coming. The UK has such a big drinking culture, and by big I mean: weekday morning hangovers are socially acceptable (this can occur anywhere between 1-5 nights a week).
It’s difficult to say no to a few glasses of wine with colleagues or flatmates after work, especially when you are starting a new social circle. I would have to say I’ve consumed more wine in the last few months than I have my entire life (Not sure if I should be impressed or ashamed….hi mum).
One thing EVERYONE complains about is how much their hair and skin change after arriving in the UK. Although this is due to a combination of factors, water is a major game changer. If the water is effecting your skin and hair, imagine what it is doing to your body in general.
Australia has a fantastic water supply. We have some of the highest quality water in the world. Spending 23 years drinking/showering in it, then suddenly shifting to a new supply has definitely taken its toll (…does this mean I have to start paying for bottled water?).
Although the summer months are ending, I am more determined now than ever to get back into shape. So those four factors above? I’m going to change them.
I will start by buying organic and free-range meat and produce to see if that reduces the chemicals going into my body. I will also be purchasing 2L of non-english bottled water daily to keep up my fluids.
If I don’t bore you too much with my complaining you can keep up to date with my progress by following my blog.
I’m giving you one last chance England. Work with me on this so I can stay in your beautiful country for another year and a half!