I did not have a problems with my weight, although I ate good and not always less :) But… since I moved from my small Ukrainian city to small North American city, I gained 15 lbs. In 4 months!
Well, you know a North American lifestyle, other words, “life in car”. You are driving to your job; when your working day is over, you are driving home (or to the supermarket for grocery shopping); then, when you are at home with a good piece of pizza in front of TV (you deserved it, because of hard day at work), you want nothing, but to move.
Then, in couple months, you are not fitting to your clothes; you are having a breathing problem, when you are walking upstairs; you for sure having much more problems in your body, but… No time for doctor, because “I am too busy making money!”
Familiar situation, isn’t?
Another huge reason why Western world’s people are gaining so much weight there are lots of junk food on the shelves of grocery stores and in fast-food restaurants. But! My family is shopping just in organic sections of supermarkets, we are very much “organic people” (we better spend more money of our budget for good food than to spent for medication then, after eating a “chemical” food) so I see that I gained my damn 15 lbs just because a lack of movement.
Ok, let’s move, I said to myself and I started to take a 30-minutes walk everyday. Again my “but” :) . I have noticed that almost NOBODY walking in my city, except people who are walking dogs. Everybody is driving! I see, probably I need to get a dog too; then I will not look strange in eyes of local people, because I am walking :) But I don’t care who and what is thinking about me, I care just of my health.
Other great chances to lose some weight are my travels to Ukraine. For example, this year's trip I lost 6 pounds just in 2 weeks! Of course, if I would do like a regular tourist (watching a country mostly from the bus window), I doubt I would lose even single pound. When I am coming to Ukraine, I providing a life like I had before I moved to North America: walking to the supermarket for shopping, carrying all the grocery bags by myself (I don’t have a car in Ukraine, like a 60 % of local people); walking to the post office or bank to pay a bills; walking to visit my friends; walking, walking, walking… Sure, I am taking a bus when some destination I need not in walking distance (sometimes a taxi, but it just for emergency, because taxi in Ukraine is much expensive than bus). But mostly I am walking in my small Ukrainian city, like other people do. Also I am doing lots of work in my household which I am not doing in North America, for example, hanging up clothes after my laundry (good exercise, by the way :) !). In Ukrainian households almost NOBODY has an electric dryer. Some people simply cannot afford it; some people even don’t know this thing (the dryer) is exist. Also about 50% of people (at least at my area) cannot afford a washing machine, so they are doing all the laundry manually (usually women doing it, men are thinking, it is not a men’s job). Can you imagine, what a gorgeous bunch of good exercises can you get, doing your laundry with your hands :)? Especially is you are washing a bed linen :) Well, now I have a washing machine in Ukraine, but I didn’t have it for years in my life.
Another kind of good exercises in Ukraine you can get planting. In my West Ukrainian area, if you are not planting some vegetables (especially potatoes), people are thinking that you are: a) rich; b) not rich, but lazy; c) something wrong with you :) Really! Doesn’t matter, you are living in a village or in a city; you are suppose to plant something. Ukrainians respect a physical labor very much. Work of brain they are usually not counting like a work even. For example, when I, a neighbors from my villages asked me, what I am doing at my newspaper. “I am writing”, I answered. “Ok, we are writing too, but what are you doing?” they could not understand, meaning under their question some kind of physical activity which I suppose to do at my work, for their opinion.
You know, I was laughing from this episode of my life for many years. Until I moved to the Western world where I started to feel myself what is it not having enough of physical activity.
But I didn’t finish telling you about planting in Ukraine. Actually, it is a families sport and tool of surviving at the same time. There are a couple reasons why people in Ukraine are so desperate about having their piece of land and growing own veggies.
First reason it is a small wages in Ukraine (according to the State Statistics Committee of Ukraine, middle monthly wage in Ukraine was 1917 UAH in October 2008, what equal about $251). Usually Ukrainians are spending a 50% of their families’ monthly budgets for food. No, they are not eating that much, just prices of food too high, toward to the wages.
There are a second important reason why Ukrainians cannot resist to have an own piece of land for planting. Now more and more big Western companies are brining lots of junks to Ukrainian food industry, so many Ukrainians (especially which are living in cities) prefer to grow something of their own than to buy a “chemical” grocery in supermarkets. Lots of cities’ people are having parents in villages so they are helping them with all the planting and then they are storing all those organically growth potatoes, carrot, beets, onion and cabbage to feed a family for whole winter. But if you have no relatives in village, you can buy a piece of land in suburb area (it calls “dacha”) and plant whatever you want. Actually, each weekend our small Ukrainian city is “dying out”, I mean everybody goes to the village or to dacha to plant (to harvest) something. How come you can be obese having such kind of lifestyle :)?
I know, usually statistic is boring, but here is just couple numbers. According to the Forbes, Ukraine’s rank is 114 on the list of world’s fattest countries (among 194 countries). USA is number 9 on the list, Australia is number 21, United Kingdom is number 28 and Canada is number 35. Wow…
So, what do you want to say, somebody can ask me. Is this so bad to have a car, or to do banking online, or to do laundry in the washing machine? No, no and no! If you are really busy person it is just a big happiness to have all those things to save your time. But if you are really caring about your health and your appearance (last one it is more important for women :) you better get as much a physical activity as you can. Of course, if your job in 12 kilometers from your house, you need to drive. But if your office is not far from your home, for example, 15 minutes walking, like my husband’s office? So, my husband is walking. But nobody else, although many of his co-workers are living in the same block we do. Nobody wants to walk even to friend’s dinner, doesn’t matter that this friend is living in 10 minutes of walk. Everybody is driving! Then they are complaining they got an overweight…
And now I want to show you a video taken at the village’s wedding in Carpathian Mountains (Western Ukraine).
Did you see that? This is Arkan, a tradition men’s dance from the Ukrainian Carpathians. So, look at those guys once more! They are not are professional dancers. They are local men, which are providing a regular lifestyle of Ukrainian village or small city. They are working at their plants; they are moving a lot; they are eating organic food and… You see? No one is overweight!
So… do you really want to lose some weight? Then go to Ukraine!
But I am not sure that it will help you very much if you just will enjoy beautiful Ukrainian sceneries from the bus or car’s window. You need a kind of “wild tourism”, helping to the villages’ people to plant (to harvest) potatoes, hiking at the Carpathian Mountains, dancing at the Ukrainian wedding… Your superfluous pounds will be blown with the wind, believe me!
P.S. Big thanks to you, Dukyn, for the taking this video! You are doing a really great job in Ukrainian researches and popularization of Ukrainian culture in the world.
Before You Go To Ukraine: Travel Tips