What kind of change can happen in 3 months? During my working life, plans were made and results were tallied in 3-month increments – in quarter years. It was a good time measurement for goals and enough time to see results from those goals.

We have been in Costa Rica for 3 months now and have traveled back to the US in order to renew our visa stamp and to see family and friends. This is a good time to review some of the positive impact the move from working and living in the US to living in Costa Rica has had.

Weight loss

I am a big guy. Standing 6’3” my weight has fluctuated throughout the years between 220 and 252, what I weighed when we left for CR in June. Our lifestyle in the States was one of long working hours; because of this, we ate out…a lot. I am not very good at denying myself, especially if I am in a restaurant. I would combat the huge amount of calories I ate by running. I would usually train for a 10K or half marathon and that would keep my weight down a bit – then directly succeeding the event I was training for I would stop running and the weight would come back.

 

Feb 2013

Feb 2013

Sept 2013

Sept 2013

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When we left for Costa Rica in mid-June I weighed 252 – this is the most I have ever weighed. I knew I wanted to lose weight but really did not move to Costa Rica with a plan. I wanted to see how living there naturally effected my weight.

Upon arriving in our new home in Grecia I began hiking and eating more healthy by eating the foods that fit our budget – the typical Costa Rican diet; rice, beans, chicken, fruits and vegetables. The hike has slowly graduated from me barely being able to make it through a 1.5 mile hike (which took me about an hour) to doing the same hike in about 30 minutes and then adding another hour to an hour and a half to it – hiking between 4 and 6 miles a day.

I have lost 25 pounds in the 3 months we have been in CR. Technically 2.5 months as 3 days after moving my father died and we went back to Dallas for 2 weeks. So, 25 pounds lost in 2.5 months through diet and exercise.

Blood pressure

Over the past couple of years I have had an ever-increasing prescribed dose of blood pressure medication. Once again, I tried to control my blood pressure through running – running only did not work. My diet and work related stress offset any health benefits achieved by running. I ran out of medication our first month here.

Don’t preach – I did not attempt to get the prescription refilled. Instead, As a result of my diet change, exercise and reduction of stress my blood pressure has slowly normalized. I take it most mornings and have found that it is always better than it was while I was taking medication and it is almost always in the normal range.

Pinch Between the Cheek and Gum

I started dipping Copenhagen when I was about 16 years old. What started out as a dip when I was out fishing or working in the yard turned into a fulltime habit. By the time I became an adult I was using at least a can of tobacco a day sometimes more. As of today, the typical cost of a can of Copenhagen snuff in Dallas is about $6. So for me, it was a $150 a month habit.

When we moved to Costa Rica, I moved with the thought that this habit was not an option. Not only was it unlikely that I could purchase it in CR the bigger factor was it was not in the budget. It turned out that it was not even a factor. Surprisingly, there were no withdrawal symptoms, nor did I even miss it.

So, I have seen some great positive change in a relatively short period of time. Could I have achieved the same results in the States? That is the million dollar question – for me, it took a change of venue and lifestyle and a removal of the stress and pressure of a 60 hour a week job. I am sure I will have more positive benefits to share as our time in country continues – stay tuned.

Hasta Pronto,

Greg