It’s surely everyone’s worst nightmare to waddle through arrivals and greet family and friends the ‘bigger’, but not so much ‘better’ you. Is it a totally irrational fear? No How many missionaries have you seen “Return with Blubber”?

Gaining a few pounds… fifty+ in some cases isn’t so uncommon. And ‘oh my gosh’ if this happens, we all know our marriage prospects have just spiraled to ‘single adults, thirty plus’. And no one wants that.

But lets look at it from a purely more practical side, it’s a fact;

“Bigger missionaries have tougher missions”

(I’ve quotation marked it, but actually just made it up)

But it sounds true, doesn’t it? I mean, lets look at some of the things that get harder the bigger you become as a missionary.

  • Riding a bike (though duct tape padding on the seat can help)
  • Transferring areas with heavy bags
  • Helping people move house
  • Morning Exercise
  • Walking up hills
  • ‘P’ day activities and sports
  • Running from dogs
  • Sitting on the floor (if there’s no seating)
  • Even getting to the top of long driveways could be a struggle.

And these are just tasks. Have you thought about how it could affect the way you feel?

  • Unhappy because you can’t fit into your clothes
  • Depressed because you don’t want to go home looking fat
  • Tried from the extra weight
  • Lethargic from the lack of productivity
  • Thighs rubbing together ? (owwwwww)

OK, so I think I might have spelled it out a little too well for you. Maybe I have some experience here. LOL

So, avoiding this starts right at the beginning of your mission. Even the MTC experience. In my experience, the three reasons that missionaries gain significant weight are;

  1. Member Meals
  2. Convenience food
  3. Comfort Eating

Member Meals

Members in all their kindness tend to feed missionaries more than they would any other guest. Their heart warming kindness is much appreciated but can severely affect your waistline.

  • Tip 1, if you can serve yourself the food, DO
  • Tip 2, less eating and more talking gives the illusion that infect you’ve eaten more.
  • Tip 3, Don’t be rude, but let your host know when you’ve had enough with a theatrically big thank you speech.
  • Tip 4, If culturally allowed, leave a little bit on your plate so you don’t get ‘refilled’.
  • Tip 5, When you’re full, it’s time to share a spiritual thought. Then it’s time to go.
  • Tip 6, When you’re offered food outside of dinner appointments, eat some and see if you can take the rest ‘to go’.

Convenience food

Fast food, street food, vendor food, gas station food ext. ext. is a killer (well maybe not literally). But it may as well be. Treat it as an occasional food and you’ll be ok. Personally, I’d be super cautious about vendor food in some missions, (though a stomach bug could help you loose wight fairly quickly) LOL.

Have a look at some of the facts. Here is a pretty common Mcky D’s swing by;

  • Burger 63mins, 550 calories
  • Fries, 57mins, 500 calories
  • Sprite, 28mins, 246 calories
  • Mc Flurry, 58 mins, 510 calories


That’s 1806 calories in one meal. Almost all your 2000 recommended daily allowance for men and over the amount for most women. Want to burn it off and allow yourself to eat other meals during the day? Try jogging 2 hours 56 minutes. Otherwise, as you can imagine it all builds up, and we all know where. 😉

Comfort eating

Foods that remind us of home can quickly become a ‘must have’, justified by the fact we are far from home and without our normal support network. Here’s a great rule for the apartment;

“You can’t eat what you don’t buy”

Buy one treat cereal, chocolate bar, soda drink or packet of chips and decide when you’re allowed it. It might sound totally anal but I know of a missionary who started drinking a can of his favorite soda each day until it quickly escalated to two big bottles a day. That’s over 1000 calories on fluid.

It didn’t take long for the weight to pile up

Look at food packets, get accustomed to looking at things like carbohydrate percentages and sugar content. Things to know.

White rice, white bread, potato, pizza will make you tired. They take longer to digest and we tend to eat more than we should. They steal oxygen from the brain for digestion which is why we feel tired after a big lunch.

Granulated sugar, sugary cereal, drinks and so on are carbs. Unused they turn into sugar which in turn becomes Fat.

And there you have it Stick it out and return with vigor!

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