Between the two of us, Rhys and I have lost 118 pounds since April. ONE HUNDRED AND EIGHTEEN in NINE months. That’s extreme. So what changed?
On the surface, not a whole lot. Yes, we’re walking more – but no additional exercise. We eat when we’re hungry, and we’re not on any sort of diet. But wait… let’s look at that a little closer.
Food has been important in every culture we’ve visited, and we’ve tried most local cuisines we’ve come across. They vary wildly – Japan featured generally healthy foods that emphasized the natural flavors of the ingredients, Thailand loved their spices so much that it was difficult to tell the base of a dish underneath the hot, Italy was carb-loading, and the Czech Republic is largely a deep-fried cheese, meat-and-potatoes country. Yet, we lose weight in every one of them. So…?
Looking at our habits, in addition to simply moving more, we have changed the way we eat. We share meals more often, and the portion sizes it takes to get us full have definitely shrunk. Our eating schedule is probably more healthy now, too – we eat breakfast, and lunch is invariably the largest meal of the day (though still not huge). It’s not uncommon for us to continually snack throughout the day.
Not only do we eat less, but the food we have eaten – everywhere – has been fresher, less processed, with less chemicals, preservatives, and salt. Food in America is way over-processed; so many other countries have strict limits on what can constitute “food” (or a population who simply won’t purchase it.) It is telling that the American population segments with the worst obesity problems are not those who can routinely afford the nice meals out and the nice foods, but those who eat fast food or cheap processed foods more often – because they are less expensive. Even fast food is different around the globe – and we have grown much less drawn to it as the trip winds closer to an end.
As an experiment, we decided to look up some sample meals we used to eat back home – before we left. Please keep in mind that a normal person’s DAILY caloric intake is between 1500-2000 calories (1200-1500 for someone losing weight), and then get a load of the table below. I knew a lot of it was bad for you (cheeseburger meal = bad, duh), but some of it was shocking. Over 600 calories for one bean burrito? Seriously? I don’t want to become a crazy calorie counter, and I love the gentle, almost accidental, way we’ve slimmed down over the course of the trip – but I know from experience it isn’t so easy in America, so we need to be prepared if we don’t want to gain every pound back.