How to Lose Weight in Thailand (Skip the Rice or Get a Tapeworm)


How to Lose Weight in Thailand… (23 lbs, 10 kg or so)

I don't know what happened over the course of a couple months but I went from 184 lbs down to the present 152.  Losing weight was something that I didn't think I'd EVER have to even think about…

A friend had taken a photo of me sitting without a shirt – pretending to meditate somewhere and when I saw that picture I realized – holy hell man, you got FAT over the last few years.  I'm 5'11" in height and at 180+ I was a bit flabby and I could pinch about 2 inches of fat in my stomach. That's the fattest I've been by far.  

During my whole life I've been playing soccer, bicycling, running, and doing triathlons and biathlons. I never had to lose weight, I was always at 170 and felt good.  At about age 35 I almost stopped exercising and focused more on stressing myself out over the computer and other work-related things.  I would still run a couple times per month, but nothing that was actually doing my body or cardiovascular system any good long-term.

So, I saw this photo and realized something should be done before I blimp up like an American or something.  Vern had to lose some weight. It seemed like I was at that critical point where the pot belly, made infamous in Pattaya suddenly started growing out of me.   

I didn't think I was eating too much – and probably that was true. I wasn't gaining much by the months, maybe 1-2 lbs.  The trick is, once you reach what you consider your ideal weight – not to gain or lose any.

My girlfriend I stay with in Thailand ate MORE than me and she clocked in at about 95 lbs.  She has a great metabolism though, one which I know millions of people would PAY big money to have.

In the morning I would have gwit diao moo  – noodle soup with vegetables and sometimes meatball type things.

In the afternoon – something with rice – gai pad king or kowl pad moo (fried rice with pork).  In the evening my friend would cook and she'd make these AWESOME big meals for just two of us… I'd have 3+ cups of rice and eat until I was so full I couldn't move but to play some badminton later.

So what I did was…

I continued to eat my same morning breakfast.

Sometimes for lunch I'd have just 2 dragonfruits and a cup of coffee.  Sometimes over the couple weeks of first starting this lunch meal I needed to eat something else around 3 pm – a couple cookies or something. I ate them if I needed it. I hate to be hungry at all.

For dinner I cut way down on what I ate. I did it gradually though. At first just 2 cups of rice… then later 1 cup… and then many times I'd have no rice at all.  

Sometimes for dinner I'd have 2 BIG corn on the cobs and I was so full I couldn't eat anything else.

Sometimes I'd have a plate of Kanoon (jackfruit). Sometimes I'd eat some dragonfruit. Sometimes I'd have just whatever my friend made, but without rice. Sometimes I'd have fried chicken (gai yang) and some fruit. Sometimes a big fish (bpla nin) – a Tilapia.

I'd not stuff myself until bursting anymore. I'd eat until I started to feel full – and then stop.  In American I don't know why we eat until we're ready to POP at every meal.  That's gotta be the reason we blow up so big over the years.

I started to drink a full glass of water WITH my meal, not saving water until the end when I was already full.  I noticed I eat much less when I do this – as water takes up a lot of the stomach and is heavy – making me THINK the stomach is quite full with food.

I started to walk and run more… I'd go walking… and usually after 10 minutes of seeing everyone passing by me that was running – I HAD to be running. I'd run until I felt tired and stop. In Thailand one need not run a couple miles continuously to get some respect. Some Thais run… walk… run….walk…  If you get too tired, just walk for a while.  There's no shame!

So I made these simple changes… and you know what?  Over a couple months I lost a hell of a lot of weight.  None of my pants fit, I can see veins in my arms, stomach, legs, and forehead that I've never seen (well, not true) before.  When I was doing triathlons and bike races there was a point that I went down to 147 lbs. I was in awesome shape…

When I smile – my smile has wrinkles.

My face is gaunt almost.

But, since I'm running all the time I know that I'm healthy – in a sense.  I might have tapeworm, or cancer or AIDS but, at least I feel good!

But I think I look like hell.  Everyone that I knew in the past has commented that I look so much worse than before. Apparently FAT is healthy in Thai eyes also. Probably means you have money to GET fat too, so they see it as a sign of status or wealth.

Now, here's the thing…

Was I doing enough to lose that much weight over these months on my own with my diet and exercise, OR, is there something else going on – like I'm dying of something and my body is cannibalizing fat and protein to fight off the disease!???

Only in the last couple weeks as EVERYONE has said I look like shite have I thought – hmm, something could be wrong here.  My complexion is good… I don't have headaches or weird pain.

I try to eat more, but, since my stomach has shrunken I really can't eat more than I do.  I am not usually hungry, but I eat 3 meals a day and always some snack. I think my total caloric intake if I don't have a large beer Singha is about 1000 calories. It's probably STILL too low to maintain weight though. I must eat another 400 calories maybe.

It's easy to do in Pattaya as there are PIZZA places and good food everywhere. Lots of beer too.  Hmmm, we'll see.

I'm still running and it feels awesome, it's easy to run again without all the extra weight.

Today I had about 4 mixed milk drinks – like chai yen, som tam with sticky rice and I ate until I was full.  I just finished ice cream. I am considering having a donut later.  I'm going to take a nap in about 2 hours.  I've gotta gain some weight today!

I wonder if something's wrong, and then again I don't.  Why care?  I've had a full life and I've always thought that life after 40 goes downhill from there. My downhill started about 35 so, anytime now will be good for me to go to the next step.

Anybody had this experience in Thailand?

Author: Vern

I’m an American expat living in Thailand. I like to write informative pieces about life in, living in Thailand, including topics like: Thai People, Thai Culture, Nightlife, Technology, and I have published a lot of photographs, videos, and even books on Thailand that you can find at ThailandeBooks.com. There are many photographs of Thailand here – feel free to share with attribution (a link back to the home page).

All written content on this site by Vern Lovic. Contact me at Google+.