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How to lose weight in Thailand

There is so much crap out there regarding health and wellness, and half of it is contradicting towards the other half, and most of it is obvious. The “lose weight quick” pitches trying to get you buy videos and e-books are getting old. There are no more ridiculous ads on the web than the photo-shopped pictures of something resembling Hulk (not the porn star wrestler, but the green Avenger) saying, “He did it in 8 weeks.” Meanwhile we all know what it takes to get into decent shape: a balance of eating well and exercising. I’m not here to tell you some big weight loss secret, because there are none. I’m also not here to some ingenious fitness tip; they also don’t exist. Instead I would like to focus on the easiest ways to lose the gut as it relates to being in Thailand. IF you know you’re long overdue, let this article give you the jump start you need to get moving.

1) Chill out with the rice

I know it’s easier said than done, especially in Thailand. They bombard their dishes with rice and some of those spicier dishes just aren’t going to be the same without the white stuff. But our bodies don’t process rice well; it slows things down, while the goal really is to speed things up. Some carbohydrates are better than others, so if you have to have a filling of rice here and there, at least get some kind of multigrain rice. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t enjoy noodles or rice when they’re hungry, but we can’t just indulge in everything that tastes or feels good each and every day, can we? Eliminating 80% of the simple carbohydrates (like white rice or basic noodles), you eat will go a long way in a hurry towards slimming the gut. Concentrate on eating: chicken, pork, fish, and beef with sides of vegetables. Mild on the sauce, but seasoning isn’t really a problem.

2) Only drink water and juice
Cutting out all soda and crap sugar drinks is right up there with cutting carbs in terms of making a large impact on slimming you down. If something is a crazy blue, yellow, or orange color your body wants no part of it. Those bottled soft drinks at 7-11 are just liquid candy. Juice is fine, but you’re better off squeezing your own which is easy enough to accomplish in Thailand. Most importantly, drink mostly water; that is obviously what keeps things moving along in your body the best.

3) Exercise your legs
This isn’t to say only exercise your legs; you should do a full body exercise routine a couple of times per week. But we all know the type of guy who only works his glamour muscles out (biceps and chest) while he neglects his chicken legs; and that’s foolish. Exercising your legs does more to keep your gut in check than exercising any other part of your body including your stomach! Studies have shown that leg exercises blow stomach crunches out of the water and the reason is because of the impact they have on your metabolism. Your legs have large muscles from top to bottom, so when you work them out those muscles swell and demand that your body send nutrients and water down to them to reduce the swelling. Your body works hard to move everything quickly down to those large muscle groups and this whole process super charges your metabolism which goes a long way with eliminating the gut.

4) Do cardio two times per week

If you don’t do any cardio it shouldn’t come as a surprise to you that you need to do something to get your heart rate up and to break a sweat. But if you ‘re the type who runs on the treadmill 6 times per week, you might find it a bit surprising that you’re probably doing too much cardio. Redundancy in your cardio routines doesn’t do a lot for you and neither does overtaxing your body. You see chunky girls who run on the treadmill every day of their lives and they never get skinny. They get really good at running at the expense of their knees and ankles, but they don’t get a nice figure. Cardio is just part of the puzzle, so do it 2 or 3 times per week until you break a really nice sweat and get the heart rate up. Be sure to stretch before and after to decrease risk of injury and to promote faster recovery, and that goes for weight lifting too, although with weight lifting you also want to stretch while you’re working out). If you’ve seen videos like P90X or Insanity, stay away! These routines overload you with massive cardio which does make you lose weight, but you destroy your body in the process and you gain all of the weight back shortly after you’re through with the routine.

5) Eat fruit when you feel snacky

Potato chips and candy are a killer; but most people have cravings for both. While it might be difficult to cut out 100% of the crap out of your diet, try to cut 80% of it out and when you have intense cravings substitute the crap with fruit. Fruit is sweet, tasty as hell and there’s no cooking involved. Some people say that fruit won’t help you lose weight since it does have a lot of sugar and carbs. But we’re not getting fit for a photo shoot guys. We need to find a diet that can work long term; something you can actually stick to. And fruit is clearly much better for your body to process than candy or chips.

Always remember; there are no short cuts to your long term health. If you’re healthy you’ll look good and that’s the bottom line. Pills, steroids, and fad diets will work short term while they mess up your body in a variety of ways long term. Creating a plausible system for your diet and exercise with achievable goals and minimal risk of injury is where it’s at!

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About ParadiseCity

M. Schwartz is an expert in all things Thailand. Having seen and done it all, there is nobody more equipped to teach about a successful ex-pat transition to Thailand. He wrote the cult classic guide book for men in Thailand called, How to Get the Most Bang for Your Buck in Thailand

12 Responses to How to lose weight in Thailand

  1. Cooper October 23, 2012 at 6:07 am #

    As a personal trainer living in Thailand I agree with the most of it, but:

    1. Eliminate white rice means, you can not eat in a restaurant anymore! White rice is simple carb, but much better than french fries. Try to find brown rice! Forget pork or just eat it sometimes!
    2. Drink water! Juices are full of sugar, unless they are fresh.
    3.,4. Whatever, but exercise! Start with 2×20 minutes per week and try to make 3-4×40-60 minutes – depends your body shape and fitness level.
    5. Snack fruit and cut 100% of crap food! Especially in the evening.

    • ParadiseCity October 23, 2012 at 9:13 am #

      yes, you’ll see i said “better off squeezing your own” for juice.

      white rice is crap, but i still said 80/20 with it as it’s not really possible to eliminate.

      but i agree with your comments

  2. Farang ngong nguay October 23, 2012 at 7:48 am #

    Good post.

    I agree with cutting down on the carbs. It’s amazing how fast you can shed weight on a paleo diet although I personally can’t stick to it completely as I found that my energy levels were too low. I do tend to order dishes without rice at my favorite restaurant (The Swan (Burmese Food)).

    Drinking water is probably one of the most important things for me. I noticed that if I get dehydrated, my body will retain water and I will look/feel bloated. I drink at least 3-4 liters a day. I do drink some juice but not that much. I was always told by trainers at the gym to just drink water and eat fruit.

    One of the primary reasons I moved to Thailand was to get healthy. In the last 1 1/2 years I have lost 10 kilos and have about 5 more to go. I just need to give up the Haribo gummy snacks!

    Time for an apple!

  3. Danny October 23, 2012 at 9:22 am #

    I agree with almost everything here, save one.

    Drink water, drink carbonated water, drink mineral water.
    Avoid juice. Fruit is great but juice is extremely high cal.

    One great quote from, “The 4 hour body”, “Don’t drink calories.”

    • ParadiseCity October 24, 2012 at 4:39 pm #

      The 4 hour body should be taken with a grain of salt. Drinking water is the bee’s knees, I certainly won’t argue with that. But we all crave for something else some of the time. There is absolutely nothing wrong with drinking fresh squeezed juice; and I think a glass of fresh squeezed every morning will help most people to avoid the nasty cravings that cause a cheat in a moment of weakness, like a Coke or a Gatorade.

  4. The Mule October 24, 2012 at 2:48 am #

    Do you even lift?

    • ParadiseCity October 24, 2012 at 4:34 pm #

      Of course, I love how you say, “do you even,” already getting presumptive. jeez, i love the internet’s negativity!!! The title of the article is “how to lose the gut,” not “ideal exercise regiment.” DID YOU EVEN GRADUATE HIGH SCHOOL? See what I did there? I questioned your reading comprehension skills while showing you how ridiculous your comment was all in one shot.

      • The Mule October 25, 2012 at 3:40 am #

        Lol u mad brah?

        • whooyeah November 15, 2012 at 5:11 am #

          I believe that equates to “No, I did not finish high school”.

  5. Tim Case October 25, 2012 at 10:16 am #

    If you want to really lose the gut, then this is how:

    1) Take your body fat measurement at regular intervals so you can see what effect the changes you are making to your lifestyle are having on your gut. Regular measurement will give you insight into your progress or lack thereof, and keep you mindful of what you are doing. For measurement weight scales can be used but they are inferior to body fat percentage.

    2) It’s all about calories. Don’t demonize foods. Forget about carbs, forget about Paleo, forget about slow carb or insulin spiking forget about prescribed diets because they all lead to the same destination which is weight loss through calorie reduction. You can lose weight eating white rice, or drinking juices, hell you can lose weight eating twinkies

    You need to find a diet that allows you to comfortably reduce your calories. Reducing calories means knowing what your daily maintenance count is and then reducing that by some percentage. Every person has food preferences and everyone is different, some people love sweets, some people love proteins and some people like carbs, play to your strengths. Find a diet that works to your preferences and still reduces calories. No matter what your preferences given enough time reducing calories inevitably you will probably end up at a diet that is probably a 30/30/40 of Carbs/Fat/Protein. The reason for this is that reducing calories will force you to make certain choices no matter what your preference and those choices will be constrained by your need to reduce calories. Like sweets? Okay eat fruits, but balance it out. Like proteins, okay eat meats but balance it out. Like carbs? Okay eat white rice but balance it out.

    3) Exercise is necessary but not the driving component of weight loss if you are at 15% body fat or above. You need exercise because aside from losing weight you also want a strong body because it looks good, and you will gain huge psychological benefits but seeing that your body recompose itself while you lose weight. Weight training is more important for body composition than cardio so if you like to do 40 mins on the treadmill then trade it for at least 25 mins of weight lifting and do less or no cardio in the beginning. Later reintroduce cardio but aim towards short High Intensity Interval Training rather than long steady state cardio (unless you want to look like a muscle-less kenyan marathon runner). Remember though diet is more important than exercise.

    4. Booze will set you back.

    5. This should really be number 1 but you should take stock on how much willpower you have and understand that it’s a muscle of a different sort. If you are a person with low willpower then you want to go for more gradual diets that allow you to get small and easy wins. If you are very overweight it’s not actually that hard to do this and you can see changes in a couple of weeks. Don’t try to go hardcore at first and know that as time goes on and you get smaller wins consistently you will naturally increase the amount of directed willpower you can enact.

    6. Have sex in a room with the lights on and a mirror so you can see what you really look like.

    • The Mule October 25, 2012 at 1:16 pm #

      Macros – check
      Caloric deficit – check
      HIIT – check
      Broscience – not even once

      Gjdm thanks for making them aware

  6. Grant October 26, 2012 at 9:05 pm #

    Thanks for the tips, at 6’3″ and 103kg,most of it over the tool shed, I’m wanting to address this issue. My problem, I think, is very little exercise, irregular eating pattern, 4 scooners a night and not enough boom boom.
    I’m thinking of buying a pushy and doing a 1 hour ride in the morning and evening as well as taking on board the above tips. Get off the piss for a bit.

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