Saturday, March 10, 2012

Dieting On the Road ... and in the Most Tempting Place in the World

A while back, I posted details on how I lost 50 pounds over about and 18 month period (see:  Here is an update on where I am with my weight management efforts ...

Local fruits for sale in Kundasang, a town on the middle slopes of Mount Kinabalu.
I am eating some, but should eat a lot more, of the local fruit here!
In my last blog on this (updated July 2011), I was trying to stabilize my weight in the upper 150s.  I did that very successfully using the technique that I described previously (weighing myself daily, counting calories closely at home, and exercising regularly).  In September I then tried to stabalize at 155, which worked, then at 154, which I did very successfully.

In fact, I felt that I could have gone even stabilized at a lower weight. (By stabalize, I mean I would range +1 or -1 pound around that goal weight on a daily basis.)  However, by the time I reached 154 (and occasionally below), I did not feel that I was very healthy.  I felt a bit "anorexic" -- that is, too thin for my bone structure.

So after a week or two at 154, I decided to increase my daily calorie goal in Fat Secret ( to bring my stabilized weight to 156. And that is where I had been from August through December 2011 -- and I felt great!

Now I am Kota Kinabala, Sabah, Malaysia (on the island of Borneo) as part of a 6 month Fulbright grant in Malaysia. I have a great weakness for Malaysian food, which is my favorite in the world with its mix of spicy cultural influences. (see  I also have a sweet tooth for ice cream (durian ice cream is really good) and ice deserts (ice kacang/ABC/halo halo/cendol).

Kota Kinabalu means "Kinabalu City" in Malay and is named for Mt. Kinabalu, one of the tallest mountains in Southeast Asia.  The fruit and rice photos were taken near the middle clouds in this photo.
I have no idea how much I weigh, but I do feel that I have gained weight, especially before we got our own apartment and were living in hotels.  My weight also feels like it goes up whenever I am on the road to other places, which is quite often.

Salt seems to be the biggest culprit (water retention), followed by refined flowers (white rice, noodles and baked goods) and sugar (calorie bombs).  Hotel breakfast buffets are a huge weakness, especially at the more expensive hotels, which I occasionally get to stay at.

At home, I eat brown, red and black rice, oatmeal and plain yogurt, unsweetened soy milk (when I can find it), a lot of vegetables (the diversity here is great!) and very little meat.  I have started to estimate my foods and enter them on Fat Secret's website.  We also have a weight room at our apartment complex to get some aerobic exercise at least a couple times a week.  All of this helps a lot, and I can feel the pounds slide off when I do this.

Black, red and brown rice, grown in the highlands around Mount Kinabalu.
These 1kg bags sell for 10 Malaysian Ringgit (about US$3.00) each.

However, we love eating the local food, and do so whenever we are out for whatever reason.  We are trying to balance low calorie eating at home and more diverse Malaysian foods when we are out.  So far, my new clothes all still fit (mostly), so I think I am OK.

One of these days I will come across a scale and can see just how much weight I have gained as a result of all this.   I will post an update here when I find that scale!  :-)

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