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What does my weight when I lived in Hong Kong 8 years ago tell me about my diet now?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created February 20, 2012 at 8:54 PM

I finished my sophomore year of college at 255lbs, heaviest I've ever been. For context, I'm 6'2. Did Atkins, got down to 177. Studied abroad second semester of junior year in Hong Kong. Went from eating moderate carb to much higher carb. It surprised me I didn't gain any weight going from pretty low carb (I wasn't ZC on Atkins and drank a lot of beer that first semester junior year without gaining) to rice at every meal etc. In retrospect though, I ate terribly there: McDonald's 3-4 times a week; Coke at every meal; daily ice cream; Skittles; etc.

What I've been thinking on is the reason I didn't balloon back up while eating all that crap. I wasn't particularly active, I didn't work out or anything. I mostly hung out in tea shops and karaoke bars and still, after seven months weighed under 180. This was before I started my 7 year gain up to about 225. The only major life difference I can come up with is back then I smoked about a pack a day and quit after I got back for three years, started again for a couple years and then quit again two years ago.

I started paleo a few months ago and am down around 198ish and have plateaued there. While I know the answer isn't McDonald's and Skittles, I'm curious if there is anything I can glean from my time in HK to help me identify whether I might be better off adding in some rice or trying to eat more of an Asian diet to the extent possible.

I understand it's possible the answer might be nothing, and that I just have to figure out what works now as opposed to what worked then, but I'm curious if you all have any thoughts. As always, thanks for your time.

3864f9a2af09b1b447c7963058650a34

(3703)

on February 21, 2012
at 11:12 AM

Haaaaaaa ah!! I concur...

3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52

(18635)

on February 21, 2012
at 12:06 AM

Lowden Swayne: "could billions of Chinese be wrong?" Teacher: "freuqently." Not a carb debate :).....Just reminded me of a quote from one of my favorite movies. Can anyone name that tune?

5e5ff249c9161b8cd96d7eff6043bc3a

(4713)

on February 20, 2012
at 10:33 PM

We may have just uncovered the real secret behind health in the far east. Behold.

5e5ff249c9161b8cd96d7eff6043bc3a

(4713)

on February 20, 2012
at 09:22 PM

I'm not, but it's a factor. I'm comfortable with my vanity.

5e5ff249c9161b8cd96d7eff6043bc3a

(4713)

on February 20, 2012
at 09:21 PM

Probably true, I did do a fair amount of walking around, but would that alone account for it?

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8 Answers

7
32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on February 20, 2012
at 09:21 PM

Don't underestimate increased low-intensity activities, like walking.

I did study abroad a few years ago in the land of waffles, fries and beer. I ate these foods daily or multiple times per day. I lost 15% of my body weight (20 pounds) in 4 months. But it was a 20-30 minute walk across town to class. 30 minutes to walk to the square with all the best pubs. I walked 2-3 hours per day. Then on weekends I'd travel to another city and then walk 8-10 hours over the course of a day. It all adds up.

6
A727956fa3f943057c4edb08ad9e864e

on February 20, 2012
at 11:18 PM

It was definitely the walking, when I was in Paris I ate an incredibly rich diet, lots of really high quality fat and carbs in delicious high-reward combinations. I lost a couple of pounds without trying. When I traced my movements back I was covering at least 10 miles a day.

Walking is hugely under-rated in paleo in my opinion, after all our ancestors used it as their main form of transport for eons.

All the thinnest times in my life have co-incided with times where I had to walk everywhere.

City and country obesity rate differences are testament to this.

6
3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52

(18635)

on February 20, 2012
at 10:22 PM

Two words....karaoke bar! That is all you are missing. Add that piece back to the puzzle and watch all your dreams come true.

5e5ff249c9161b8cd96d7eff6043bc3a

(4713)

on February 20, 2012
at 10:33 PM

We may have just uncovered the real secret behind health in the far east. Behold.

3864f9a2af09b1b447c7963058650a34

(3703)

on February 21, 2012
at 11:12 AM

Haaaaaaa ah!! I concur...

3
Af3e3615beba642bcafd0f21d64d74f7

on February 20, 2012
at 11:22 PM

When you are younger, your body and metabolism are fighting a continuous battle. Admittedly or not, as we age it begins to lose. Some sooner than others. Once your anabolic/catbolic state is leaning more one way than the other, the war is over, and weight or other issues storm the beach. Skinny doesn't always equate to healthy. Either way, you have to rebound metabloic processes and bring the troops home so to speak. Initiate a bodily draft, that counter attacks and rebuilds. The key is to keep tweaking, and fighting, plateau or not, win.

3
6d57250f3019c307d1467ebeb018783f

on February 20, 2012
at 09:19 PM

I lived there for a few years. You likely walked a lot more than you realize. That can account for counteracting your high sugar/high carb diet.

5e5ff249c9161b8cd96d7eff6043bc3a

(4713)

on February 20, 2012
at 09:21 PM

Probably true, I did do a fair amount of walking around, but would that alone account for it?

2
Medium avatar

on February 20, 2012
at 10:30 PM

Smoking is a potent appetite suppressant, so that may have played a part as well.

Also, billions of people eat rice with every meal and do not get fat.

3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52

(18635)

on February 21, 2012
at 12:06 AM

Lowden Swayne: "could billions of Chinese be wrong?" Teacher: "freuqently." Not a carb debate :).....Just reminded me of a quote from one of my favorite movies. Can anyone name that tune?

1
1dcfcebc5f36408d121f124a78292d42

on February 20, 2012
at 11:16 PM

When I lived in Peru, I was the skinniest I've ever been. The altitude completely killed my appetite, I got a parasite, and I ate a vegan diet. It was also probably the most miserable I've ever been physically/emotionally. Thin definitely doesn't equal healthy.

0
A45af235ed4dd0b4f548c59e91b75763

(1936)

on February 20, 2012
at 09:19 PM

Did you walk more? People tend to walk more in a city (ironically).

Also, don't let your weight be the sole motivator for food choices.

5e5ff249c9161b8cd96d7eff6043bc3a

(4713)

on February 20, 2012
at 09:22 PM

I'm not, but it's a factor. I'm comfortable with my vanity.

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