The thought of going on any sort of diet has always made me cringe. Hearing stories of people’s only caloric intake being from maple syrup, Cheyenne pepper, or lemon water made me question their sanity, but I have always had the utmost respect for those who are able to forgo the finest delicacies just to shed a few pounds.
When I flew here three months ago, I’m proud to say that I spent so much time packing that my bags did not exceed the weight limit, but it was probably for the best that I did not get on the scale. To be honest, I definitely got my moneys worth on that ticket. Luckily, I found the answer to my problems, and it was located on the streets of Bangkok, small shops in Chiang Rai, and the cafeteria of a boarding school.
The hardest part of losing weight is finding a way to separate yourself from your daily routine and create a new and fresh environment conducive to change. Every year millions of people generate elaborate New Years Resolutions to change their life, but people continuously fail to follow these plans because of the inability to separate themselves from their routine. Luckily, I have flown over 8000 miles to a place where I have been forced to separate myself from the “known” and create the ultimate environment for change.
I am fully aware that my experience is not applicable to every person and every situation, but these different guidelines have completely revolutionized my perspective on the traditional diet. Since being here and following my “Thai-et” (Thai Diet) guidelines, I have been able to lose over 25 pounds in 90 days, and I hope that some work for you as well.
The 3-Step “Thai-et”
1. Cut Out the Middleman
While everyone can’t raise their own livestock or grow every piece of produce, it’s important to eat and live in a natural way. When going to a grocery store, imagine it being like a local market that you would find in Thailand. Basically everything at a Thai market was recently attached to the ground or had a heartbeat (actually, sometimes it still does), so you know it’s always fresh. Even in the US there are ways to purchase the freshest ingredients without breaking the bank, so forgo those pre-packaged meals and cut out that middleman.
2. Re-invent your Meals
No matter the time of day or type of food, every Thai person that I have met thus far loves to eat, but it is done in a way that doesn’t pack on the pounds. Most meals here consist of 3 main parts: rice or noodles, vegetables, and a protein (pork, chicken, or beef). Meals are simple, yet delicious and meals are eaten in smaller quantities as the day progresses. Dinner, eaten around 5 PM, is the smallest and simplest meal of the day because work is finished for the day, so excessive amounts of energy are not needed anymore. Rather than fully adopting the Thai eating patterns, start your Thai-et by remembering that your dinner does not need to be a symphony of ingredients, yet it should be the smallest, most simple meal of the day.
3. Live and Eat in Moderation
After living in Thailand for only a few weeks, I realized how much Thailand really “gets it.” Everything in Thailand is done in a way the brings out the best in life. People in Thailand do not say things like “live to eat” or “eat to live” because they just live. Every aspect of life from working to eating are cherished and seen as a gift, which is why it seems as if everyone is fully appreciative of what they have. Things are not done in a way that encourages overindulgence, yet enjoying such pleasures in moderation creates an environment that increases an individual’s ability to fully live. Being able to fully live in moderation will not only help shed pounds, but will increase a person’s appreciation for their life and those around them.
Like many others, I was tempted by the abundance of options and variety in America, and I lost. In a country where you have access to a mass quantity of diverse foods, it is easy to cave in and overindulge. Rather than giving up, I challenge you to find your environment for change and create it like I was able to.