Losing 32 pounds, 14.5 kg, between us while in Bali for less than two months…What? How’d that happen?

This was a woman on a motorbike transporting vegetation to feed animals.

“Sightings on the Beach in Bali”

This wild or stray dog was digging in the sand looking for food.

Tom gained quite a bit on the past few cruises which he never seemed to lose after even with my diligent efforts in cooking a LCHF (low carb high fat) diet which is grain, sugar, and starch free. Over time, he noticed he was gaining weight when he had trouble buttoning his pants.  I noticed it in the protrusion of his belly.

Then again, I’d gained about 12 pounds, 5.4 kg, over these past few years, especially after I discovered a few baked goods recipes that are sugar, grain, and starch free including cinnamon swirled buttery almond flour coffee cake recipe which totally appropriate for my way of eating but eventually packed on a few pounds. 

Also, prior to coming to Bali, we’d regularly been having a homemade almond flour, lemon poppy seed muffin with dinner (again befitting our dietary restrictions) that was irresistible with gobs of butter. The butter wasn’t the issue. It was the muffin.

Tom’s tuna, rice, and veggie dinner last night.  He lost weight, eating these plentiful and flavorful meals.

I noticed I was gaining weight, 1.73 meters, when I felt I noticed I was getting the much-maligned “muffin top” appropriately named from eating those muffin type foods while wearing low slung pants. I didn’t like putting on nice clothes to go out to dinner when nothing fit me. I felt like a stuffed sausage. 

I’m tall for a woman at 5’8″ (shrinking daily) although I have a somewhat smaller frame, making 12 pounds, 5.4 kg quite evident. As for Tom, he’s not naturally a “burly” type guy and at barely 6 feet tall, 1.83 meters, weight losses are also obvious both to the fitting of his clothes and good health. When he’s been on the heavier side, he’ll huff and puff hauling our heavy luggage. That can’t be good.

Had we continued on that path, none of our clothing would have fit. We both had to lay on the edge of the bed to zip our jeans. I hate that!  It’s not as if we have a closet in a guest room with larger-sized clothes for those less than lean periods.

The last month in New Zealand I tried losing weight, especially after I stepped on the travel scale to discover I was 12 pounds 5.4 kg, heavier than I’d been when we began our travels. It’s not as if I’ve been eating bread and pastries. 

Small buffalo neighbor.

As hard as I tried, I couldn’t seem to lose an ounce, while living most recently in New Zealand. Slim most of my adult life, I was worried when I’d always been able to lose a few pounds easily. I’d begun to wonder if it was time to accept advancing age as a reality that was continually going to make the scale and my waistline rise. 

Was the same true for Tom? Was the rotund belly a simple fact of advancing age? Was this our fate until we were old enough when many seniors naturally lose weight when cooking and eating become less appealing? We didn’t want that to be us if we could avoid it.

Then we arrived in Bali. No more low-carb muffins, coffee cake, and mushroom soufflé with dinner.No more low carb desserts for Tom. No more piles of sour cream which I’d been putting atop almost everything I ate as a “special treat. They don’t have sour cream, almond flour, coconut flour or the ingredients required to make any low carb desserts anywhere within a four hours drive of here. 

Fortunately, even when I incorporated these muffin-type foods into my diet I remained in control of my pain-free existence. Otherwise, I’d have immediately changed what I was eating.  No food is worth feeling pain.

My tuna and veggies dinner last night.

Continuing to feel well hardly triggered any motivation for us to change. We all like the taste and feel of “bread-like” substances in our mouths from time to time. However diligent we were in maintaining the list of acceptable foods, we simply ate too much food. 

Not unlike many others who adopt a “way of eating” over time, it’s human nature that we try to adapt it more to our liking and we start gaining back all the weight and then some. Statistically, as many as 90% of dieters regain all the weight they’d lost within three years, although stats on this are all over the place. Only we know our own reality.

For us, gaining weight is a serious issue both in health in our continuing travels and in our clothing continuing to fit. What, am I going to pop into the GAP to buy the next size up in my required extra long blue jeans? I can’t remember the last time I was in a GAP store…duh, maybe four years ago. 

Freighter passing by.

Bottom line, literally and figuratively is this…we both need to be able to continue to fit into the clothing we have on hand and for health reasons, stay within that range which is ideal for our body types. We each know where that is.

Then, we came to Bali where we were unable to purchase the above-mentioned ingredients nor was I cooking a single meal. Even on Sunday’s, the two Ketut’s day off, we ate a meal leftover for us to reheat that they’d prepared for two nights on Saturdays.

Beaches are seldom populated by bathers and sun worshipers.

Suddenly, we both started losing weight. We didn’t notice it at first. It just fell off, me more slowly than Tom but a little each week. We started stepping on the travel scale (suitable for both humans and luggage) squealing with delight over each pound lost.

In less than two months, Tom lost a full 20, 9 kg, pounds, down to his lowest weight since Belize in 2013 and I’m back to my weight of many years prior to traveling. Our clothing fits perfectly. We both tried on pants and shorts thrilled at how comfortable they’ve become once again. 

Tom’s big belly is gone, gone, gone.  My muffin top has all but disappeared when wearing those goofy low slung pants (I despise those low hip hugger type pants. What’s the deal there? Is it the ’60s again? When will women’s waist high jeans, pants, and shorts become available again which are so much more comfortable?).

Entrance to temple in the neighborhood.

How did we lose weight so easily is a result of our eating the following over the past almost two months in addition to our morning two cups of coffee with the whole cream:

1.  Huge plate of coconut oil stir-fried vegetables with Balinese spices.
2.  Protein sources cooked with butter or coconut oil, including fresh fish (usually blue tuna), grass-fed ground beef, prawn stir fry atop the above veggies, and chicken made in a variety of ways.  , we may have boiled eggs with dinner or bacon with bun-less burgers (tonight’s dinner).
3.  Coleslaw with homemade dressing.
4.  Rice for Tom on occasion. (He gave up the occasional treat of French fries/chips when they caused acid reflux which kept us both awake all night). He’s continued to lose weight while eating the rice a few times a week. 
5.  Natural cheeses for our nightly “cheese plate” as a dessert/treat after dinner.

That’s it. We eat nothing else. If we’re hungry during the day or feel a need for something, we have a bite of cheese or a hard-boiled egg. No more homemade low-carb baked goods, no more gobs of sour cream, no more nightly dessert for Tom other than his little plate of cheese.

Gone…32 pounds between us. We’re shocked and pleased to have learned an important lesson. As we age, regardless of how much exercise we get (we walk a lot and work out in the pool daily), it’s what we put in our mouths both in quality of food (we already had that under control) and in the amount of food we consume.  There’s no magic here.

Temples and Marlboro signs are everywhere.  Cigarettes are cheap in Bali at IDR $20,000, US $1.51 per pack.

It’s not about calorie counting which we don’t do and don’t believe is important or necessary. It’s not about eating low fat which decades-old myth is now being disproved by massive scientific studies worldwide.  

As for carb counting, even that’s not required when we eat only what’s on the above list. Nor, is it about eating tiny portions. We eat until we’re comfortably full and satisfied. The only reason we eat once a day, plus our cheese plate after dinner, is that we simply aren’t hungry. 

If all of us made one tiny change in our diet…never put a morsel of food in our mouths when we’re not hungry, rampant diabetes, obesity, and other diseases could be dramatically reduced making all of us more healthy.

The area near the beach where we stopped for photos.

For us, it was going back to that which we already knew and failed to do consistently over these past few years:

  • Eat food in its natural state; as healthfully grown and raised as possible.
  • Stop eating when full.  Eat only when hungry.
  • There’s no need for baked goods, treats, and sweets, even when they’re gluten-free, sugar free, grain-free, starch-free, and low carb.

There’s no guaranty Tom won’t indulge on the next round of cruises. Most likely he will. That’s his choice and there’s nothing I can or will say to change that. We each have to choose our own path. But, I’ve learned these valuable lessons after having the lovely two Ketuuts doing all the cooking.

And, if Tom gains back some of the weight, at least we’ll be back here in a few months for him to start over again. As for me, I’m not interested in going through this “clothes not fitting” scenario again. I’m staying firm on this path going forward.

May you chose a path to healthfulness that works well for you.

Photo from one year ago today, June 22, 2015:

In Trinity Beach, Australia, we noticed these White Ibis on the front lawn of a house near the fitness center. For more photos, please click here.

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