Monday, November 8, 2010

Seven. Seventyseven.

Seven years in Japan this month. And 77 kilos. Which is right at the upper end of normal weight for somebody my height. And it's 14 kilos less than I weighed when I first came here. I've lost 2 kilos per year since I came to Japan; faster the first couple of years but I'm still losing about 1-1.5 kilos per year. Without any kind of dieting or restrictions; without, in fact, thinking of my weight at all.


The latest picture of myself. We ran into this discarded couch in Kobe a few weeks ago, and Ritsuko took this with my Pentax 67. This scene would make a pretty good band promotion picture I think.

Why have I lost weight? I eat balanced meals - meat and fish and fatty fried stuff, but mostly vegetables, pickles and fruit. It's easier and cheaper to eat local food so I no longer eat pizza, sandwiches or kebabs, and we usually make Japanese food at home. I normally eat set meals, at set times, with no snacks in between. My photography hobby and my daily commute have me walking 10k steps or more every day.

Salmon Dinner

A typical weekday set meal for us - salmon, miso soup, a couple of vegetable side dishes and rice. The "set" bit is important, I suspect; we all tend to eat not until we're full but until we have no food left. There's more rice and stuff in the kitchen if I want it, but I rarely take more since it's not right in front of me. Had the extra food been on the table I would probably finish it all.

I was able to break with a lot of old habits and set up new ones because I moved. It's much easier to break old habits when your life is changing, and moving to a different continent where you know nobody and don't speak the language would probably qualify as change. I was able to quit Swedish chewing tobacco ("snus") - a highly addictive form of tobacco not available in Japan - with minimal pain at the same time.

77kg is nice, but ideally I'd like to drop another couple of kilos; my ideal weight is around 75kg. At this rate I'll probably get there in another couple of years. Good enough for me.


  1. Well done - and I have to say as someone who went kilo for kilo the exact opposite direction (in a much shorter time) when I came to Japan, I am a bit envious!

  2. Plenty of people say, like you, that they gained weight when coming here, but I really don't understand how you do it. I stuff myself every day - I couldn't eat another bite - and I still slowly lose weight.

    I guess if you mostly eat pizza and burgers or snack every day it would be doable, but fast food here is really expensive and not very good. Pizza, especially, is a letdown; it costs twice or three times what it does in Sweden, and usually has some thick, spongy, gluey bread-like "crust" that puts me in mind of a greasy sandwich rather than a pizza. And real pita kebabs or kebab rolls with falafel and garlic sauce are all but nonexistent here. Good thing for me I guess ^_^

  3. I also gained after coming here from Sweden.
    My guess is that it is because of less sleep, less exercise and more stress. The life as an engineer is definitely more stressful here than back home.

  4. Hm, I also get less sleep and plenty more stress. I do get more exercise, though research shows that exercise by itself doesn't cause weight loss. I suspect differing food habits is the main cause.

  5. Actually, you are getting close to Japanese.

  6. and after reaching 75Kg you will be 60Kg at the age of 60.

  7. Yeah I guess it depends on your lifestyle before hand, as I also know plenty of people like yourself- for me just before I went to Japan I had given up on drinking much, was working out heaps (and had the time to do so) and was actually pretty fit. Combine the rebound effect of suddenly stopping, with drinking much more, going out for dinners and socializing heaps, and generally sitting on my butt at school rather than running during a sunny afternoon, then it is certainly plausible! I guess my failure is in not being to reverse this, even now that I am back at university again. Habits suck.

  8. Masa, I certainly hope not - if I ever reach 60kg it's because I suffer from a serious disease :) But 70kg at 70 is not impossible of course.

    sigma, I guess the transition is important. I came here some time after I finished my PhD, and I'd basically spent years eating junk food and Pasta Rosso (instant macaroni with grated cheese and ketchup), zero exercise and not even trying to follow any kind of regular day-night cycle.

    So yes, my weight at the time was well above normal for me at the time. I'd never weighed 92kg before in my life, and I'm unlikely to ever do so again. That rapid initial weight loss was bound to happen with any improvement in my lifestyle.

    On the other hand, I've never before been anywhere near 80kg kg as an adult either. So the improvement is real, and significant. And since I really like the way I live and eat now - I never tried to lose weight after all - I'm not likely to backtrack.


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