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Weight loss/gain whilst travelling

  • luce_uk

    Joined Travelfish
    23rd January, 2009
    Posts: 19

    Hello to all i just am interested in creating a topic where travellers can share there experiences regarding weight gain or loss whist travelling. I have always over indulged whilst in SEA but probs because i have only been on hols rather than proper backpacking....personally i hope that seeing as i will be lugging a backpack around almost every day, swimming, cycling, walking and trekking etc i hope that my body stays really trim but on the other hand, as backpackers in SEA we will be eating a very different diet e.g lots of fried foods, over indulgences, treats etc, it really could go either way!

    Thank you for comments

    #1 Posted: 16/1/2010 - 11:30

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  • Thaiman

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    Joined Travelfish
    12th November, 2008
    Posts: 201

    I find that I neither gain nor lose weight when I'm in Asia.I put it down to the fact,that although I eat more than I normally would,I still get a regular amount of exercise.Never eat junk food,Mcdonalds,Pizza Hut etc. and eat only local food which is always with rice or noodles.Don't think either of these is particularly fattening.

    #2 Posted: 17/1/2010 - 14:55

  • somtam2000

    Click here to learn more about somtam2000
    Joined Travelfish
    21st January, 2004
    Location Indonesia
    Posts: 7371
    Total reviews: 24
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    At least 113

    For me it varies from trip to trip. The most I ever lost was 25kg during three months of travel in India, but I'd say in general for a month long trip in SE Asia, without any bad illness I'd expect to lose 4-5 kg. Mostly because I tend to snack through the day and evening rather than have staple heavy meals like I do at home. Also, as you point out, am on the go all the time -- which as far as I'm concerned, counts as exercise!

    #3 Posted: 18/1/2010 - 08:00


    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6955
    Total reviews: 10

    I lost three kilos when I moved here. That weight has stayed off - so my natural weight in SEA (probably due to both climate and diet) it three kilos less than if I were in Europe.

    #4 Posted: 19/1/2010 - 15:21

  • christay2009

    Joined Travelfish
    8th February, 2009
    Location United Kingdom
    Posts: 414
    Total reviews: 4

    i lost 11kg in first 2 months in SE Asia with one heavy does of food poisoning (but that was in the first week).

    i didn't feel like i was eating much less, i'd usually get around 5 meals/snacks in a day but i think the lack of things like bread,cheese,oats and other grains probably had the most impact.

    Also, few countries in Asia eat meat like we do in the West, eg.huge slabs of it. Of course you can get slabs of meat if you want, whole chickens etc, on BBQs but if you go a cheap bowl of noodles - not much meat - or even a stir-fry type dish - generally not much meat. At least not compared to the west. I think, when in China, i had noodles 3 times a day for about a week. I didn't set out too, it just turned out like that...probably doesn't help that my choices are usually governed by price!

    #5 Posted: 19/1/2010 - 20:37

  • cdnexplorer

    Joined Travelfish
    19th August, 2009
    Posts: 28

    I lost roughly 5-6 kg in a single month when I last visited SEA. I think most people will notice a similar loss in weight, depending on how much water weight you bring with you (you sweat it out fairly quickly). Also will depend on how much beer/liquor you consume whilst travelling...

    #6 Posted: 19/1/2010 - 23:47

  • riverspot

    Joined Travelfish
    3rd January, 2008
    Posts: 25
    Total reviews: 2

    I'm the only one I Know who gains weight travelling in India. Five times there and each time the same - must be the great food!

    #7 Posted: 20/1/2010 - 02:44

  • jay66fr

    Joined Travelfish
    2nd July, 2009
    Posts: 12

    I lost about 4 kg in a month last summer in SE Asia due to the heat (I tend to be less hungry when it's hot), the healthier diet in Asia (less fat) and exercise (walking a lot).

    I've already put on 3 kg since I got back home. I live in Northern France (which means rich diet with plenty of sauces, chips and so on) where I rarely walk (car commutes) and have an office job (hence little exercise).

    #8 Posted: 20/1/2010 - 03:32

  • shaydan_01

    Joined Travelfish
    16th November, 2009
    Location Australia
    Posts: 80

    My partner and I actually gained a few kg's over two months in Thailand. At home I rarely eat white bread/pasta/rice and have a fairly low carb diet where as in Asia it was white rice and noodles for nearly every meal, plus lots of fried stuff. Plus we drank beer nearly every day which we dont do at home. It really wasnt noticeable though and could probably be avoided through a little less indulgence ;)

    #9 Posted: 20/1/2010 - 10:47

  • Gorey

    Joined Travelfish
    26th March, 2007
    Location United Kingdom
    Posts: 58
    Total reviews: 3

    i tend to lose a stone/stone and a half if im away for more than a month. I sweat ridiculous amounts (despite being rather healthy) i remember when me and my dad where at the zoo in hong kong sometime ago and we sweat as much as one another, there was an big male orangutan with a big sheet of cardboard over him keeping him cool he was staring at us then after a few minutes came over and put the cardboard through the bars in our direction. He clearly thought we needed it more than him.

    #10 Posted: 21/1/2010 - 06:54

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  • JessandScott

    Joined Travelfish
    7th December, 2008
    Posts: 34

    I came back from about a month in Thailand and Cambodia a few kilos lighter... lost a fair bit walking around Bangkok, and then exploring Siem Reap and Angkor Wat (walking and biking), and sweating a lot while I was there.

    The last part of our trip (Thai islands) was much more stationary, but Thai food is generally so healthy that it 'cancelled out' all that beer I was drinking to keep cool!

    My husband, on the other hand, lost weight during the first part of the trip and then put weight on at the end - he drank a fair bit more beer than me and eat quite a lot more food!

    Flashpacker that's hilarious about the orangutan!

    #11 Posted: 21/1/2010 - 11:41

  • KazAussie

    Joined Travelfish
    18th July, 2009
    Posts: 221

    I find that the additional exercise is offset by the fantastic food and so after a month, sadly came back the same size.

    We eat a lot of Asian food at home so none of us suffered from Bali Belly or whatever the equivalent in Vietnam is...

    We ate "local", not often street food, but low budget restaurants and in the entire time (1 month, three meals a day), the only meal I didn't particularly enjoy was a seafood hot pot, which had some interesting and unidentifiable bits of seafood in it.

    #12 Posted: 22/1/2010 - 15:32

  • nzlup

    Joined Travelfish
    1st February, 2010
    Posts: 22

    Somtam : - 25kgs in 3 mths ! Man I hope u started from a good size.
    I lost 9kgs in India over 5 mths.

    Unfortunately I stayed about the same from a mth in Cambodia/ Vietnam. Put it down to lots of Carbs - Rice etc and drinking wine or beer daily which i don't do at home which offset the exercise.

    #13 Posted: 17/2/2010 - 15:35

  • Sophia_India

    Click here to learn more about Sophia_India
    Joined Travelfish
    2nd June, 2010
    Location United Kingdom
    Posts: 45

    When im in Asia i eat so much more than i would when i am back at home however being on the road all day, walking and travelling with your backpack in the hot weather really does work those calories as I usually come back slimmer. Plus i tend to eat more fresh fish/fruit etc....

    #14 Posted: 2/6/2010 - 19:12

  • Breggs

    Joined Travelfish
    23rd June, 2010
    Location Canada
    Posts: 5

    I lost 20 lbs. between mid-October and January, while rock climbing in Thailand. Even after I left Thailand and stopped climbing I didn't regain any of it. I think the constant sweating and walking to sites and general backpacking lifestyle promotes good health and weight. Between that and the fact that food there is generally more natural and healthy than in the West it seems easy to, if not lose weight, than at least be at peak health.

    Rob Breger

    #15 Posted: 23/6/2010 - 04:03

  • busylizzy

    Joined Travelfish
    31st December, 2007
    Location New Zealand
    Posts: 2155
    Total reviews: 20
    Places visited:
    At least 107

    It's all good while you are there - just wait til you return home and are deskbound once again! :-(

    #16 Posted: 23/6/2010 - 12:01

  • Nokka

    Joined Travelfish
    6th April, 2009
    Location United Kingdom
    Posts: 259

    I lost about 10lbs (4kg) in 4 months in south east asia. Its difficult, in my opinion, not to lose weight. You don't need to eat as much when its 35 degrees as you do if you live in a much cooler climate. This is especially the case if you stick to a local diet.

    Rather depressingly, there seems to be quite a lot of folk who stick to eating like they do at home and I guess they could put weight on. We were constantly surprised to see foreigners (often young backpackers, I'm afraid) eating huge plates of pizza, burgers, enormous club sandwiches and chips, full english breakfasts. Why they want that stuff when its so hot; and how they manage to digest it is beyond me. The food in SEA is healthy, generally light and easy to digest and incredibly tasty. I never once got tired of it.

    #17 Posted: 23/6/2010 - 18:14


    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6955
    Total reviews: 10

    "The food in SEA is healthy, generally light and easy to digest and incredibly tasty. I never once got tired of it."

    I would suggest that's because you don't live here. I eat it EVERY DAY, and have for years. And believe me, it gets old. I don't find it 'incredibly tasty" and they eat plenty of food here that is VERY unhealthy - particularly uncooked meats and poultry. Now, for tourists, I kind of see your point. They're not here long enough to get sick of it, and local cuisine would logically be part of the experience unless you're a sex tourist. So on that point, I don't get it either.

    #18 Posted: 30/7/2010 - 01:13

  • grado

    Joined Travelfish
    13th May, 2011
    Posts: 2

    eat fish to instead of meat, don't eat fast food, sleep early and weak up early. that's good habit to lose weight.

    #19 Posted: 15/6/2011 - 14:26

  • Voyagner

    Joined Travelfish
    12th July, 2009
    Posts: 30

    It's odd, I lost about 5kgs on my first trip which was 3 months, Indo, Thailand and Cambo. I've been back to Cambo a number of times now and I seem to gain weight there. Seems to depend who I travel with, I do a lot more walking when I go it alone.

    #20 Posted: 18/7/2011 - 12:28


    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6955
    Total reviews: 10

    "eat fish to instead of meat, don't eat fast food, sleep early and weak up early. that's good habit to lose weight."

    I would die of boredom with this diet and schedule.

    #21 Posted: 18/7/2011 - 17:29

  • travellings-

    TF writer
    Joined Travelfish
    23rd March, 2010
    Location Vietnam
    Posts: 679
    Total reviews: 11
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    At least 87

    Posted from within Vietnam.

    Ha ha! So true.

    I lost weight in China (didn't eat well and walked a lot) then steadily put weight on and now, 2 years in, am around 5kg heavier. I put this down to lack of exercise (I was a gym bunny back home) and too much beer (it's cheap). Sounds like I'm bucking the trend, damn it.

    #22 Posted: 18/7/2011 - 18:00


    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6955
    Total reviews: 10

    Sarah, start dancing and you'll get your exercise. Salsa, baby, salsa.

    #23 Posted: 18/7/2011 - 18:43

  • tezza

    Joined Travelfish
    13th April, 2006
    Posts: 1331
    Total reviews: 61

    I normally lose weight when travelling with all the walking, swimming etc I do.

    But I just finished a short (8 day) cruise on the P&O Princess to New Caledonia - those unreal buffets played havoc (I'm a good man on the fang) and despite running around the jogging track for a half hour before brekka and hitting the gym for an hour each day I managed to put on 5 kilos. Seeing I'm one of those dudes who normally looks like an underweight over-trained ferret, that's considerable.

    Lady Tezza's already talking about an 11 day cruise next moth. Bring it on - with the amount of extra workouts I'm doing right now I reckon I'll be back to normal by then.

    #24 Posted: 23/9/2014 - 06:01

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