In July 2010 I hopped onto Asiana Airlines in Chicago, and flew across the ocean to Seoul. I was so naive about what this place would hit me with. Even thought I had been skinny in High School, the college freshman 15 had expanded, and two years out of college I was carrying 70 more pounds that I had gone in with.
I tried of and on to eat healthy. But, looking back, I didn’t know how. I tried to eat low fat products, and exercise a little; I bought a gym membership and went twice a week–once a week–one a month–never. All the time, slowly, chronically, I was gaining more weight, and loosing more confidence.
But going to Korea changed my life. It wasn’t Korea specifically I guess. The country itself was just a catalyst, but perhaps it was the best catalyst.
When I went to Korea, I was faced with many decisions, and many wake up calls. Two things were very obvious right away, and impossible to ignore.
1. I was the fattest person I saw on most days. On most days, I wouldn’t see anyone even half my size.
2. My clothes did work. Apart from my suit and tie that I wore to work, my American uniform of jeans, shorts, and a over-sized T-Shirt or hoodie put my in a place as an obvious outsider, perhaps even a bum.
What I found out quickly, with all of its cons as well as its pros, that Koreans simply cared more about their looks than I did. Than my friends did. Perhaps, than my whole town did.
All this is had an effect on me. Picture a 400-pound person ordering 3 combo meals at McDonalds and stuffing their face. Picture a bum on the street begging for change in one hand, while taking shots from a bottle of whiskey from the other. That is how I felt when I thought of walking into McDonalds and ordering a hamburger, or buying an ice-cream cone, of drinking a soda. That’s how I felt the eyes on me. That’s what allowed me to change.
What is surprising about my change is that I didn’t try. I didn’t ever make a mental effort to go on a diet, or to loose weight. But, it happened naturally.
For me it was necessity. I ate what I could eat. There was one hamburger place in my neighborhood, but it was $12 for a small burger, and the Korean food places were $4-$8 for an entire meal. It was just economical, and available.
But, in it’s wake I started loosing weight. Fast.
Here is a little history of my weight.
This is me, 2004, senior year in High School.
This is me, Summer of 2010, before heading of to Korea.
That is 6 years of disaster.
But, here’s the reverse side. This is my journey in Korea.
July 2010-The Start-About 250 lbs
October 2011-Around 190 lbs
Since then, after returning to the United States, as of April 2012, I’ve lost about 5-10 pounds by continuing to eat that way.
I’m sure I don’t even need to tell you about confidence levels, and happiness levels that are related to weight loss. Even though I still have a bit of a stomach, and I want to loose a little more, I like the way I look, and it’s really the first time in my life that I think like that.
Is this a diet? No. This is not. A diet is a deprivation of foods you enjoy in order to loose weight. If you eat foods you don’t like, it won’t stick period. This is more like…changing the foods you enjoy, and eating them every day.
It there an exercise component. For me there was. I will talk about that later, but I will tell you that I never once worked out or went to the gym, it was about my lifestyle.
What about alcohol? Although I don’t drink much these days, to be honest, Koreans like to drink, and they drink often. I was drinking borderline unhealthy amounts when I was loosing weight fast. Not that I don’t drink as much, I as still loosing weight, even though I as eating a little more fatty food since moving back to America.
So where do you start?
Well. I think first we need to get our minds around the concept first, and then begin eating after.
I’m just a guy. I’m not a chef, or a dietitian, or anything. But, I enjoy cooking and I enjoy eating, and I lost a lot of weight, and, most importantly, I’m happy. I want to share that happiness with you.
The first few posts will be about the concept of eating a Korea cuisine.
After that I will start posting recipes for the basics.
Then, finally, I will begin posting recipes for entrees and special foods.
There will not be ordinary recipes, in Korea recipe sites have big pictures showing you the details of each and every step, so there is no confusion. It’s easy. It’s fun. And I’m going to be reading those sites, making the food myself, and then showing you my pictures as I make it.
Are you ready? I guarantee you in to a tasty, addictive, happy, healthy lifestyle.
UPDATE April 2014: Dang it! Oh America…the beautiful…you’ve done it again. And it isn’t beautiful. In the Since arriving back in this great land of plenty 2.5 years ago, I’ve been eating…well…shit. And it shows. On my face, on my legs, and mostly…on my stomach. I’ve gained back 25 pounds of what I lost. Not back to where I started, but not going well. So, I’ve decided to blog more…and eat right. It’s amazing what the food you put on your plate can do to your stomach. (That and the lack of exercise in comparison to daily life in Korea). Okay gut..you have to go now! Sorry.