We weighed-in prior to leaving home for four days in New Orleans and then on to Ecuador for 30 days. William lost 8 1/2 lbs and I lost 1 1/2. As you can tell from the blog, we were not dieting. We ate well and our beer and wine consumption went up during the five weeks.
We've identified four potential contributors in our Ecuador lifestyle. 1) Real food. There isn't as much commercial food processing in Ecuador. The Mercado's are brimming with fresh fruit and vegetables. When we eat out (which we did every day) most likely the restaurant bought most of their ingredients fresh within the past 4-24 hours and then prepped them themselves. They are not pulling the ingredients from large containers prepared and preserved by Sysco days ago. 2) Cuenca is 8,300 feet in elevation and just breathing seems to require more energy (at least in the first week). 3) We walked to almost everything, usually logging 8,000 to 10,000 steps a day - not in one sprint like on a treadmill, but spread throughout the day. A huge delta from our sedentary "drive to everything" suburban US lifestyle. 4) Timing. Similar to our experiences in Spain, Portugal and Italy we ate our major meal in the early afternoon- usually starting around 1:30 pm. Most evenings we had a light snack or we split a meal.
We also found it easier to complete walks and climb the 88 stairs into El Centro after we built up stamina the first week of so.
Now the challenge - how to make it past Thanksgiving and then emulate / adapt some of our Cuenca lifestyle to suburbia.