South Beach Diet - South Beach while living in Japan

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10-22-2011, 03:52 AM
Hello Everyone

I'm looking to lose about 20 pounds using the South Beach Diet and Jillian Michael's fitness videos. I was focusing on just doing Jillian, had great results, hit a plateu, hit some rough times in life, regained most of it and now need to lose again!

I read the SB diet and find it makes a lot of sense to me, and know my mom had great results with it when she tried it.

Unfortunately, I don't live in the States anymore and live in Japan.
This presents some setbacks for me in terms of ingredients and what to eat.
Actually, while reading the book, I wanted to ask Dr. Agaston how he could explain the island of Japan to me- very thin people, diet based very heavily on carbs.

First of all, finding the ingredients for me is not easy. Or if they are there, they are extremely expensive. For instance, ricotta is just not available. O 300 grams of cottage cheese costs about 385 yen, for example. I'm not sure what to eat or make because I also have a very Japanese kitchen.

No oven, only one burner, no broiler needless to say. Most apartments here are equipped like that because cooking rice is done in a rice cooker anyway.

I lived with a host family here before (been here a couple years) and tried the traditional Japanese diet. I found I got seriously fat and constipated. For now, I eat lots of veggies and fish and meats, but am always hungry without carbs.

What should I do? Should I give up on this diet and do something else? Is it possible to do this diet here in the land of noodles and rice?

10-22-2011, 08:49 AM
:welcome:, Bubblepop,

I believe it's still possible for you to follow this plan, despite the roadblocks that you mentioned.

As for ricotta, it's very easy to make your own, and it tastes much better, too. You can have lean meats and seafood, and eat lots of vegetables. I'm sure yogurt is available, and you can either buy or make your own hummus. And don't forget beans. They're full of fiber and protein and a great filler.

Once you reach Phase II, you can start introducing fruit and adding in starches, such as brown and converted rice. And udon noodles are SB friendly, as they're made with buckwheat. Oh! And shirtaki noodles!

I hope these suggestions help, and good luck!

10-22-2011, 12:12 PM
I lived in Japan for 2 years (just got back) and went through exactly the same thing, especially wondering how the heck JApanese people are so skinny with all the white rice they eat (they actually will often claim that's the reason they ARE thin) and the glaring lack of vegetables (I would eat raw veggies at work and everyone told me not to because it would mess up my stomach). The biggest challenges came when I was traveling because I wouldn't have a kitchen and as you know, eating out in Japan is never that healthy.

I actually gained a bunch of weight in Japan so I'm not very helpful but when I did try to do the SBD there (and fell off it every time I traveled), here are some tips.
-be careful about udon noodles, 100% buckwheat ones are actually really hard to find
-MISO SOUP! This was my staple breakfast food and it's totally SBD-friendly. They sell low-sodium miso paste in most grocery stores.
-For eating out, one of the closest things I could find to SBD P1-friendly was yakiniku. You grill it yourself so you know what's in it :)
-Learn the kanji for wheat and sugar and check ingredients
-Learn to give up on looking for nutrition info. It's still not a big thing in Japan
-ORDER STUFF ONLINE! was my savior for things like beef and veggie broths and low-sodium options. Also for tomato paste and sauce.
-Be ok with splurging on imported food AND with a slower SBD progress. There is no such thing as whole wheat bread in Japan, nor low-fat cheese.
-When you do go out to eat, try family restaurants like Coco's. They have SALADS *and* a great cheap dish that's just chicken covered in pesto that's pretty yum :)
-Give up conbinis! The only SBD-friendly things they really offer there are nuts, hardboiled eggs, water, diet soda, and at some of them, those Hokkaido cheesestrings. I was a huge conbini junkie so giving them up was one of my biggest challenges.

Haha sorry these tips are a little bleak. I had a really rough time with SBD in Japan. If you are set on losing weight honestly I think it might be easier to switch diets than to go through all the stress and hassle of trying to stay on SBD. Good luck! :)

10-22-2011, 01:39 PM
Welcome! It looks like Chantali has some practical tips for you!

Best wishes!

10-22-2011, 02:12 PM
What about Sukiyaki ? It has meat and vegies and no rice or noodles. Of course I have only had it in the US but my stepfather spent a lot of time in Japan and really enjoyed it.

10-22-2011, 11:27 PM
Thank you for your support! It's nice to have someone who has actually lived in Japan recognize that it is just that much harder than living in America. Making my own hummus sounds good in theory, but garbanzo beans are so so so expensive here, it's just not worth it. I've seen it at special stores, but it's like 1500 yen for 200 oz. Just too difficult. I also work in a typical Japanese office, no cubicles, so it's really difficult to eat snacks in privacy. If I bring in hummus, my coworkers will complain it smells- (I've tried!)

Chantali, do you know if SOYJOY bars are allowed as a snack on the South Beach? So far, I've found the Hokkaido cheese strings everywhere and am thinking of those with a can of veg juice for one snack and a soyjoy for another.

I also was good today and did Jillian Michael's 6 week six pack!