How to not gain weight in Vietnam

I remember a few years ago when I always lost weight in Vietnam. Whenever I traveled there, I would automatically lose a few kilos, even if I ate a good breakfast, lunch and dinner. But in recent years, I’ve discovered – to my horror – that it’s now the opposite. I gain tons of weight! There’s a few reasons for that. You can get way more international food these days, such as pizza, pasta, etc. The Vietnamese food has also gotten more oily and there’s a lot more fried dishes, too. Gone are the days when you ate pho, a bowl of rice with some vegetables and soup. Nowadays, you can walk around in Hanoi and get food from every corner of the world. Although it’s definitely a plus (especially if you’re sick and tired of rice), it’s much easier to gain weight this way. But if you’re keen on keeping your weight, here’s how you avoid gaining weight in Vietnam.

Opt for healthy food

This one might be obvious, but try to avoid all the fried and unhealthy food. You can treat yourself, just perhaps not every single day. There’s so much delicious local food that’s healthy and you can get it everywhere. The locals love their herbs and vegetables for example and they’re experts in cooking it in a delicious way. Morning glory is one of those dishes that you must try when you’re in Vietnam.

Don’t drink alcohol every single day

Alcohol is a sure way to gain weight, especially if you’re drinking it every single day. I don’t blame you though – the beer is the cheapest in the world, so of course it’s tempting. It’s also a big party scene in Vietnam so you’ll be drawn to the bars. But alcohol contains so much sugar and if you wonder why your stomach is getting bigger, you should maybe rethink your alcohol habits.

Break a sweat

Just like at home, if you want to avoid gaining weight, you need to break a sweat. You don’t have to hit the gym everyday, but you can make sure that you’re taking long walks for example, or why not hit the swimming pool when it’s really hot. There’s a lot of gyms in the bigger cities though and most offers a one day pass too, so you could always make it a priority to go at least a few times a week. The best thing to do is to choose a hotel with a gym. Then you have no excuses!

Don’t eat too much rice

Rice is a sure way to gain weight too, but it can be difficult to avoid rice since it’s in literally every local dish. The Vietnamese loves their rice and most people eat it three times a day! That’s a lot of rice. But as a tourist who might not be used to this high intake of rice, it can cause you to be bloated and gain weight.

Don’t stress too much

It’s easy to stress when you’re traveling. Perhaps things didn’t go the way you thought they would, or a flight is cancelled, or you simply just feel like you don’t have enough time. When we stress, we tend to overeat, or at least not think about what we’re putting in our mouth. So try to relax, remember that it’s your vacation, it’s your time to unwind and all of those stressful things will get solved. Don’t start eating three snickers in a row just because you feel stressed.

Stay hydrated

Not only do you need to drink way more water in Vietnam when it’s hot, it’s also a way to make sure that you don’t eat because you think you’re hungry, but you’re actually just thirsty. Our body has a way of lying to us. We are fooled to think we’re hungry, but we’re just dehydrated. So try to stay hydrated, make sure that you always carry a bottle of water with you and drink at least 1 liter per day.

If you follow these tips, you can probably avoid gaining those extra kilos like I did last time I traveled in Vietnam. I barely came in my jeans anymore and I couldn’t understand why. That was until I remembered all those banh mi’s, big rice portions, desserts, coffees with condensed milk and beers that I chugged with my friends. On top of that, I always felt tired because of the heat and never wanted to move. Yeah, no wonder my stomach started pouting. Don’t be like me – enjoy everything that Vietnam has to offer, but do it in a responsible way.

Remember to apply for a Vietnam visa before you arrive to the country. There are three types of visas you can apply to, depending on your nationality. You can apply for either of the two online visas, E-Visa and Visa on Arrival, or you can go to the nearest Vietnamese Embassy or Consulate and apply with them.

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