Spain is renowned for its food and the healthy Mediterranean diet of its people. Barcelona, in particular, has some of the best food available anywhere and living here means you can eat like a king. Unfortunately, despite the famous Mediterranean diet, Spain ranks 18th in Europe most obese countries according to obesity.procon.org.
Where is the bulge coming from and how to can you beat it?
Don’t worry, I’m not going to tell you to go get a personal trainer or join a crazy 6 a.m. bootcamp class. In fact,t I’m not going to dwell on exercise that much at all. According to experts at Mayoclinic.org, a healthy diet contributes to weight loss far more than exercise. So if you want to lose weight, sort out your fridge before you join that gym.
Here are a few tips on how to lose weight in Barcelona.
Ditch the rolls
Anyone living a hectic, on-the-go lifestyle in Barcelona knows that if you want to grab a quick lunch at work, options can be limited.
The next best option is usually the bakery. Filled bread rolls are widely available in Barcelona and are a staple in the diet here, but for someone on a diet, this isn’t always the best choice.
A little bit of detective work can go a long way. Find out what cafes are in the area and what they serve.
A great lunch option is a soup. According to BBC News, scientists have discovered that soup keeps the stomach feeling fuller for longer. Plus, warm soup is great in Barcelona’s chilly Winter.
Related article: We like it raw
Become a lunch box hero
Ok, ok, so soup or other healthy options might not always be readily available on your limited lunch hour. The solution? Pack your own lunch! Having a packed lunch from home is a great way to control your diet and your wallet. You can get all your lunch box essentials and Tupperware in Ikea or any of the bazaar shops you see around Barcelona. Salad in a jar is another option, here are a few recipes.
So you are a week into your diet and you already want to throw in the towel? I understand the struggle, but there is help in the form of social media. Find someone on Instagram who has a fitness/health/beauty page and follow them. Their constant uploads will give you the motivation to put down the beer and that fancy French cheese you just picked up in the supermarket.
One of the many perks of living in Barcelona is that no one bats an eye at daytime drinking. It’s completely acceptable to wash lunch down with an icy cold beer or even a bottle of wine. Unfortunately for us dieting, drinking alcohol is not recommended. Even though alcohol itself doesn’t necessarily make you fat, it can hinder weight loss. According to health.com, our body focuses on breaking down alcohol first and food second, so our metabolism has to work extra to work off the food. Thankfully, once are down to your desired weight, you can enjoy your tipple guilt free again.
Get a food log app for your phone. Why, you ask? Ahh, how quick we forget what we eat during the day, a little pastry here, a frothy cappuccino there, and before we’ve realised it we’ve clocked up 300 calories just on the way to work! Keeping a food log is essential and a real eye opener for us frequent snackers. Luckily there are many apps available to keep you on top of your calorie intake, one I recommend is My fitness pal. It’s free and it actually encourages you to reach your calorie quota for each day.
As I mentioned before, I don’t think joining a gym is always the answer to losing weight. Summoning the energy to go the gym after work is just half the battle. The other half is the fee and not to mention the muscle heads and gym bunnies you will inevitably compare yourself to.
Another perk to living in Barcelona is that the city comes alive in the evening, a perfect time to go for a brisk walk or run after work. Pick a shop or park away from your home and run there and back. Or if running isn’t your thing find a YouTube workout video to do in the comfort and privacy of your own home. Here are a few of the best fitness You Tubers.
What would life be if we couldn’t break the rules sometimes? According to Web MD, denying ourselves our favourite food while dieting actually intensifies cravings and might actually drive us to quit our diet more easily. Therefore occasionally cheating on our diet can actually improve our chances of losing weight in the long term. So pick an occasion, a party or meal out and eat and drink whatever you like.