Gaining or losing weight while traveling?

To gain or to lose weight, that’s the question…

Last week I read an article in the Amsterdam newspaper ‘Het Parool’ that nowadays 50% of the adults in Amsterdam is too thick. This means that they have a Body Mass Index (BMI) of more than 25.

BMI calculation: weight in kilograms / height in meters squared.

71 kg / (1,80m x 1,80m) = 21,9.

Erik, Bertha and Annerieke preparing for the Dam-tot-Dam-loop in Amsterdam.

According to Dutch Feed Centre you are at healthy weight when you have a BMI between 18,5 and 25. With my 21,9 I should therefore be very satisfied. To achieve this, I have been actively busy in recent years. At work I cannot resist the pastries, but I also try to act according the food pyramid; I make sure to drink daily 1,5 liters of water, take 2 pieces of fruit and in the evening I eat 200 grams of vegetables combined with mostly pure products. Besides my office job I exercise 3 times a week (running) and I do almost daily stomach muscles exercises. I like to sport, but I also know that it is necessary to not gain weight with my current lifestyle.

I try to imagine how this will be while traveling. Nowadays I enjoy running through the Vondelpark, but I don’t see myself running through the desert in Iran. Do they grow sufficiently varied fruits and vegetables in Kyrgyzstan, or do they only eat noodles and yogurt? The baklava in Turkey will not reduce my weight firmly. And meat in Uzbekistan will be the rule rather than the exception, but it is better not to eat meat in India, because then you’ll have to run…. to the bathroom.

Each country has its culture and its habits and I am completely open to these things. However I do hope to maintain a healthy weight. In 2009 I have been to South Africa for a half year and gained 15 kg. Back in the Netherlands I lost these kilos easily, but I really hope not to gain weight like this again.  15 kg in six months, would be 30 kg in one year … Would my motorbike even handle this?!


On the Internet ‘gaining or losing weight while traveling’ is a hot topic. On websites of National Geographic and Lonely Planet, it is full of replies. On the forum of overland travelers called there is even a poll created concerning this subject. Overall it can be said that men will lose weight and women will gain weight. I have no idea what causes this difference…. But it frightens me enormously!

As a precaution I take running shoes and a jump rope with me in my bag. In addition, I will try to limit alcoholic drinks to the “cozy gatherings” (which will be difficult together with Erik) and do my best to eat enough fruit and vegetables (I can hear the advice of my mother every day). But if you have tips to stay healthy while traveling, it would be great if you could share them with us!

Love to share:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *