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Losing Weight in Cuenca, Ecuador

by | Feb 15, 2022 | Ecuador | 1 comment

It may seem like a strange topic, but it is one that comes up often for those of us who live at an 8,500-foot elevation here in Cuenca, Ecuador. This is a rough estimate, but I would say at least a third of us lose anywhere from 20 to 40 pounds during our first year here. And that is with no effort in terms of going on a diet. How about losing weight for free!

It happened to me. I am over 40 pounds lighter than when I moved here a little over a year ago. I am at a very comfortable weight now and hoping the trend has ended. You see, there is no control over it. I eat as much of whatever I want. A bit bizarre, really.

Other expats had warned me it might happen. Some even suggested bringing some smaller-sized clothes. I wish I had listened to them.

Less processed foods

When the phenomenon started, I attributed it to more walking and less eating processed foods as they are not so readily available here.

It's the altitude keller bark
It’s the altitude by Keller Bark

But I was losing so much weight so fast it just seemed odd, as I am in good health. There had to be more to it. So, Google fanatic that I am, I started doing a little research online.

Come to find out that living at high altitudes can affect virtually every organ in the body. Research showed that people who were taken from sea level to high altitudes lost on average 10 pounds in a month’s time without changing their lifestyle or eating habits.

However, it does not seem to happen to everyone who moves here. The jury is still out on this one.

Now, there are some ramifications that accompany quick and easy weight loss. My clothes started to hang and almost literally fall off. The Ecuadorian person is usually small in stature, so finding clothes to fit a North American is a real challenge. Good luck if you are a male over 5’10” or a female over 5’5”. And the tariffs on shipping from Amazon can be very high.

A Fitting Dilemma – Losing Weight

Solutions? Well, there are some excellent tailors in Cuenca who can alter your clothes and the prices are very reasonable.

It may happen...weight for it Jennifer Burk
It may happen…weight for it by Jennifer Burk

I tried to wait a while to see how much weight I would lose but still have had some pieces taken in twice now.

Also, I hear that many of the men are having new shirts and clothes made by the tailors for good prices. There are fabric shops here to buy the fabric needed. Undergarments can be a bit of a challenge. A suggestion would be to pack some extra in smaller sizes, just in case.

These are things we just never think about when we are in the States. Everything is so readily available to us and in such large quantities. This just isn’t so when you move abroad (unless you are moving to Hong Kong).

The average sizes for women range from size 1 to 7. Better quality brand-name clothing can be found at some major shopping malls, but the prices are high. Many expats ask friends or relatives to “mule in” some things if they are coming from the States.

Now, the flip side of this is that it is the first time in my life I have been able to eat whatever I want, whenever I want, and still lose weight. And the vast selection of delicious fruits and vegetables here tempts me constantly. All just part of our new life’s adventures.

Want to take some weight off your chest? Please leave us your comments and as always… Bienvenidos!

by: Cathy McKay

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