Our ramen-loving, curry-craving reporter managed to drop a lot of weight while still satisfying his taste buds.

A lot of people gained weight during 2020, with the stay-home lifestyle providing less reason to move, and also putting us in far closer proximity to snacks. But back in the fall, our Japanese-language reporter Yuichiro Wasai decided to reverse the onward-and-upward trend his weight had been on during the pandemic, and put himself on a diet starting September 1.

Roughly six months later, he’s doing great. In September, he weighed 88.9 kilograms (196 pounds) and had a body fat percentage of 27.9. On his most recent progress check on March 15, those had dropped to 77.2 kilograms and 20.6 percent, decreases of 11.7 kilograms (26 pounds) and 7.3 percent!

As with any good weight-loss plan, Yuichiro’s plan has two parts: exercising more and eating healthier. Today, he’s taking a look back at the second component, but since Yuichiro is the kind of guy who prefers eating out or getting take-out over doing his own cooking, he’s put together a list of his personal recommendations for the top five diet-friendly meals/take-out items at major chain restaurants in Japan.

5. Torikizoku’s yakitori

We start off with a broad suggestion for slimming down. Torikizoku specializes in yakitori (chicken skewers), which you can order by specific cut. That means that when you’re craving meat, you can specify that you want a skewer of only breast (mune in Japanese) or the tender strip (sasami) to make sure you’re getting lean protein without unwanted fat.

4. Moko Tanmen Nakamoto’s konnyaku noodle ramen

Yuichiro describes ramen cravings as the constant nemesis of dieters, seeing as how the delicious noodle dish is high in calories but low in nutrients. When the urge gets too strong to resist, though, he recommends getting your fix at Moko Tanmen Nakamoto.

For an additional 130 yen (US$1.25), you can replace the normal ramen noodles with ones made from konnyaku, a type of potato starch gelatin that’s almost entirely water, and thus has almost no calories — just be careful not to drink too much of the oily broth. All you need to do is punch the button with こんにゃく麺変更券 on it when buying your meal ticket from the machine at the entrance to the restaurant.

3. Yoshinoya’s Rizap Gyu Salad

Produced in collaboration with Japanese personal training and meal-planning brand Rizap, this dish adapts Yoshinoya’s signature gyudon (beef bowl) into a beef salad. Cutting out the rice cuts out carbs, and they get swapped for vegetables and even a few chunks of chicken for better nutritional balance.

2. CoCo Ichibanya’s Low-Carb Curry

Yes, we realize that the curry roux and fried oysters aren’t particularly diet-friendly themselves. Hear us out, though. If you’re going to be eating curry anyway, you can make it a lower-carb indulgence with CoCo Ichi’s Low-Carb Curry, which substitutes diced cauliflower completely for the white rice.

1. Yayoi-ken’s Pearled Barley (Mochimugi-iri) Rice

Finally, one last substitution. Yayoi-ken is a chain that specializes in teishoku, traditional set meals, and that can present a special challenge to those watching their carb intake since the components of teishoku are specifically designed to go well with a big bowl of white rice. So much like with the previous entry on the list, Yuichiro says that if you’re going to get a teishoku, this alternative to plain white rice is a more nutritious choice.

Yuichiro reminds us that he hasn’t achieved the weight-loss he has so far through diet alone, as he’s also been sticking to a regular exercise regimen. Still, the five items on this list have become a big part of his eating habits in the past half-year, and have been part of comprehensive plan that’s helped him achieve the transformation seen in the time-lapse video here.

So even if he can’t eat everything he likes, he can still like just about everything he’s eating.

Photos: ©SoraNews24
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