A healthy diet and 7-Eleven aren’t often heard in the same breath, but maybe they should be.

Thanks to his earlier lifestyle as a starving musician, our writer Seiji Nakazawa has managed to keep a very slim figure for most of his life. However, now that he’s a globetrotting ace reporter, he gets to enjoy some of the finer things in life like octopus eggs and fizzy milk. Throwing in the sedate pandemic lifestyle of the past two years, he recently became pudgier that he’s generally comfortable with.

Luckily, our staff has no shortage of guys who managed to radically change their physiques, Yuichiro, Mr. Sato, Go, and P.K. all gave him three key pieces of advice:

1. Walk 10,000 steps a day
2. Eat three times a day at regular times
3. Keep carb intake to under 50 grams per day

Although it’s a big number, walking that much wasn’t a huge upheaval to Seiji’s lifestyle. He just altered his commute to work, adding in some extra walking parts, and mission accomplished!

It didn’t even feel like exercise, and actually became a relaxing part of his day. The other two keys, however, proved to be more challenging.

Seiji was never one to stick to an eating schedule, and since he found making breakfast in the morning troublesome, he would often just have two meals a day. Even worse, his previous attempts at cutting out carbs left him in the agony of delicious-food withdrawal.

However, 7-Eleven, the very same convenience store chain that plumped him up with sugary breads and fried snacks to begin with, also sold him the tools to help him shed weight. Here they are in no particular order:

● Ganmo Bar

As we mentioned, breakfast is the biggest hurdle for Seiji, but 7-Eleven had the answer with the Ganmo Bar. This is quite simply a bar of seasoned tofu, but it was something he could pick up the night before and easily peel open after rolling out of bed in the morning.

Aside from being convenient, Ganmo Bar holds 10 grams of protein and comes in a variety of flavors so he doesn’t get tired of it every day. It really saved his butt both literally and figuratively and for that earned the MVP award in Seiji’s diet, but it’s hardly the only thing.

● Soft Salami and Prosciutto Salad with Cheese

Seiji was never a fan of store-bought salads, not because he dislikes salads in general, but because the packaged ones in stores always used cabbage instead of lettuce. As firm believer in the sanctity of salad-based lettuce, this made purchasing difficult. Luckily, 7-Eleven had just what he needed with this little ditty.

It had a lot of the fun stuff like cheese, meat, and onion, but managed to keep the carbs down to only 1.8 grams, a mere speck of his daily limit.

● Lettuce & Seaweed with Garlic & Sesame Oil Sauce

For days when he’s craving something more fiber-rich, Seiji goes for this salad variant. It forgoes the meat of the earlier one but still packs in a lot of flavor.

While salad shopping, Seiji appreciated how prominently the nutritional information on each item was displayed. One danger is picking up a salad on the assumption that it’s very light, because he noticed a bowl of salad on the shelf that had a rather hefty 30 grams of carbs while this pack contained drastically less with only 3.2 grams.

● Salt-Grilled Mackerel

Seiji never realized how low in carbs a simple fish filet was, and these boneless cuts of mackerel blew him away with only 0.2 grams.

It was pre-cooked and seasoned, and very easy to prepare, making it one food he could keep coming back to day after day without an ounce of guilt.

● Isobe-age Fried Chikuwa with Cheese Sauce

Chikuwa is a kind of sausagey fish product formed into a tube-like shape. It’s a versatile food that is famous for being low in carbs, but Seiji found 7-Eleven’s take on it to be particularly tasty.

In fact, the fondue style cheese drizzled around these seasoned fish cakes was so good, he could see himself eating it often even if he wasn’t dieting with its mere 7.4 grams of carbs. Foods like this where he didn’t feel like he was giving up anything really made all the difference in maintaining the habit.

● Soft-Boiled Egg

The name really says it all with this one. However, Seiji usually prefers his soft-boiled eggs extra gooey, whereas 7-Eleven’s were a little more on the firm side.

Still, they were quite good and he found himself munching on one pretty much every day. With a measly 0.5 grams of carbohydrates, it was no problem either.

● Stewed Tofu & Hijiki Seaweed with Six Ingredients

Hijiki is an aquatic plant that is eaten in Japan as small salty black strands which lend themselves well to salads. This one combines hijiki with tofu as well as carrots and lots of other good stuff.

Seiji thought the hijiki count was a little high though, and often added in his own toppings like kimchi to balance it out. Nevertheless, it packed a lot of flavor with only 7.9 grams of carbs.

● Flavorful Chicken & Daikon

Our writer felt these kinds of stewed dishes are better left to the realm of home-cooking than convenience stores, but this pack from 7-Eleven defied his expectations.

It had an incredibly rich taste and the amount made this not seem like a diet food at all. But with only 5.6 grams of carbs, it fit right into his allotted daily intake.

Grilled Salmon Marinated in Sweet Miso

Both salmon and the fermented soy bean paste miso have a delicate balance between sweet and savory tastes so they matched together beautifully. This miso was a little more on the sweet side however, and as such came with a slightly higher carb count of 9.1 grams.

For that reason it was more of a reward on the days Seiji was especially well-behaved, but it was always a juicy and sweet compensation for his efforts.

And what did all these efforts earn him?

After one month of eating foods such as these in regular intervals and walking the required amount, with no other form of exercise, Seiji went from 70.0 kilograms (154 pounds) down to a svelte 64.2 kilograms (141 pounds).

These weren’t the only items that helped Seiji lose the weight, but they were the ones that stood out as making his carb reduction a more tolerable experience that past attempts. With any diet, sustainability is the key, but who’d have thought 7-Eleven of all places would play such a role in his sustainability?

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