Sunday, November 25, 2012

Laughter may be the best (weight-loss) medicine

This morning, in Manila living a TRAVELIFE, I finally got myself on the weighing scale.

Since I'd left Manila for South Africa, I'd studiously avoided checking my weight even if every hotel I'd stayed in had thoughtfully provided a scale in the room.

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In South Africa, I was on holiday and I just wanted to eat and drink whatever I wanted, without thinking much about the kilos or the calories. I truly didn't factor this thought into my meals.

We also had oxtail and our very first taste of springbok
on our first day in South Africa
at Moyo in Johannesburg for lunch


This was just the appetizer plate (for two persons!)
during our lunch at Moyo in Johannesburg

So I was basically having three-course breakfasts and lunches, and lots of very long degustation dinners -- all washed down with at least a couple of glasses of wine, especially in the evening.

In real life, I don't really drink much except if it's a wine dinner or a special occasion. But on holiday in South Africa, I did feel like having champagne everyday, and then pairing great local wines with each course at dinner.

We also did three proper wine-tastings during the trip. You can't help it if you're in the Cape Town area as this is a wine-producing region and it's a crime not to sample the great local wines.

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The Steenberg winery

At the same time, I didn't want to fill up the schedule with just a lot of winery visits as that would be winery overkill for me; so I carefully chose three places that would each provide a unique and enjoyable experience vis-a-vis the others.

One of the bartenders pours a nice red
at the Steenberg winery

I chose the Vergelegen Winery for the top quality of its wines and food, as well as for its amazing estate and gardens; the Rust and Vrede winery for its boutique wines and its famous restaurant; and then the Steenberg winery, which is where we stayed for the last two days of the trip, for its highly-rated wines and its cutting-edge design in spite of being the oldest farm on the Cape.

I've already written about the Steenberg winery, and one of these days I'll post entries on our very enjoyable visits to Vergelegen and Rust en Vrede.


A seven-course tasting dinner at the Saxon Hotel,
and talking with Chef David Higgs over champagne

But back in Manila just for two days, I was shocked at how many friends had commented on how much weight I'd lost just in two weeks. I'd literally eaten and drunk my way through South Africa, and so much of the two weeks had been spent in dining rooms and restaurants. I was so sure I'd gained 10 pounds, but it didn't matter then.

Practically everyday was champagne day in South Africa


So this morning was judgement day. Buoyed by everyone's comments on how much weight I'd lost in the two weeks I was away, I finally found the courage to confront the weighing scale. And I too was shocked to find out I'd lost a kilo or more in spite of two weeks of three massive meals a day and almost no form of physical exertion.

In my own calculations, I was eating at least 3000 calories a day or more.

I hadn't really walked much either, except to take the stairs up whenever I could. This was basically my only form of exercise, aside from walking around little towns or shopping malls.

But I'd probably laughed for two weeks straight, about all kinds of things on the trip. As long as I wasn't asleep, I was basically laughing all the time. So maybe it is true that laughter burns calories after all...and should I have been so lucky.


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