The Party Season Weight-loss
Please don't tell me about Dhaka's crazy party season. I arrived
in Dhaka from Rome the day after Christmas with just enough
time to change for a wedding, followed by a late night pre-New
Year dinner-dance, and the pattern was set, so I know about
it. And I've heard every complaint related to this period of
juggling three weddings, two Holuds, an Aqeeqa and a wedding
anniversary and a half. The one that grabs me is the one about
gaining weight during this period. It baffles me. I heard the
same thing about Ramadan!
it to say that when I return to Rome from Dhaka I will not be
the most popular person in my social circuit there, because
I am probably the only person I know who can say after a trip
to one’s hometown during its party-wedding epidemic that I have
actually LOST weight. Don't you just hate me? But now to convert
all that negative energy you are expending hating me into positive
feelings, let me reveal how I did it. Warning: some are subversive,
guerrilla tactics, meant only for the committed weight watcher
and can result not only in weight loss but also loss of friends.
The basic thing is about attitude. Remember "Food glorious
food" sung by Oliver Twist? Well, although these wintry
days, the clammy, smog-ridden ambience of Dhaka might remind
us of Dickens' London, we don't have to concur with his character.
"Body glorious body" is the anthem when approaching
a food-laden table or when the Biryani, kheerer patishapta
or lemon souffle is being dished out.
To reinforce this attitude take a hard look at yourself in the
full-length mirror BEFORE you start dressing for any event.
Gaze at a picture of your favourite female form, perhaps Aishwariya
or Catherine-Zeta Zones, or you as you were once upon a time.
The same formula and even the same posters of the glamour gals
apply to the lads as well, since gazing at the beauties might
inspire the men to remodel themselves to be (remotely) attractive
to the lovelies.
NEVER actually eat at parties and weddings. Remember, going
out to a dinner or a wedding is not about eating, but about
looking good! So, the cardinal rule here is to dissimulate,
dissemble and deceive everyone like crazy, (including, sometimes,
even yourself). Buffet dinners are the easiest to bluff through,
where you can hoodwink the hostess by flirting with the salad
and a piece of kabab in the far corner of the dining room away
from her prying eyes, while loudly praising the rest of the
food that you have either, not tasted or have poked at; at sit-down
dinners and restaurants, talk, laugh, scintillate, generally
keeping everyone distracted while you hide the mayonnaise-shrimp
under the lettuce. If you are dining at fancy restaurants, and
even if someone else is footing the bill, choose only the simplest
grilled meats and fish, and eat only a small portion of it.
Don't worry about waste now; believe me, at this point, starving
children anywhere in the world will not benefit from your conscientious
consumption! So, be politically incorrect: toy with your food,
pretend to eat.
To enable you to give this sterling public performance, never
arrive on an empty stomach, rather, ALWAYS eat your everyday,
health-diet conscious meal at home before going out to 'dine'
or 'lunch'. When you can, opt for joining the party after dinner
or lunch so you get the company and not the food. When subversive
tactics simply wont do (in my case, this happens when I'm the
guest of honour at friends or female relatives who cook like
a dream and love you by feeding), starve beforehand, but never
take seconds or eat to please. Food is not your enemy, eating
outside is; tell yourself that you are allergic to outside food:
you break out in a rash of fat!
Do some form of exercise for even half an hour, EVERYDAY. Walking
is the easiest and best exercise. STOP right there and don't
give me any back talk about having no time to go to the park,
about planning to join a health club or buying a treadmill.
Walking is not about gyms, parks and machines, but about legs
and a space in which to move them. If you are an apartment dweller
you have a rooftop, use it. If not, just clear a path between
your living room and dining room and circle it like crazy while
timing yourself with a watch. Be obsessive about getting your
quota of walking for the day. Do twenty minutes; do fifteen;
do any bodily movement, but JUST DO IT.
time is good for exercise and can be carved out from the tightest
schedule if we really want to. If/when you pray, at the end
of the session, just roll back on the floor and do some stretches
right there. At a party, get up and dance even if others do
not. At home, just before your shower, take the portable player
to the bathroom and for fifteen minutes 'It's the time to disco'!
In apartments, at each landing, whenever you see those strangely
vertical, jagged things beside the elevator, called 'stairs'
I believe, well, take off your high heels and use them whenever
you can. These exercise machines are free of charge! The only
cost is that, initially, your receptionist or neighbour's maid
will think you're the crazy lady on the fourth floor, but at
least, no one will call you the fat lady.
don't waste that hour at the hairdresser. Instead, go across
to the park or the health club, up to the rooftop or down on
the bedroom floor, and get a workout; a lovely body lasts longer
than the hair-do, and a ponytail is cuter than a fat-ass. Meet
friends not for lunch, but at the park, so you can all catch
up while doing your daily constitutional.
Lastly and more seriously, I am appalled at the number of my
friends and family members (mostly female) who have either gained
weight or are suffering from a variety of ailments ranging from
high blood pressure to bodily aches and pains. Many of them
talk about resolving to 'go on a diet and exercise regime' when
this party season will stop. Who are they kidding? The perfect
time will never arrive. Eid is at our doorstep, which will be
followed by another wedding or a visit from a long lost family
member or friend, followed by the mango season, followed by
something else. Life is a series of diet-subverting crises.
The moment for losing weight (which, with age, rhymes more with
health than beauty) is NOW. So, party yourself into health and
now that I have spilled all my calorie counted beans, my readers
might love me but I think I've lost some of my credibility and
all of my friends and won’t get invited to any more parties.
Final injunction: do lose weight this party season, and then
please shut up, unlike me. Now I'm all dressed up with nowhere
to go to pretend to eat.