I’m being sarcastic. I probably should have had diet success in about half that time, but at the end of the day, I am simply a glutton and very serious lover of food. The diet went out the window without any consideration during vacations, weekends, nights out, lunches or dinners at restaurants, holidays (Thanksgiving, Christmas, etc.) and any other moment in time when I was particularly craving something. Usually something very off-diet, like a cheesy, creamy pasta dish. Or creamy, paneer-filled curry. Or anything fried. Or a buttery, sugary cake.
But all said and done, I still somehow shed 20lbs+ (1.5 stone).
I always said I would never ever diet, but that was before my metabolism retired around age 26 and then, even worse, before the stagnant, lazy life of Dubai took hold. It’s so common and easy to gain weight here, it’s called the ‘Dubai stone‘ (14 pounds). And that is pretty much exactly what I gained over the course of a couple years. Slowly but surely, everything started getting a bit more snug than I would have liked. Even so, I didn’t really care. I still enjoyed eating more than being skinny (and originally at 5’5″, 103 pounds, I was long familiar and comfortable with the skin and bones look, you’d think I’d have cared more – although by the time I moved to Dubai I was a far more healthy-looking 115lbs which I was actually very content with).
In the end what brought me to decide I needed to diet was not so much the weight gain, as it was the disgusting amount of food I was forcing down my gullet on pretty much a daily basis. More than anything, I knew I needed to start controlling the amount of food that I was letting myself eat. I mean, I wasn’t even eating because I was hungry. I was just eating for the taste, even if I felt uncomfortably full already. And it was a really massive home made curry (actually a few different kinds of curry, if I remember correctly) one night that I forced myself to eat so much of (it was really delicious, as it most of the stuff my boyfriend and I cook, to be quite honest) that I was really in pain. It’s so pathetic, it really is. Now, prior to this, I was certainly familiar with the rather uncomfortable feeling of over-eating, but this was beyond that – like I had stretched my stomach well beyond its limit. And I thought, ‘OK, I have got a problem here.‘
I know, I am totally disgusting. Like a female Homer Simpson when it comes to food.
And I pretty much started dieting shortly after that, within a week or something. Having never owned a scale before (and figuring I’d need one to keep track of a diet), I bought one to find that I weighed a shocking 133lbs.
After a bit of research I decided to base my diet off of the Dukan Diet, which I think is like the French version of Atkins or something? I don’t know. You should not be surprised I am quite unfamiliar with the types of diets out there. The thing that drew me to it was that after an initial period of sticking to the diet very strictly, I could start eating the types of meals I used to on a semi-regular basis and then slowly ease back into my usual foods on a pretty much a day-to-day basis. Mainly (aside from the weight loss), I was hoping with this diet that I could learn to control my eating urges and teach myself to not gorge. Also it did not involve exercise. I love being active, but I absolutely cannot tolerate going to the gym, I hate it, there’s nothing I find more boring.
I didn’t actually think the diet would work, because I always been of the school of though that diets of this sort were scams (and I also didn’t think I’d have the willpower to stick to one). And I still, for the most part, think they are BS. I mean, to “properly” do the Dukan diet you have to pay monthly fees to get the full scheme/plan/coaching for how you should do the diet, blah, blah, blah. Totally unnecessary. There’s a basic gist to it, which you can get from their website, and that’s really all you need (it’s all I needed, anyway). It’s a protein-based diet (so your body is forced to burn fat, not carbs). At first, you eat 100% proteins (no exceptions) for about a week (you’ll lose about 5lbs in this phase). Then you add in veggies a few days a week. You do this for a while, until you lose ‘x’ amount of weight (you’ll lose about 1 pound per week, give or take, during this stage). By for a while, I mean probably a couple months at the least, depending on how much weight you’re trying to lose. After about 2 months of trying to stick to this schedule as rigidly as possible (except for the weekends) I decided it was time to ease up and simply tried to focus my meals on protein-based meals (not total protein) on weekdays as much as I felt like it, while eating pretty much whatever I wanted on weekends and any other day where I craved something specific.
It was quite a tolerable diet, especially after the first 2-3 months when I only followed it when I felt like it (3-5 days per week), but in the end it worked, eventually, and that’s all that matters. Actually I could have finished a while ago, but kept revising my goal weight. Originally I just wanted to get to 120lbs. I got there pretty easily, and decided I should go for 118 or 115. I got to 115, then I figured why don’t I just drop a full 20lbs for a nice, even number? And that’s where I am today (actually shed 21lbs) at 112lbs. A good weight. I actually don’t ever want to be as skinny as I used to be (103lbs). It was too skinny. I think 110lbs would be the absolute lowest I should ever be.
I think stabilizing my weight will actually be the most difficult bit. I foresee my weight jumping between 110-115 a lot before I figure out a nice even way to balance my day-to-day diet.
I also really want to find a good, conveniently located yoga center near either my home or work. There is actually one near my home (across the street, in fact) but it’s Bikram yoga. I tried it for a short while, and the heat didn’t so much bother me, but the drill-sergeant manner of the instructors definitely did. I’m quite surprised that there aren’t any near my office though. I work in Downtown Dubai (next to the Burj Khalifa, world’s tallest building) which is rammed with upscale residential buildings. I genuinely surprised I have yet to find any yoga classes in the area.
***This blog is brought to you by all of my favorite foods.***