Thursday, August 30, 2012

The Latest Diet Trend

Since we moved here, I’ve lost a lot of weight. It’s weight I gained while pregnant with Gertrude Bell and then with Arthur Dent and just hung on to. Most of you mommies can relate, right? Well, it turns out my days of wearing those pre-kid clothes in the closet aren’t so far off. Jealous? Don’t be. You can do it too. I’m thinking of turning my success into a series of sure to be bestselling books and dvd’s. Working title: The Third World Developing Nation Diet. Lucky for you, Fellow Adventurers, I’m going to let you in on the basics. Ready?

1.Cut back on dining out.

Most restaurants here don’t open until 7 or 8 pm and that includes delivery and takeout. Since The Little Explorers go to bed at 7ish, the last time we loaded the family up and went out to dinner was…oh…never.

There’s not really any fast food here, either. No mouth watering Chipotle, no controversial Chik-Fil-A, no cool In-N-Out Burger. There is McDonalds. I find it very meh, though, so there is no temptation whatsoever there. As a matter of fact, on more than one occasion The International Man of Intrigue has offered to go pick it up and I’ve said, “Nah, I’d rather cook dinner in our unairconditioned kitchen. How do tacos sound?”

Speaking of our unairconditioned kitchen, that is my next secret:

2.No evening snacking (or not much).

See, that hot kitchen does, in fact, cool down once it gets dark outside, but it’s s-c-c-aaarry! I’m not much of a fraidy cat. I actually feel quite comfortable in our house alone, except for the kitchen, and especially that kitchen after dark. The kitchen is connected to the rest of the house, but it’s really more or less a separate building. I’m sure it was open at one time. There are still a lot of spots where I can see daylight coming in and the windows really don’t keep much out. I’m not entirely sure the roof does, either. Before we knew we were infested with squirrels, squirrels, and more squirrels I’d hear scratching up on the roof, like zombies trying to get in. Then there was the first visiting squirrel—he came in through the kitchen. There are also at least four different species of ants living there. I know there are roaches and spiders too. When I slam that door between the kitchen and the rest of the house after dinner, it stays closed until morning. I’m still kind of scared of what I’ll find in the morning, but at least it’s light outside and the monsters (or ninja monkeys) have probably clocked out for the day. Even going through the dining room to get water is scary. There are these huge reddish brown ants that only come out at night. When you turn on the light, there are always one or two walking across the table. I don’t see them do it during the day. Are they vampire ants? I can’t be sure. So, every evening after dinner, I load up my arms with a pitcher of water, a clean glass, a sippy cup for Arthur Dent, and anything else I think I might need. Once I balance a beer or a Pimm’s Cup on that, there isn’t much room for snacks.

3. I work out, kind of.

If there is one thing I hate more than working out, it’s working out while Jillian Michaels tells me what to do. I don’t like her one bit, but girlfriend knows how to get results fast. I love/hate the 30 Day Shred
because I saw results almost immediately, although I had to look at Jillian Michaels to see them. Granted, yelling at Ms. Michaels from the other side of the TV probably ramps up the cardio of the workout a bit.

When I can’t be at home to shout at my television in the evening, I find other, more insane ways to burn calories. One time I strapped 30 lb Arthur Dent to my back and climbed up around 1,000 steps to the top of the ancient ruins of Sigiriyia, mostly without the assistance of handrails, because there weren’t any. Unfortunately, I didn’t think through the part where I had to climb back down 1,000 stairs with almost no handrails and a 30 lb Little Explorer strapped to my back. It all worked out in the end, but my legs were sore for days afterward.

I admit, that is not the first or last time I’ve used Arthur Dent as a workout. He helped me sweat off several inches at the ridiculously hot Taj Mahal and was more scared than I was climbing the eighty or so stairs and in and out of passages of the Bara Imambara labrynth in India. Even here at home, I often jog up and down the stairs with him more often than I’d like, but my arm muscles do look seriously fine. Too bad no one sees them since it's considered improper in this country to show one's shoulders in public, but not to show one's midriff. True (but another) story.

4.Get sick. Really sick.

I got a touch of a stomach parasite in Dhaka, but recovered easily. Then, there was that trip to Nepal…I loved Nepal. I’d go back in a heartbeat. However, I hope that intestinal parasite that came home with me has been permanently deported from the country. I was pretty close to getting an IV on the floor of an airport in Pokhara at one point. As a testament to just how sick I was, I actually was looking forward to the idea of it. My face was numb and I was giving thoughtful consideration to the idea of just laying face down on the floor of the airport in a third world country. The stream of consciousness in my head went something like, “Oh, God, I am so dehydrated that this water isn’t even helping. I wonder if there is an IV around here? That would really hit the spot. No, probably no IV, but this is a great place for altitude sickness. There has to be an oxygen tank and mask somewhere. Who could I get to give me one of those? Would they make me pass out first? I wonder if I look sick enough. The International Man of Intrigue just looked at me from the ticket desk. Yes, based on his expression I clearly look sick enough for oxygen. My face feels funny. I can’t feel my hands. I really would like some oxygen. If I put my face on the floor would it feel better? Then I wouldn’t have to sit up either. OH, GOD! I MIGHT DIE! I AM SO SICK I’M THINKING ABOUT LAYING ON A 3RD WORLD AIRPORT FLOOR, AND IT SOUNDS GOOD! Somebody just get me a freaking Diet Coke and some oxygen. Why is there no Diet Coke or oxygen in this country?”

Those 6 kilos I lost in two days? I’m not going to lie, while they were totally not worth it, I’m not about to take them back after going through that, either! Oh, and for the record, I did not put my face (or anything other than the soles of my shoes) on the airport floor.

5. My deep, dark secret.

It was bound to come out sooner or later. The fact that I’m telling you makes me a little nervous. Please, don’t hold it against me. Don’t judge me or think crazy things about me. I know where I live. I knew how it was going to be before I moved here.

I hate curry. Not Ann Curry. I actually quite enjoy her (although I gather in my 7 months abroad that she has become as controversial as Chik-fil-a. What is going on over there, you guys?!??). I’m talking about the South Asian diet staple, curry. I hate curry. There. I said it. I am so embarrassed that telling you this is making my stomach hurt. I like naan. Rice is good. Tandoori anything is delicious. I had biryani in the city that claims to make the best biryani in the world, and it was really, really good. I could drink that green chutney stuff out of the dipping dish it’s served in. But curry? Ugh. I’ve tried lamb curry and chicken curry and cashew curry and chickpea curry and fish curry and lentil curry and vegetable curry and potato curry and just about any other kind of curry you can think of. I’ll always try new things. The problem with curry is, even though I’ve tried them all, I dislike them all almost equally. I’m not going to insult this part of the world by telling you all the reasons I don’t care for it, Fellow Adventurers, I’m just going to tell you that I don’t, and that, therefore, anywhere curry is served, I only eat a polite no-thank-you helping and hold out for the next meal, which is usually breakfast.

At breakfast in South Asia, there are donuts. They know how to make some delicious donuts over here, Fellow Adventurers. That’s one little tidbit that won’t be in the dvd or diet book. Now, the real question is, do you think anyone will buy my diet book?


  1. You are too funny! I love it! And congrats on the weight loss! ♥

  2. More curry for me! Shrimp curry - make it lots with some chutney, hard boiled eggs, onions, peanuts, bacon, raisins, green onions, and shredded cheese to sprinkle on top. Actually, maybe all of that drowns out the chutney and I'm just eating poorly selected salad bar fixings on a bed of goo covering rice. Still, curry - yum!

  3. Loved this! Having my personal chef off to parts known and unknown is my secret to weight loss! My guess is he'll gain weight on your culinary bete noir while I slowly waste away without his chutney : ). I'm quite partial to curry, but of course, I've not yet had the opportunity to try it in it's natural habitat, so who knows how I'll feel!

  4. I also hate curry! You are not alone!

  5. I also hate curry! You are not alone!