June in Abu Dhabi and the temperature is rising to unbearable levels, accompanied only by the sickening humidity which means that for 99% of expat wives the pressure is on….. To be thin, tanned and toned before going home for the summer. Such was the underlying conversation at a recent coffee morning, where I seemed to be only one reaching for a third mini quiche.
It seems to be a pressure that every expat wife worth her salt feels before going home for summer, the expectation of what living in Middle East entails. Whether you’re going home to Jo’burg, Toronto or Bandon for the summer the questions are always the same. 1. Where is your tan?, 2. Why aren’t you wearing tonnes of gold jewelry? 3. What do you do all day? ( Only asked if carrying a few kgs extra, hips not luggage). I vividly remember these questions from last year and was determined this year to fully deliver on their expectations.
Quick to hop on the back of any old bandwagon and eager to evoke envy and awe in the eyes of my economically hit and financially burned friends and family, I decided to work on an intensive plan to reach my goal weight.
I would join in with the others, the motivation required for weight loss was reportedly easier to maintain if working as part of a team. My already slender Southampton friend was opting for a calorie counting system, noting each item, even small things like mini muffins or croissant and right down to a measly kitkat (the two finger one), she was putting everything on the list, this wasn’t the option for me, way too nitty gritty. My toned Texan buddy, didn’t do any of that kind of nit pickin’, preferring instead to enjoy her fried chicken and burn off the extra by getting up a sweat by joining the local bootcamp which promised to put everyone through their paces, sounded like a good option at first but the time clashed with my daily dose of Corrie so that was out, pity, I loved exercise. That left the balanced approach, a healthy diet accompanied by regular exercise and perhaps the engagement of a personal trainer or nutritionist, this option demanded far too much investment of time and cash so I turned to Google and random forum users for advice.
It wasn’t long before the perfect arrangement fell into my comfortable lap. “Lose 4 kgs in 3 days” Perfect. Even with a pass in lower level maths, I was easily able to calculate that in order to lose 5kgs I would need to prolong the diet for a futher 18 hours, perfect.
Printing off the meal plan, I mentally rubbed my hands together with glee at my cunning plan. The diet largely consisted of hotdogs, ice-ream, Ritz crackers and tuna, lovely. There was no specific mention of cabernet sauvignon, cheese or kitkats, so I interpreted it that these items had possibly no effect either way on the outcome. Three days and I would reach my goal weight. While my current weight does not constitute a second seat on the flight home, it does ensure that my current seat will be well filled with little wriggle room. Yearning for wriggle room, I started the next three days with black coffee and fruit and finished each one with hotdogs and ice-cream. After four days I stood on the scale and waited to hear the silent hurray but instead the needle stopped where it has always done, just after “Made in Korea” and just before borderline obesity.
Time is ticking and with flights booked and arrangements made the window in which to lose weight is closing slowly. Plan B, I would postpone the weight loss and excel at the other two markers, tan and jewelry. The next lunch with the girls was our last before September and as each of them pushed salad from one side of the plate to the other determined to get back to their original weight, 7lbs 5oz, I tucked happily in my Meatloaf with side order of roasted aubergines ,tomatoes and fried potatoes. Sporting a fabulous tan, with the gaudiest yellowest necklace imaginable glinting in the sunlight, I thought, two out of three ain’t bad.