The weeks that girdled Christmas and New Year’s had me living like a fois gras goose, endlessly stuffed with food and drink as my family raced from Jordan to England to the US for clan-centric rituals ranging from a funeral to a birthday, with the usual winter holidays in between. I recently scanned the snapshots, and there it was before my eyes (and under my chins, and around my was-once-there waist. I am fat.
A wake up call in black and white and color. It’s time to face the music. (What’s the best playlist for better health?)
Nothing I do is single-dimensional. I‘m fat, and I want to be fit. I aim to distance family menus from meat, and shop local produce. I’ve never followed a diet, that’s not to say I didn’t try one. It was usually an office affair, with a full and varied crew trying The Cabbage Soup Diet, Scarsdale, Weight Watchers and Atkins. But I’m a culinary Casanova; when it comes to prescribed menus I’m a notorious cheat.
I believe I suffer the reverse of anorexia. I know I’m no Kate Moss, but feel no connection to Mama Cass. So why am I shocked when I see me in pictures? Jabba the Hut is my doppelgänger, the imaginary albatross around my flabby neck. I weigh the same as I did when I entered the hospital to give birth to my firstborn. Thing is, he’s now 28.
So damn it, it’s time. I am beginning a six month program of uber-mindful living. And I will write about it, wins and losses, no holds barred. Slap me with comments and advice. Cast me some criticism. I could use the distraction from falafel sandwiches, bulging with salty pickles and dripping with tasty tahini.
Green Prophet often reports on health trends, food and fitness. I write about this, now it’s time to live it, here in Amman, near the bounty of Jordan Valley farms. The vegetable souk is bursting with produce. Plus it’s Springtime, when weather demands you get up from your computer and go outside for a walk or a hike. Looks like I am out of excuses.
This is not a vanity piece, it’s more a travelogue through food and fitness ideologies. I’ll try on a different approach every few weeks, and wear it like my old Catholic school uniforms – donned daily without deviation. It’s a kind of Cinderella health story. I can hear the clock ticking, and my time to take action is now. Trot alongside me, poke fun or cheer me on, be inspired to try some new behaviors yourself.
The first few weeks will be about mindfulness with a starter list of actions that I can count on one hand:
- Keep a log of what goes in my mouth, and record daily weigh-ins. Have to find a place to stow this; haven’t been this secretive about a diary since I was 12 years old. I will show progress and stats.
- Get moving. Pulled out an ancient and underused step-tracker. Will aim for 20 minutes on the treadmill, plus walk more outdoors. Thinking to start with a BB King playlist, as I expect my hamstrings to be feeling the blues.
- Start each day with a big gulp of water with a splash of apple cider vinegar. This tip is a perennial pop-up on social media. It can’t hurt. A shake-up to the gallons of water I already down daily.
- Put a silver stake through the heart of ex-pat living, and cut out alcohol. No drinking at home, and limit the rest. Burn bonus calories by pushing back drinks bought by unbelieving friends.
- Eat more soup. This will help slide us into a less-chicken-based diet, and up veggie consumption. Thanks to the fabulous cookbook Soup for Syria, I already have a freezer full of the stuff to carry me a month. Got some recipes to share? Don’t be stingy!
And so it begins.
Image from Health and Love Page