Losing Weight in Kuwait – How to Take It Off and Keep It Off

On May 6, 2010, the ugly truth was revealed, and CNN posted the following story:

Fast-food-loving Kuwaitis battle the bulge

This is an epidemic of global proportions, and it is not just isolated to Kuwait, albeit in Kuwait, we feel the effects more heavily (no pun intended) than most given the transient orientation of the populace.

That however, is a flimsy excuse as even families and locals are battling burgeoning waistlines.

In the old days, in merry old England, a rotund stomach on a man was much sought after by maidens, as it signified an abundance of wealth. Nowadays however, one can be wealthy and wise, and hopefully trim.

The reason I mentioned the transient population is that, Kuwait is made of mostly expats (2-to-1 with the locals), and let us say that the fair majority are single, or their wives are abroad in their home countries. So, they lack proper home cooked food, and this in turn helps speed up the fattening process, as they rely heavily on the many millions of fast-food restaurants that cater to their appetite.

However, that is also not the case, as families have been shown to have their own clashes with cellulite.

Some even go as far as saying that eating meat makes you fat. Well I know quite a few vegetarians who are obese.
As you can see, I keep coming up with excuses and refuting them. In the end, we are the instruments responsible for our own self-destructive nourishment tendencies.

In a country where the norm has become this:

(I would have used the Khaleeji one, mostly circulated during Ramadan, however I am unable to find it atm, and google is not helping!)

Several other blogs have touched on the calamity that is apparent when one visits any of the millions of eateries around Kuwait; young children, with no visible neck and a plunging waists, standing (and panting) eagerly in line awaiting to place their order.

Do these children not have parents worried about their health? Unfortunately, we have a saying in Arabic:
القرد في عين امه غزال

Roughly translated, it relates to “beauty is in the eye of the beholder” by referencing that a mother will see her child as perfect.

The usual white lie of “its just puppy fat, it will turn into height later” is thrown about casually.

So, the younger generation have found sanctuary in fast-food restaurants, given absent parents etc.

What about my generation?

Desk jobs, working 8~5, heading home, collapsing in a heap, ordering out for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Greasy meals heavy with artery choking HDL’s and trans-fats, deep fried in days old oil not fit to be lubricant for a Model T.

At least before, as kids, we used to have activities, we used to go downstairs to play; football, عنبر, hide-and-seek. We used to do errands; wash the car, go to the bakkalah to get stuff, take clothes to the dry-cleaners, throw away the trash. Nowadays however, there are no empty areas for children to play, as the capitalistic fat-cats have completely taken over all areas to build their ominous monstrosities, cars occupy every other empty area; everything is done for us; the Hariss takes care of the trash and washes the car, the dry-cleaners will come right to your door to take your clothes as well as deliver the ones that are finished. Bakkalahs, even bakkalahs have delivery boys, and it is not an uncommon sight to witness people driving up in their cars, honking their horn, and refusing to take the 5 or 6 steps to get into the bakkalah.

We have become a society overcome by the idea of ease.

Once in a while, a person will look at themselves in the mirror, feel utter disdain, commit to a gymnasium for a month and either one of the two following scenarios will prevail:

a) they lose the weight and stop going to the gym, only to put it back on again.

b) they give up and stay at home.

What most people do not realise is; there are easy ways to lose weight.

I do not believe in diets. I do not weigh my foods and accurately measure 0.5 grams of cheese and balance it on 1.2 grams of smoked turkey mortadella. I do not do “serving size”. I believe in this mantra: Moderation in all Things, and all Things in Moderation.

We have to start injecting exercise into our daily routine.

So these are my steps:

1) Forget taking the stairs, instead when you are at work and feel tired, go to the nearest staircase, just walk up and down one flight of stairs.

2) Park farther away from your destination, those extra few steps will do a world of good. (preferably not in the heat ofcourse)

4) Drink green tea.

5) Reduce the sugar you take in your drinks, or do as I did, and cut it out all together. I am 25 and have been drinking sugarless since I was in my 2nd year at university (I was 17 at the time). I didnt do it at first out of any commitment to losing weight, I was a bachelor and ran out of sugar, too lazy to go downstairs and buy any, so after finishing all those packets I’d picked up from Starbucks that were lying around the house, I was forced to go sugarless. And I found it was not bad at all.

6) Cut out fizzy drinks from your diet. They are not “essential” or packed with nutrients. Their consumption is a force of habit (take it from me; remember in Kuwait back when the Pepsi truck would go door-to-door and you would exchange crates for 1KD? [the 90’s,, sigh] I averaged 2 bottles [330ML] a day, one for lunch and one for dinner. Ever since January 2011 I have quit cold turkey and have not looked back since). Go for juice instead; if you feel juice is also fattening, merely cut it with water.

7) Eat brown bread. Sure it is hard and tends to fall apart, but it is a healthier option than white.

8) Reduce intake of rice and bread. It is most difficult, but you can do it.

9) In the morning, add a teaspoon of Apple Vinegar to a glass of water, and do so before every meal. Apple vinegar has numerous health benefits, so much so infact that I add it to my salad and spray it on any plate of food (simply punch a small hole through the lid and it serves as a cool dispenser).

10) Eat more fruits and vegetables. Especially those fruits rich in citric acid.

11) Reduce cooking with oil, and reduce consumption of fried foods, opt for grilled instead. If you go out for Chello Kebab (Iranian Kebab @ Mubarakiya in Kuwait City) Do not indulge with the Irani bread, just eat the meat (Atkins!).

12) When ordering out, and lets face it, we all do at some point, request your burgers etc with “No Mayo”.

The points above are simply short-cuts that you can inject into your daily routine that will help regulate your weight. The most important thing however is self motivation. It must come from within.

Contrary to popular belief, overweight people are not inactive, nor are they slow at sports. Trust me, my cousin outran me in a race, and I jog on a weekly basis, and he’s overweight! Still.

Nor is it taboo to be overweight. Its a condition, not a disease.

The reason we fear obesity is because it can lead to severe health problems down the line, with cholesterol, blood pressure, knee problems etc.

In conclusion, a commitment is necessary to take off the weight, and following the steps above will help keep it off.

So, as a friend of mine said, we must all:

Commit to be FIT!

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