Banned items

As part of my desperate efforts to lose a minimum of five kilos in two months, I have decided to write down a list of banned items, which I should not approach or even fantasize about. Here’s the list of no-no’s:

  • French fries
  • Burger
  • Fried chicken
  • Beer
  • Chips
  • Chocolate
  • Ice cream
  • Sweets

So far I have not sinned. Let’s see if I can sustain the will-power. Staying away from chocolate is killing me. I’m now going through the "withdrawal" phase!

35 thoughts on “Banned items”

  1. As an advocate of Atkins diet, I would love to invite you to try it. I’ve lost 8 pounds in the last 12 days. Take it from me: stay away from carbs and you will be fine.

  2. That Atkins, people are always singing its praises. But I’ve heard some bad reports lately and read a long term in-depth assessment that showed it tying most of the other leading diets over time. Atkins wins the short stretch but then plateaus and the others catch up. I’m afraid it strikes me as “fad,” which many diets prove to be by their title and very nature. There needs to be a life change, a new way of eating. I will say I like the move to control caffeine and sugar in Atkins. The spikes of sugar highs and lows have always killed me personally.
    I read about a new not diet but new way of eating for life called low-GI, which I believe stands for glycemic index, or sugar index in essence. This diet allows the eating of carbohydrates but pushes the eating of slowly digested carbs that don’t cause spikes in blood sugar, bringing those highs and lows. In this diet, some things make sense that didn’t in Atkins. Foods that for eons have been regarded as “good for you” still are. Calories still count but basically you can eat these low GI foods without worry. This diet also doesn’t leave you hungry. These low-GI foods keep the serotonin flowing, making you feel good and not promoting the hungries that high-GI carbs do. So you eat less. I always found it a vicious cycle that high-GI foods — bad for you already — prompt you to eat more of the same crap. Apparently, low-GI do not.
    This plan is now making the rounds with the likes of Kylie Minogue and the Clintons. I like it because it addresses the issues of blood sugar spikes, working to eliminate future problems like diabetes. Nutritionists are behind it because it is a lifestyle change, it is a diet change for life that is healthy and promotes weigh loss, moving us to our ‘ideal’ body weight. All that makes sense to me.

  3. hey Natasha, good luck on your diet i have tried many but only one worked out i’ll email it to you if you want! (when i go back to amman)
    and if i want to tell you something: if you eat something sweet in tho morning be4 breakfast your boddy wont ask for any thing sweet during the whole day,
    and this thing is real and tested: when your body asks for chocolate you better give it chocolate a small piece will do because if you dont the first time you eat chocolate after dieting you’ll gain double the amount of the clories from the same piece of chocolate you didnt eat!!
    any diet tips u can ask me
    ive tried every Nutrition in Amman:)
    i’m not happy about it but i’m doing better on my own its all in your head if u fix ur mind on sthn u’ll get it in the end just dont give up 🙂

  4. “Hubby,”
    Low carb diet is good, but you have to know how to play the game. As soon as your body returns to carbs, it will absorb them so fast and one usually gains weight quickly. The trick is to return to carbs gradually and balance the rest of your diet…Too much cholestrol hurts your body and so do carbs..so u have to know how to play the game..low -fat, low -carb diets work very well for me, so I guess after all my “Atkins” diet turns out to be not a real “Atkins” diet. Funny!

  5. I recognize that our bodies are all different and react differently to different eating and exercising habits.
    In my experience, soft drinks were my biggest culprits. After three weeks of having a fountain cola with lunch, I felt lethargic and ready to explode. So the next three weeks I cut them out and lo and behold I got my flat tummy back.
    Now I try and make sure I never have more than one or two sodas in a week. But never going back to having one everyday!

  6. My boss was on the Atkins diet for a long time; we used to give him a hard time about it saying that a PhD in a department of biochemistry should know better; anyway the only advantage of him being on a diet low in carbohydrates was that he was able to diagnose his celiac disease. The problem with Atkins is that we still don’t know the long-term effects of it on the body. For one, the brain relies on glucose for energy and this can not be supplied in as much levels from proteins and fat (Could low levels of glucose hence impaired mental ability have been the cause of Dr. Atkins not seeing clearly in front of him, tripping and breaking his skull and dying? Sorry, that’s not very nice to say). Nevertheless, it is a fad that will eventually level off, in fact the percentage of people on the Atkins diet went from something like 7.5% in early 2004 to 4 % towards the end of it; Companies specializing in low-carb diets reported a decrease in sales too.
    Let me conclude with a quote I posted a few months ago on my blog. It was when we as grad students were making an inside joke about the Atkins diet in one of the biochemistry journal clubs and one other professor, who did not know that boss was on that diet, said “The Atkins diets is the dumbest thing since bell-bottom pants.”

  7. Has anyone heard of eating in moderation and exercising? I started doing that for the past 7 months and was able to loose 25 pounds. Natasha, dont deprive yourself of the foods you love. have them, but in moderation, along with all the other healthy foods you will eat. and of course, exercise. once you get used to that, you will want to stay at the gym for ever.

  8. Thank you guys for the useful tips. I don’t think I can cut down both carbs and fat at the same time. I mean I live in Qatar for crying out loud and food is comfort;-)
    I will try to minimize my intake of carbs though, and see what happens. This means I have to stay away from items like rice, bread, potatoes, pasta..what else?

  9. I met with a nutritionist lately for the purpose of following a moderately strict diet. Here are some of the tips she brought from her experience. You can eat four to five servings per meal from Carbohydrates (in addition to non carbohydrates food like white meat- fish.vegetables.etc which do not count toward carbs). You can eat half of that as snacks between meals. where a serving is defined as ” 15 grams of Carbohydrate and varying amounts of protein and fat.” Here is a list of some foods with number of servings per unit. (1)Bagel, Large(4oz)= 4 servings. (2) Bun,hamburger or hot dog (1 bun(1oz)= 2 servings. (3) French fries,regular cut,frozen: 12 fries= 1 serving (4) Pasta :1/3 cup = 1 serving. (5) Potato;white baked or boiled, medium 4″ long = 2 servings. (6) Apple, orange, peach or pear small = one serving per piece. (7) Banana, medium = 2 servings .(8) Grapes or cherries : 12 (7abbeh) = one serving. (9) Milk, skim 2% or 1% (1 cup of 8 oz) = one serving. (10) Bread (wheat or white), one slice of 1 ounce = one serving (11) Yougurt, low fat, artificially sweetened, or plain, 1 cup (8 oz) = one serving. (12)Yougurt, low fat, sweetened with fruit = 2-3 servings (13) Lasagna 3″ x 4″ piece= 2 1/2 servings. (14) Brownie, or cake, frosted, 2″ x 2″ = 2 servings. (15) Doughnut, 3″ = 2 servings. (16) Ice cream, light or regular 1/2 cup = one serving. (17) Popcorn, microwave, light, popped 1/2 bag = 2 servings. (18) Candy bar, chooclate, snack size, about 2″ = one serving. (19) Rice, cooked , brown or white , 1 cup = 3 servings.

  10. Hi Natasha!
    Read that your’re trying to lose weight. Pretty much the same here for me. When I moved to England I gained heaps of weight. The most overweight I was compared to when I finished high school was 15kgs! After City Uni when I got back to Sweden I stayed off all the fast food/restaurant stuff and jogged for 30mins/day. Lost 8kgs in about 3-4 months. Then I’ve had more trouble losing the other 5-6kgs that I need to get back to my BMI weight. By now I’ve told myself that if I go down to my ideal weight I’ll reward myself by buying that telezoom lens I want! LOL
    My dad and I did the Atkins thing, but we didn’t cut out carbs 100%. Don’t think that’s healthy. We don’t eat potatoes and pasta generally. We might eat rice occasionally, but not much of it. We eat 1-2 slices of bread in the morning and have Liba bread for dinner instead of rice. Cut out on sweets etc. We have a light lunch or stick to fruits. Meals at home as always been healthy, so no big problems with dinner. Dad lost weight very fast, finally mom told him to start eating lunch again. I’m having trouble with the last kgs. Need more excercise for my part.
    My advice; cut down on the carbs, stay away from stuff with lots of sugar and start taking long walks. If you can be bothered – go to the gym or jog. 🙂
    /Nouna

  11. Don’t forget to drink plenty of water. Sometimes we mistaken hunger for thirst. The ideal amout is take 1/2 your body weight in pounds and that equals the # of ounces of water per day recommended. I’ll let someone else do the conversion into liters and kilos. You’ll be visiting the restroom alot, but that is a good thing in this case. Best bet is to keep a bottle of water with you at all times and force yourself to drink it. When you start to feel thirsty…your body is already dehydrated so drink often!

  12. And regular exercise is perfect. A 30 minute walk per day can do wonders with your weight. And it doesn’t need to reach Boston Marathon record speeds.
    But look who’s talking….I need to follow my own advice cause I could stand to lose several pounds myself. Maybe we should start a MM Weight Watchers program 🙂

  13. I don’t see anything wrong with striving to better ourselves physically and mentally by becoming healthy and fit. I am certainly not advocating stuffing oneself with food then sticking a finger down one’s throat.

  14. Moderation and exercise are key, think Linda already said that. Don’t give up all that good stuff, just limit it. I don’t buy the low-carb fad. Switch from white to brown rice, yogurt with apples, dates and nuts instead of ice-cream, baked chicken instead of fried.
    Natasha, try weight lifting. It increases your resting metabolism, strenghens muscle, increases energy and can be done at home without being stared at. And when you are older, it is the only thing that off-sets osteoporosis.
    And, practicing contentment is SO true! Magazine models and TV actresses are underweight, period. They have personal trainers and cooks, it isn’t reality and valid for comparison. With a face like yours, you could weigh 100K and still be gorgeous.

  15. Is that what happens when you go to a gym in the middle east? people stare at you? hehe, well i guess thats why i go to an all woman’s gym here in L.A. I wonder if they have any of those there. Total Woman (an all women’s gym) is a big company out here in L.A. and i think the rest of the nation. Wow, if they opened up in the middle east they would probably be really succesful there.

  16. Linda,
    It’s not only in the gym. Staring is not a taboo by the way. This is one of the ways we express our democracy. Freedom of staring; preserved by the first ammendment of constitution. And there are many types of it, the best of all, when you look them in the eye, they don’t feel embarrassed. They do not turn their faces away; in baladi, its called “Biji77 ja77.”

  17. Linda,
    I know of at least one all-women gym in Amman. It’s called Body Design and is loctaed in the posh neighbourhod of Abdoun. Never been there but heard it is quite nice though a bit small.

  18. Linda, where in LA are you? I used to live in Anaheim. There are women’s gyms here, but the constant blaring of Lebanese MTV with impossibly perfect bodies gyrating doesn’t inspire me.
    Jareer, so what letter does “7” represent in phonetic Ara-glish? I know staring is considered part of men’s inalienable rights in the Middle East, but it makes ME feel like an alien. I appreciate a nice-looking person as much as anyone, but I feel anything but admired by staring. Pawed over, undressed, violated, more like it. Even my ten year old son says “Mom, why do they look at you like THAT?” I tell him that is why God gave us the 10th comandment…and not the part about coveting your neighbor’s ox. Makes me want to get a scarf and a jilbab.

  19. Wendy,
    I do not blame you if you use a scarf or jilbab. Fortunately, not all of you get the chance to walk in heavily populated areas like downtown Amman, or transportation stations like in Abdali, or Zarka. Just try to pass by one of the long lines of people waiting for a bus, and see that each person in the line will turn his face to observe the “moon” passing by! Accompanied by a 10-year old son will not help much. “7” is used to represent the 6th alphabet in Arabic.

  20. Wendy
    I live in the Valley. Born and raised here so I guess you can call me a valley girl. hehehe
    Anaheim has a big Arab population like L.A. and is home to the Champion Angeles baseball team. Yeah, I know what you are talking about when it comes to those channels. We get LBC and everyone on this channel looks like an Arab Barbie doll and they all look the same.

  21. Linda, I was pleasantly surprised in Anaheim, blocks of stores with Arabic signs near Disneyland! My kids could still get hummous and falafel and decent bread, and I could surprise people that a CA girl can speak Arabic.
    Yea, Jareer. It’s a fact, and if I walk those areas (Souk il Juma’) I do put a scarf on. At least they then call out “Bozni? Inti Bozni?” instead four letter words about Americans.

  22. I know I just called you and freaked out about the advice regarding the Atkins but I still feel the need to vent here. As your best friend here in this desert, I will personally tie you up and force feed you carbs if you go on that God damned diet. A couple of others here have commented that you should just try to maintain a healthier lifestyle instead of banning certain foods. And someone said if you want some chocolate to have some-but in moderation. They are right! Aaaahhhh, I hate how much women have to obsess about their bodies while men in this region are flabby with big ‘kirshes’ hanging over their high-wasted jeans by the time they’re 20!

  23. Jareer, 7 represents the heavier “h” sound? Help an ignorant non-baladiyya and tell me what Bija77 ja7 is? I’m afraid to ask my landlord knowing the context. 🙂

  24. Let me explain it to you in slow motion” biji77 ja77″.
    First, you have to admit that what we call ” tawkeed lafzi” has no parallel in other languages; at least not in English.
    Second; some Jordanian expressions have no parallel even in Arabic.
    The meanining implies the following in slow motion.
    1) You look at something (staring)
    2) You like it
    3)You pop your eyes out of their sockets to become closer to object.
    4)Your ears become now like a radar
    5) You do not blink no matter what; no distractions even if the object is a human being looking at you to ambarras you.

  25. Hey, is Bijiff Jaff said by the person who is being stared at or the person doing the stairring? Because if it is used by the person being staired at, the translation in englsih could maybe be “Take a picture, it lasts longer!”

  26. Natasha and Jareer, thanks. Now I know the name of what I have been experiencing, except the step you missed when they whip off the sunglasses. The eye-popping grosses me out. It REALLY scares me that men do this while driving.
    What is a non-obscene gesture I can make from my car to these guys to express my dismissal of their stare? And as Linda, a verbal response? Usually I say “Would you want my husband to stare at your wife like this?”
    What an invaluable cultural tool I have gained from you guys!!!

  27. Wendy,
    Before you come to a conclusion, that all was a sarcastic way with some exaggeration to self criticize a phenomenon in the society that people rarely address. Putting it in slow motion, or under a powerful microscope, will definitely alianate people from such spontaneous practice. Just relax .

  28. Jareer, thanks for addressing it as a man. I was hoping you would. I ‘ll just keep my head up and dark glasses on. 🙂

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