This was originally written for Kari’s column “When Hunger Strikes” in the wknd magazine of the Khaleej Times.
Traditionally, I like to start my first column for the year exploring resolutions-the promises we make to ourselves to uphold and strive for in the coming 12 months. This year, I will get a little personal.
For the past few years, I have had a couple recurrent resolutions. The fact that these goals keep making it to my list of resolutions is simply because I have not been able to reach them. You know me, I am a bit of an over-achiever and maybe that is the very reason why this year, I feel I need to whittle down the list of things I am resolute on attaining in order to focus on the few that seem to be the hardest to fulfil.
My two goals fall under the general theme of taking better care of myself.
While one is directly related to food, the other is more indirectly so and both will most certainly have a huge impact on my lifestyle. This year, my aim is to buy a house by year end and lose 27kg by my birthday in early August.
As expatriates, it is important for us to secure our future home soon. I am a Millennial and my husband is a Generation Xer so we place high value on home ownership. While it is nice to be able to live in another country, we have been very careful not to get caught up in the stereotypical expatriate overextended lifestyle – living only for the present and spending lots on an unsustainably lavish existence. We feel it more important to position ourselves for our future instead of spending every dirham on rented square feet and decadent restaurant brunches.
Having just incurred major expenses related to having our baby and huge medical bills for surgical procedures (in spite of having private health insurance), we are somewhat behind in our goals for home ownership but we will have to tighten our belts even further this year in order to fully realise our dream. It is well and good that our belts will be tight as I am also on a major fitness quest to get into my best shape this year.
To be painfully honest, I have lost the same 20 kg over and over for some years. I think in total, I may have actually lost a good 200kg since I started struggling with balancing my weight during university. At this stage of my life, I am quite frankly tired of the yo-yoing and I loathe having my closet packed with clothes that I can no longer squeeze into.
For the past few months, I have been trying to lose the belly I gained after giving birth. Yes, you read right. I have had some success (depending on which section of the closet you ask) and I plan to build on that this year. It means that I will aim to lose an average of 4 kgs per month, or just a little less than1kg per week. That is a perfectly safe and healthy pace to lose weight and most importantly, it is totally attainable.
Not only will I be continuing to make better choices with food, I will also be eating out less to save both on calories and dirhams. These two goals are so complementary. They go together like love and marriage.
Speaking of which, one reason why I know you will soon be writing in to wish me congratulations on achieving my goals, is that I have gotten the support of my husband, who is also on board and wants the same for himself. This way we are not working at cross-purposes. . Yes the chef is also on a mission to lose his potbelly.
Hopefully you too will join us as we share sumptuous recipes, guidelines and tips to help you lose excess and manage your weight. I will also give you updates here to keep accountable to you . We would love you to join the movement, which we are calling the Chef & Steward Gourmet Wellness & Weight Loss Challenge.
We will be partnering with our dear friend and NLP, Bev Spencer, who is slated to help us unlock revealing things about ourselves as we head full throttle into our best year ever. Keep tuned in to hear the useful bits we discover and share with you along the way.
Tips for setting and attaining your resolutions:
- Set reasonable goals. As my grandmother would say, hang your hat where you can reach it. That does not mean you should not aim for your best, but just that you should be practical.
- Build your army. Support in everything when you are trying to accomplish something big in your life. Rally your troupes to march with you to success or to be the unrelenting drill sergeant when you just do not feel like taking yourself out of a whole.
- Focus on a few. Pick no more than 3 major goals to conquer. If they are smaller more achievable goals, you can select more but still keep the amount manageable.
- Make the goals compatible. You cannot be saving for a major expense like a house and still have plans to go on the world’s most expensive vacations during the same time. Maybe you could shift to having an exciting, yet affordable ‘staycation’ or smaller budget vacation or even forego a vacation until you have secured the money for your new home, then vacation in your new pad!
- Set a date. Do not leave it up to the rolling target of somewhere within 12 months. Setting dates gives you real deadlines to work towards and then back track with smaller deliverables or benchmarks at intervals along the way. For example, if you want to save AED12,000 by the end of December, you will need to save AED1,000 every month.