In the United States, over one-third of Americans fall into the “obese” category, according to U.S.-based nonprofit the Obesity Society. That’s news that is guaranteed to surprise no one.
So it shouldn’t be much of a shock that Thailand is going the way of its American ally — a 2009 government study showed the average size of the Thai man had grown 7 cm in height and 12 kg in weight over the past 25 years, while the height of women has increased 5 cm and weight by 5.5 kg. Women’s waistlines have grown 3.7 cm, resulting in a more “tubular” shape, noted study researchers. No correspondingly insulting adjective for the shape of men, alas.
No reason was really given for this jump in size, but we can probably guess the culprit: loud-mouthed political blowhards trying to drown out all voices of dissent … Oh wait, that’s not it! Excuse me ::shuffles notes::
Ahem. I mean our daily diets, of course! And when you eat like I eat — like a shark that is on its 15-minute coffee break after a two-week-long fast — it’s a good idea to take a step back and, uh, weigh the wisdom of our daily food choices. And when I say “our”, I mean “my”. I am tired of people getting up for me on the Skytrain (I am not pregnant, people) and sick of wearing my maternity clothes. I enlist the help of my long-suffering trainer, Champ.
Ever read those “food journals” in women’s magazines and get bored/annoyed/alarmed at the ridiculously small amounts these fashion stylists/PR women/models eat? (“Saturday: 2 pieces of sushi. Cup of green tea. Teaspoon of tiramisu.”) Here’s a food journal that will make you feel much better about yourself. Even better, it’s for real!
9:00 — Slice of toast with cheese
12:30 — at Xuan Mai: 1/2 portion beef pho, avocado and mango salad, many pieces of deep-fried spring roll, 2 pieces of fresh spring roll
8:00 — after getting freaked out by “Food Inc.”: grass-fed beef tenderloin, green bean salad with cherry tomatoes, stir-fried bok choy in oyster sauce, stir-fried kale in Maggi, glass of red wine (or three)
(Champ, my trainer, already looks alarmed: “Can’t you eat earlier?” he says. “What about my friends?” I say. “Do you want to lose weight or have friends?” he asks.)
9:00 — 1.5 slices of cold grass-fed beef, 2 Tbs green bean salad
12:30 — at Khun Churn: vegetarian khao soy, 1/2 serving of brown rice, sweet tofu-potato curry, mushroom “nam thok”, 1/2 plate fried green beans
7:00 — at Xinn Tien Di: Peking duck, suckling pig, morning glory with shrimp paste, barbecued pork ribs, 2 Tbs jellyfish, fried fish, 2 pieces fried pork, 2 pieces fried soft-shell crab, 1 piece date-stuffed pancake, minced duck with lettuce
(“Oh my God,” says Champ. “Was that all for one person?” “It’s a Chinese meal, they have courses,” I explain. “Your dinner is more food than I see in a day,” he says. “I eat two hard-boiled eggs and a glass of milk at night. That’s all.”)
9:00 — 1 Quaker oats 100-calorie bar
11:30 — Romaine lettuce with salami, ham, cheese, anchovies, oil and vinegar dressing
3:00 — Tom yum mushroom
7:30 — at Maduzi hotel: Organic herb salad, lamb, steak
(“That’s a lot of food,” says Champ. “Could you try to limit yourself to one main course?” “I was hungry,” I say. “Just go straight to sleep,” he says. Uh, thanks, mister magician of the obvious!)
Final verdict: I’m not eating enough for breakfast. I need more protein and carbs first thing so I don’t freak out when I see real food at lunchtime and stuff my face, Champ says. Bacon and hard-boiled eggs are a good idea (Champ is big on hard-boiled eggs).
Limiting myself to one or two dishes out is also a good idea, since the portion sizes of the 4-5 dishes I usually order at one sitting total up to half a day’s worth of food. I could maybe manage to restrain myself if I add two mini-meals a day, one in the mid-morning and one mid-afternoon, he says. At dinnertime (no later than 7:30pm), one dish is enough, without any carbs. And lay off the fried foods!
Alcohol is a bad idea. If I must have a glass of wine or two, or three, then I must be prepared to make some sort of sacrifice elsewhere (food-wise). Or I could spend a few more minutes on the treadmill or elliptical trainer (no way in hell). There must be some sort of trade-off (I’ll have to cut off an arm).
I complain all the time about how I have no friends, but now is the time to actually not have any friends, apparently. A social life is a hindrance to sticking to my diet. Or, as Champ says, “Tell your friends you’ll see them in three months.” Is this for real? Will they even recognize me? How seriously should I be taking this diet?
Then again, the maternity wear in Thailand is getting pretty cute. Maybe I could hold on for a few more months.
(Photos by @SpecialKRB)