Tuesday, July 6, 2010
Marci’s Marshall Islands Weight-Loss Plan
(Yes, I'm home -- with technology access at last, so I can post the last couple of stories written during my year in the Marshall Islands.)
This blog posting is dedicated to my colleague and friend Leigh Swigart, who taught me that a long walk is nothing to be annoyed about. Start putting one foot in front of the other, relax and enjoy the scenery. (Thanks to Liz Wellen for the photo)
I’m coming home 20 pounds lighter than when I arrived. (Well, make that 23 pounds as of the last time I veered close to a scale.) Losing the weight was completely painless. In fact, I wasn’t even sure whether I was gaining or losing weight under those shapeless mumus, in the absence of calibrator clothes (you know, that outfit that tells you when you’ve put on a few pounds). I’ve been eating anything I wanted, with appropriate doses of chocolate therapy PRN (as needed). I’ve remained outrageously healthy. The pounds just fell off.
You too can lose weight effortlessly! Here’s my weight-loss plan in 5 easy steps.
1. Move to a country where you don’t trust the food. One might say that Marshall Islanders are not as fastidious as I am about keeping hot food hot and cold food cold. My own kitchen is unnervingly buggy, so I don’t feel all that comfortable with my own cooking either. When you don’t quite trust what you’re eating, it’s real easy to eat less.
2. Get a job where you’re on your feet from 9:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. Take aim at those 7 rows of chairs: pace up and down, then back and forth in front of the sauna-like tropical classroom for 6 hours a day. No snacks allowed, or students will want you to share. (There’s 150 of them.)
3. Make sure your workplace is five islands away from the closest town. Add unreliable transportation at limited times. That means that the surest way to get to church, the post office, or the grocery store is to walk the 6 miles one way. I can usually hitchhike into town (it’s very safe here) but then I walk home (at first not by my own choice, but once I saw I could do it, I did it purposefully). The 6 miles takes me about two hours, including water breaks and pauses to pick up shells on the causeway and admire the ocean. I walk it religiously every Sunday (pun intended). Believe it or not, that glorious weekly walk is what I’ll miss most here, with the tropical sun shimmering on the lagoon waves on one side of the causeway and the sparkling ocean surf on the other. Add a heavy backpack for a perfect workout. Stuff the backpack with plenty of water to drink and all your groceries and/or Sunday School teaching materials. That weekly hike is in addition to my ½ hour morning walks, which I’ve done for many years as my fitness plan.
4. Minimize eating out. It’s not hard to do with only one supermarket lunch counter and one restaurant (Filipino – yum!), both of which are located that 6 mile hike away.
5. Drastically reduce the number of party and dinner invitations you receive. And for the parties and dinners you do attend, see rule #1 above.
Yes, my friends, it boils down to: exercise more, eat less.