Opinion | Off the Cuff

Losing your weight in gold

I suppose having a dictator heading your country is a major incentive to lose weight — ask North Koreans

  • By Mahmood Saberi, Senior Reporter
  • Published: 18:02 July 23, 2013
  • Gulf News

Say the word “gold” and most people start salivating and will do anything to get a coin or a bar made of the precious metal.

Say the word “gold” to an Indian national and there is a paroxysm of joy on the person’s face, no matter if he has been hoarding gold ever since he was born.

Dubai Municipality did not know what it was letting itself in for when it announced that it will give a gram of gold to anyone who loses a kilo of fat during a month-long campaign that ends on August 16.

A friend who registered herself at Zabeel Park, near Karama, said the scene was like a carnival. Indian families had come in droves bringing their children with them, she said.

India is the largest consumer and importer of gold. It is an age-old tradition in India to buy gold and give it to the daughter when she gets married. But I am not really sure what motivates my mother-in-law to head off zombie-like to the Gold Souq every time she comes to Dubai.

The friend said people were lying on the grass, waiting for their turn to sign up as the long queues moved very slowly. “It was difficult to understand what everyone was talking about in the various languages, but now and then someone said the word “gold” while speaking on the phone,” she said.

But it’s not only Indians who are vying for gold in this “city of gold”. Elsewhere, at Safa Park, where a tent had been set up at the entrance, it was a different crowd, made up of Arabs, westerners and Filipinos.

The municipality most probably took this extreme step of trying to make people lose weight as it realised that a city full of fat people will be a huge burden on public facilities.

Public transport would have to be revamped and seats on buses and on the Metro will have to be changed to plus-size. Toilet seats in washrooms will have to be broken down and bigger ones installed. The Roads and Transport Authority would have to get larger abras for the daily commute for the thousands of overweight people crossing Dubai Creek every day.

The UAE is already considered one of the top 10 fattest nations in the world. Blame it on the US, where this fat epidemic is said to have originated, but scientists are also alarmed that with so many large mouths to feed, there will be a huge threat to food security across the globe.

Consider this: An average adult in the UAE already consumes 3,017 calories daily — that’s way up the normal consumption of 2,000 calories. Most of us lead a sedentary lifestyle which means that we do very minimal daily activity such as only putting on our clothes and sitting at a desk, so we should be eating less calories, say dieticians.

The only country which has been ranked the world’s slimmest nation is North Korea, where an average person weighs 49.5kg. I suppose having a dictator heading your country is a major incentive to lose weight.

If you really wish to win gold, you should cut out 500 calories from the diet every day. Get rid of empty calories from fizzy drinks and smoothies made of syrups. One kg equals 2.20 pounds. There are 3,500 calories in a pound. To lose one kilo a week, you will have to eliminate 7,700 calories in a week.

Start your plan on a weekend, just in case you start feeling dizzy because of changes in your diet and soreness if you are starting to exercise.

The other important figure to remember is that a gram of gold is worth about Dh165. Good Luck!

Gulf News

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