El-Tanein Diet Week #4

Courtesy of Gratisography

Courtesy of Gratisography

Week #4 disclaimer: I got sick toward the second half and was incapacitated for 2 days followed by a Sunday with the fam. That left me with 4 days to be active so there’s my excuse for my mediocre performance.

Bi-weekly weigh-in: -1 kg. I’m not sure if that’s because of the workouts or the fever-induced dead appetite but there you have it!

Workout Tally

1 Boot Camp
1 Body Attack
1 20min Run
1 Taebo

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Not as impressive as last week‘s tally but still better than week #2. Despite the gross heatwave, I did shift up to 4kg weights. I was optimistic that I would be hitting the mark this week as well but viruses don’t care what you want to do with your life.

Outdoor Activity

Although it wasn’t major movement, exploring Sawfar in the early afternoon sun during this week’s heatwave worked up a bit of a sweat. Read more about the two afternoons spent with the Sursock family here.

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Fitbit Flex

3 days out of 7 were almost flatlined thanks to viral fun but at least the Fitbit is back to recording all my lack of movement. Check out the numbers next to my strongest week yet: one spent walking all over NYC. Even on my most active days with all the gym classes, I haven’t hit those kind of numbers since. This was not the best week to compare to but you get the point.

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Cheat Meal

A friend’s dinner in Broumanna would qualify as the cheat meal since it was a home-cooked buffet pre-fever when I still had a decent appetite. Check out that spread:

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I’d like to mention here that having a cheat meal once doesn’t mean I’m not eating carbs or having something sweet the rest of the week. I do have a little to curb the cravings and avoid bingeing/inhaling a whole bowl of cake batter. It’s all about portion sizes and choosing the right foods. My vegan sister, who has done in-depth research in nutrition, recommended that I “follow my hunger signals” in order to control my growing appetite. She didn’t mean eat whenever you get the urge; she meant avoid too many restrictions and skipped meals because you’ll end up overdoing it when you DO eat.

Other Highlights

Watched Paper Towns: I may have said that this movie is “the Breakfast Club of our generation” to a friend. That may have been an exaggeration but I did like it as a high school story in comparison to the crap that came out when I was pseudo-studying for SATs. It’s got the right dose of corny and its soundtrack introduced me to this track:

Ordering Salmon at Couqley: Feels like a crime to do so but I did not have steak frites and opted for the no-sauce-smothered no-fries-included salmon plate. It was great and light but I don’t feel like I went to Couqley because of it. That, and they were out of creme brulée. Bittersweet blessing?

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Another Anti-Corruption Protest: The crowd has grown since the first protest that is focused on the garbage crisis here in Lebanon. There’s room for more people so I hope that more will be inspired to join in each session. The more people who show up, the more we may be able to prove that we want change and the active citizens outnumber the passive followers.

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Discovering the Diaspora Museum: At the Lebanese Diaspora Energy conference this May, it was announced that 7 houses bought by the government would be converted into a Lebanese Diaspora Museum in Batroun. Yeah, I didn’t know about it either; I stumbled across the site while exploring the inner streets of the seaside city. It’s got something to do with Gebran Bassil so maybe I’ll shoot him an email.

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Went looking for El Cartel: No amigos found. Last month, I read about two guys from Reno who set up a taco hut by LAU Byblos. Dad and I made it our summer mission to find them and test their skills. However, when we found their “Tacolicious” place, it was closed and up for rent. Does anyone know where these guys went?

We went to El Molino instead and split a plate of subpar enchiladas. Looks like nothing beats homemade tacos for now. When is Loca coming to Beirut? Please?

Workout Track of the Week

This track isn’t for intense workouts but it’ll do the job if you just need a tune to keep you company on a power walk or warm-up. The video is also a super violent spoof on the advertising world which I can totally appreciate. Headbutt your way through life, people.

Cheese of the Week

This week’s cheese comes from Junot Diaz’s book, This is How You Lose Her. In the last few pages, he writes a very simple line: “the half-life of love is forever.”

A “half-life” is a nuclear physics term that is used to describe the life span of unstable atoms. It describes radioactive decay. So the half-life is how long it takes for something to decay to half its original amount. My nerdy self feels all warm and fuzzy.

I’ll leave you with the best of my new idol, lumpy space princess. Never underestimate Cartoon Network’s ability to make disturbingly entertaining cartoons.

Saying No to Temporary Fixes

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It’s ironic that in mob movies, members of the mafia use “waste management” as their cover when asked what they do for a living. Here, our mafia of politicians also has nothing to do with waste management. As has been the trend, whenever there has been an injustice in our society, a Facebook event pops up announcing a march against it. After the garbage fiasco this past week, an anti-corruption demonstration was planned for Saturday afternoon (yesterday) in front of the Grand Serail in Downtown.

I’ll admit that I haven’t gone to every protest but I felt like it was my civic duty to be present at this one in particular. If I didn’t go, I was a fraud: a hypocrite for not practicing what I preach. In essence, our presence at every march is necessary – we need to stand together when any member of our community or any issue that affects it is being defended and/or highlighted. We need to unite as a common front otherwise we are the ones to blame when our rights are violated or our politicians make poor decisions on our behalf and we quietly accept them. You have to take responsibility for your part of the equation before blaming others or authority. That also applies to the issue of garbage collection. As one citizen was saying at the protest, “this is our trash, we should sort it.” It is the country’s duty to collect and dispose of their people’s waste, but it’s the people’s duty to reduce their individual contribution to it. Once you do your part then you can be angry for them not doing theirs. It’s also about taking responsibility for putting such people in power and then suffering the consequences of our own votes. What’s done is done though so let’s deal with our present situation.

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I’m glad there was a demonstration. I’m amused when, after bumping into a friend there, she told me, “it’s my first mouzahara.” It was admirable to see people bringing their children there, exposing them to the issues that should be fought for instead of surrounding them with sectarian rhetoric. It was good to see the faces I see on Facebook, the ones who write about the problems, also there in person. It was great to see Lebanese flags, no party colors. It was commendable to see a peaceful approach to getting our voices heard. Who was listening though? The crowds looked indistinguishable from the ones at our summer street festivals and that’s what seemed wrong. I wanted more anger. I wanted more people. I wanted more alternatives presented for what happens once everyone goes home. Without a long-term plan, will there be change?

I went to yesterday’s protest knowing that it would either inspire or disappoint me. Sadly, it was more of the latter. I admire the activists that organized it and took action. Enough complaining without movement. But while standing there, I was surprised that there weren’t more people, that the ones there weren’t furious, and that the general consensus of the older generation was a pessimistic “what’s the point?” 

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Last night, I returned to Beirut from Broumanna and, from that altitude, there was a very visible gray cloud suffocating the entire city and we prayed that it wouldn’t rain. Driving (or diving, I should say) into it, the streets were a post-apocalyptic scene of burning dumpsters and filth.

The solution that they came up with yesterday post-protest was new landfills in new locations. But the people aren’t standing for it. Jiyeh residents have closed down the highways to South Lebanon because they don’t want to be the next Naameh. They may have inconvenienced a lot of people heading to/from the South today but they have every right to say no to a decision that will inconvenience them with a nation’s trash for an undetermined amount of time. We cannot let those in charge think that these “solutions” work. After seeing how they handle such crises, I wouldn’t want the trash moved to my backyard either. We have to reject this solution before it’s too late…again.


mouzahara: demonstration