Monday, February 09, 2009
The Mummy Thing
I am trying very hard to lose the weight I put on during our furlough time in the US. I am sure that the very air in the states has calories because all I have to do is step off of a plane and the pounds start adding up lickety split. (Or maybe it's the banana splits?)
I have done so many different diets in my life, some to good success, some not so great. I have tried Weight Watchers and I even had 'fat reducing massages' in Venezuela. My husband and several friends here in Paraguay all went on the Cabbage Soup diet. I stuck to my own diet but I think the entire country of Paraguay smelled like cabbage that week. I do not ever want to cook cabbage again. But I must say, they all did lose weight even if they started sprouting green leaves on their heads!
For Christmas, I informed my family that I would like to enroll in a weight loss center here as my gift. You get to meet with a nutritionist who makes you personalized menus and you weigh in every other day. They keep track of your weight loss and I have lost 7 kilos since I started the plan. This works for me because, I know how to diet, I know what to eat and what to avoid, but I need accountability.
Two weeks ago, I began the second stage of the plan. I did not really know about this part and it caught me by surprise. I call it "The Mummy Thing".
Here's what happens: After meeting with the doctor and doing your weigh in, you are escorted upstairs and shown a dressing room. A nurse comes in and proceeds to wrap you, mummy style, in wet strips of cloths. She asks where are your specific 'trouble spots' so she will concentrate the wrappings in those areas. For me, that is easy! Pretty much from my neck to my knees! These strips are drenched in some kind of 'thermo genesis' something or other, that smells like seaweed and makes you feel cold. It feels like you have been wrapped in Vicks Vapor Rub!
Then you sit in the waiting room with all the other ladies. All of us are there for obvious reasons, so you have a room full of 4 or 5 plus size Egyptian looking mummies. Our arms stick out straight, unable to bend at the elbow and we walk around with stiff legs. Trying to sit down is quite an ordeal, but getting back up after the 30 minute treatment is hilarious! I am always afraid I will be the last one left and will have to figure out how to get up by myself! If no one came and checked on me, I could very well turn into a real mummy!
All of this is supposed to break down the cellulite so that you can lose the fat faster. I have no idea if it works or not, but we do laugh a lot in there so I guess that burns a few calories! Speaking of which, a room full of laughing mummies is an experience in and of itself! Usually it is the same group of ladies as we go at the same time. They always have the TV turned onto a Venezuelan, or Colombian, soap opera. Talk about drama!
The Paraguayan ladies often do not understand the accent or idioms the Venezuelan actors use and ask me to 'translate'. Sometimes the Venezuelan actresses speak so loudly and quickly, usually while angry and in a manner only possible for a Venezuelan female to do, that the Paraguayan ladies declare not to understand a word they are saying. So I do the translating. One particular episode had the actress walk in and find her husband cheating on her.The women in the room all became animated explaining what they would do in such a case.
Finally, they turned to me and asked what I would do if I discovered my husband had cheated on me. They know I am a Christian and a pastor's wife. One girl asked me if I would consider 'divorce' in such a case.
I was so excited to answer her because years ago I heard Mrs. Billy Graham asked the exact question in an interview, and I had always wanted to borrow her answer. I had waited years to have the opportunity to use it.
Very piously, I answered, "NO! I would never consider divorce. Murder perhaps, but never divorce!"
The ladies started laughing so hard we all had tears streaming down our faces and thought we would rip our mummy bands! The nurse came to check on us, it seems we were being too rowdy. The ladies all pointed accusing fingers at me! Always blame the gringa!
And so, that is how I am bonding with some new Paraguayan friends as I try to lose some weight to improve my health! May as well have a little fun with it!