Osmel Almaguer

It bothers me to have this little bit of fat around the waist; not in and of itself, but because of people’s constant criticism.  They’ll point it out to me every now and then with a tone of concern, as if I had grown a tail without realizing it, or as if they were breaking the news of some terminal illness.

I know that obesity is bad, that it impacts a great part of the world’s population, especially in countries where carbohydrates and fats aren’t so expensive.  In Cuba that problem doesn’t exist, and I’m far from being obese.  I have abdominal fat due to a erratic diet, and also perhaps because of inherited factors.

I have always been one of those who think you shouldn’t live your life paying attention to what other people say, but in this case I’m firmly resolved to lose four or five pounds surplus pounds.

A little jogging, a few sit-ups and a round of pushups would do me well since the body oxygenates itself and the pores clean themselves.  But I’ll need to be careful because my blood sugar levels often drop precipitously.

There are times when Cubans decide to take up sports, though given our way of life we’re almost always doing exercises.  It’s true, because walking a few miles daily to and from work, or spending a couple hours on a packed bus —with your muscles tense trying not to fall from the potholes and pushing— those too can be veritable workouts.

I remember the times in the 90s when almost everybody had to get around on bicycles.  I would ride close to ten miles daily, and then I’d get home hell bent on drinking a glass of water mixed with sugar: my between-meal refreshment par excellence.

The healthiness of our way of life was completed with meals almost completely free of fat, red or white meat, soda or beer.

I remember that dieting was nearly mandatory, although you could occasionally spend everything in your pocket on a beer, especially since it had those extra calories.

Together with our way of life is our own multi-ethnic corporal makeup, which has allowed us to be an athletic people.  Perhaps that’s why we’re so uncompromising in terms of our physical appearance, though neither do we go to the other extreme: that of anorexia.

I know that obesity is bad, that it impacts a great part of the world’s population, especially in countries where carbohydrates and fats aren’t so expensive.  In Cuba that problem doesn’t exist, and I’m far from being obese.  I have abdominal fat due to a erratic diet, and also perhaps because of inherited factors.

I have always been one of those who think you shouldn’t live your life paying attention to what other people say, but in this case I’m firmly resolved to lose four or five pounds surplus pounds.

A little jogging, a few sit-ups and a round of pushups would do me well since the body oxygenates itself and the pores clean themselves.  But I’ll need to be careful because my blood sugar levels often drop precipitously.

There are times when Cubans decide to take up sports, though given our way of life we’re almost always doing exercises.  It’s true, because walking a few miles daily to and from work, or spending a couple hours on a packed bus —with your muscles tense trying not to fall from the potholes and pushing— those too can be veritable workouts.

I remember the times in the 90s when almost everybody had to get around on bicycles.  I would ride close to ten miles daily, and then I’d get home hell bent on drinking a glass of water mixed with sugar: my between-meal refreshment par excellence.

The healthiness of our way of life was completed with meals almost completely free of fat, red or white meat, soda or beer.

I remember that dieting was nearly mandatory, although you could occasionally spend everything in your pocket on a beer, especially since it had those extra calories.

Together with our way of life is our own multi-ethnic corporal makeup, which has allowed us to be an athletic people.  Perhaps that’s why we’re so uncompromising in terms of our physical appearance, though neither do we go to the other extreme: that of anorexia.


osmel

Osmel Almaguer:Until recently I would to identify myself as a poet, a cultural promoter and a university student. Now that my notions on poetry have changed slightly, that I got a new job, and that I have finished my studies, I’m forced to ask myself: Am I a different person? In our introductions, we usually mention our social status instead of looking within ourselves for those characteristics that define us as unique and special. The fact that I’m scared of spiders, that I’ve never learned to dance, that I get upset over the simplest things, that culminating moments excite me, that I’m a perfectionist, composed but impulsive, childish but antiquated: these are clues that lead to who I truly am.

One thought on “My Paunch, How Embarrassing!

  • Come, now. I was in Havana in July and most people I saw over 30-35 were heavy (until they get to retirement age when it turns back around). It ranged from just unhealthy and unfit to downright fat. I even saw two very obese women, almost crippled from the weight they were carrying around. Maybe it is excess carbohydrates – rice, bread – maybe walking doesn’t do so much for the stomach muscles, but, whatever the cause, it did surprise me. A Western profile is developing despite the lack of resources.

    The young people were looking healthier, although many young women have a tendency for excess roundness – wanting to emphasise their breasts, maybe?

    As an adult, you can’t eat the same amounts you did as a teenager and keep trim. There is no need to be unhealthy just because you’re older.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *