It’s typically a given that parents, Maltese mothers in particular, go out of their way to ensure that their child (no matter how old) is in want of nothing. Except of course, when what the child wants is to lose weight. Their intentions are pure, we know, but when it comes to diets there seems to be a general consensus between Maltese mothers that their mission throughout their child’s weight loss journey is to make sure that they do not, in fact, lose any weight lest they fall into some kind of horrible illness. How do they do this, I hear you asking? Well….

Ftit Laħam Isebbaħ Qattus [A bit of meat makes the cat look nicer]

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The first thing she says when you declare you’re about to start dieting. She’s right in a way, but the problem lies in the fact that this metaphorical cat might have too much meat for its own good. Despite her being perfectly content with how you look, you can feel that this diet is needed, and so you ask her to help you out. From now on, your meals need to be healthier.

Isma’ dan Healthy ta! [This is healthy]

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In true spirit of encouragement, (despite being far from what you had in mind) the 200g of brown pasta mixed with a substantial amount of vegetables is something you can understand her coming up with. The piece of “sugarless” cake made out of fruit, flour and butter however, is not. Your chicken breast is so smothered in sauce that you can’t tell it apart from fish, and making the switch from normal coke to coke zero is her idea of cutting down on calories.

Tkomplix tonqos għax se taqa’ f’xi marda [Don’t lose anymore weight, you’ll start looking sickly]

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Thanks to your common sense, you’ve managed to steer away from her meals and lose weight. In typical Maltese fashion, as soon as a bit of bone starts showing, your mother will start worrying that you’re not eating enough. It’s her own way of complimenting your improvement. Impressed by your result, she may decide to join you, making this process far more interesting for you.

U ajma! Jien x’ħadt illum? (Why all this fuss? What did I eat today?)

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It’s been a week of what looks like successful dieting; you enter your kitchen to find her munching on a piece of chocolate. Caught red handed! She will obviously then proceed to try and justify her minor slip by recounting all the things she ate (or better yet didn’t eat) throughout the day, making this little piece of chocolate well deserved.

U ija! Ħeqq ngħoddha bħala cheat day illum hux. (No problem! We’ll just say that today is my cheat day)

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The beginning of the end; you’ve lost all hope for her now. As you see her digging into her second piece of cake today “because tomorrow I can’t have any”, you know that this cheat day will turn into a cheat week, and then a cheat month. Maybe one day, someone else’s weight loss will re-inspire her to realise that her “cat” might be in need of less meat.

© 2017 – VIDA Magazine – Anthea Formosa 

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