"Since moving to the emirate five years ago I've gained about 35 kilograms in weight - most of it within the first two year," quips National reporter Martin Croucher.
The big challenge of winning gold for weight
DUBAI // Whenever I meet friends I haven't seen since I moved to Dubai, the inevitable question is always: "What happened to you?"
Most times, I just shrug and reply: "Dubai happened."
Since moving to the emirate five years ago I've gained about 35 kilograms in weight - most of it within the first two years.
When the Lose Weight, Win Gold campaign was announced, I knew it was so preposterous that it might actually work.
The idea that you could get something as quixotic as chips of gold for losing kilograms appealed to my sense of the absurd. It was also fun thinking about how much money I might make from doing something I've always wanted to do.
So it was that I found myself queuing outside the weighing centre at Barsha Pond Park on the opening night of the campaign.
Luckily I got there half an hour before weigh-in, so I was at the front of the queue. Because of a series of delays I ended up waiting for more than two hours to be seen.
A fellow entrant suggested that was all part of the municipality's plan, to have us sweat out our excess water weight and thus appear much lighter on the scales.
The first week started well, with two hours of exercise every morning and just a bowl of cereal as my daily meal. I was looking at a further 6kg reduction in weight in the first five days alone.
The biggest challenge for me will be maintaining this level of dedication over the course of a month without caving in and ordering pizza or dying of scurvy.
If the latter, my only surviving testament will be to be buried with my gold.
* Martin Croucher