If you don’t live in Dubai you may not be familiar with what a Dubai brunch is. Unlike the rest of the world who basically call a late breakfast a brunch, in Dubai it is slightly different, well completely different. Basically it is where you pay a set amount and eat as much and drink as much (alcohol) as you want for usually around 4 hours. With alcohol being so expensive here you can imagine it is a time when people overindulge! Traditionally they are on Fridays around midday or noon, however there are lots of evening ones cropping up now.
So as you can imagine it can be very easy to completely ruin the body you have worked so hard for throughout the week, through intense workouts and strict diet plans. My tips are to help you enjoy yourself without coming off as that boring person who says ‘sorry I don’t have alcohol or carbs, EVER!’, but also not completely over indulging.
I actually went on a brunch yesterday and tried to follow these tips so will let you know how I got on!
1. Workout in the morning
If you know it’s going to be a bad day, dietwise, make sure to get your workout done in the morning.
I went to my f45 Hollywood session yesterday morning, which is an hour of circuit training, working for 40 seconds and resting for 15, quite an intense session! But always feel glad after going 🙂
2. Drink water
It is so hot here that you end up draining your alcoholic drinks here in seconds due to being so thirsty, so make sure there is a always bottle of water to hand on your table!
This I did follow, as when I sat down the waiter was straight over to take my order for my drinks, I ordered a gin and tonic, when it came it took me about a minute to drink! So after that ordered a bottle of water and made sure I always had one near.
3. Stick to one drink (avoid beer)
This is more for avoiding a bad hangover to be honest, as if you’re really hungover you won’t be able to workout the next day! Also avoiding beer, which can make you really bloated, or cocktails that are laced with sugar!
This one I did have a slight mishap, I drank gin and tonics throughout the whole brunch. However, when we left and went to another bar, I could not resist a strawberry daiquiri!
4. Limit yourself to 2 plates
Most brunches are buffets so I would aim to limit yourself to 2 plates, not plates that are like mountains either! To be honest, you learn quickly in Dubai, whether you are going to a ‘drinking’ brunch, where you are more about the alcohol than the food and therefore eat less or an ‘eating’ brunch. You can always spot a brunch newbie, who has overindulged so much with food and alcohol that they have a slight green tinge about them by 4pm and even up going home!
The brunch we went to was a table service with sharing platters yesterday, so couldn’t really apply this rule. However, I do think with a sharing platter you are less likely to overindulge because you don’t want to look greedy like you’re taking all of the food from the middle!
5. Avoid Bread!
At many brunches they have a bread station, with so many different types of bread! Crusty bread, baguettes, focaccia, bread sticks, you get the idea. It is like bread heaven! I completely avoid this station, even though I am a bread lover, but just think there are so many other things you could be eating, like nice cuts of meat, seafood etc, why fill yourself up with the bread?
6. Don’t get too bogged down with staying ‘healthy’ that you don’t enjoy yourself!
At the end of a day you’ve gone out to brunch, yes your diet is going to get messed up, yes you are probably to drink your body weight in alcohol! Have a good time and enjoy it! If you are good all week and this is an occasional blowout, do not beat yourself up about it! If its a regular thing you do every weekend and you’re still asking yourself why you don’t have your dream body, then you need to ask yourself which is more important.
When I first moved to Dubai it was hard not to be doing brunches every weekend! Seemed to be the way everybody made friends, or developed friendships with colleagues. However, into my second year here now it’s actually quite rare that I will go out to brunch. Perhaps once every 2 months, if that. Therefore when I do brunch, I do let myself go slightly, however I know that I could not do it every weekend!
7. Don’t carry on the binge/overindulging the next day
Yes you may feel a little rough, however try not to ruin the next day as well with hangover cravings. Drink lots of water and eat a healthy diet, even add in a light workout if you are up to it. You will most likely feel better for it!
8. Personal target- don’t get a pizza from the pizza place downstairs!
I have a really good pizza place downstairs, which is open till 4am! As pizza is one of my favourite foods it often drifts into my head after being on a night out or if I stay out quite late after a day brunch. So very often wake up with a half eaten pizza in my living room after a night out! I’m pleased to say that I didn’t indulge in this last night, after following, well attempting to follow most of my tips.
So that’s it, my tips for trying to be kind of good on a Dubai brunch! Remember being good all the time is kind of boring and yet I may not look like a Victoria Secret model, I’m fit and healthy and know there is more to life than being a size 0. On the other hand, be honest with yourself, if you’re still wondering why you’re not in the same shape as Alessandra Ambrosio when you are brunching every weekend, be real- it’s just not going to happen!