The involuntary Addis Ababa diet

I’ve been enjoying a new technique for losing weight.

First, eat or drink something that does not completely agree with you, in a tropical country like Ethiopia.

Then spend three days as fluids gush from every orifice, like a three-cornered fountain in a town square.  The fever flushes and shivers last only a day, and the headaches only for two.

(It seems to defy the laws of physics that you can lose more than your own body-weight in water, but I never understood the thing about which way water swirls down a plughole at the Equator either.)

By the third day, your throat may be sore from the acidic vomit, and you may not have regained your appetite, but you’ll be a lot lighter than you were on Thursday afternoon.

We are still in a hotel, so I don’t have bathroom scales to measure the effect. But I estimate that my weight must now be slightly less than zero.

I’ll keep taking sachets of oral dehydration salts in the hope that my equilibrium will be restored.

Published by Owen Barder

Owen is Senior Fellow and Director for Europe at the Center for Global Development and a Visiting Professor in Practice at the London School of Economics. Owen was a civil servant for a quarter of a century, working in Number 10, the Treasury and the Department for International Development. Owen hosts the Development Drums podcast, and is the author Running for Fitness, the book and website. Owen is on Twitter and

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1 Comment

  1. A little too graphic even for you Owen!

    by the way very glad to see your old blog has now reappeared – i look forward to flicking through it.

    by the way am reading the letters between jawaharlal nehru and his daghter indira gandhi from the time she was about 5 – it strikes me (and i am sure i am not the first!) that there are a lot of similarities between these sorts of compilations of letters and blogging.


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