Dubai isn’t an easy place to lose weight. How many of us were caught by the Dubai stone and have never quite managed to shift it? Sitting at a desk all day, fine-dining, and Friday brunches don’t help, but there are ways to shift the pounds while still enjoying all that Dubai has to offer. Here are 10 tips to try…
Face facts: The first step to halting your expanding waistline is to work out where your starting from. Hop on the scales then work out your Body Mass Index (BMI). This is a medically-sound way of working out whether you’re a healthy weight and how many pounds you could do with shifting.
Start small, if you’ll pardon the pun: Portion control is the key to keeping your weight down. This means eat whatever you like, but less of it. By cupping your hands together you can work out how big your stomach is. Each meal that you eat should be able to fit into your hands. Easy.
Get moving: This doesn’t mean signing up for the gym, just move more. Take as many breaks as you can from your desk, even if it’s just walking to the furthest water cooler away for a drink. Even small steps like a few press-ups or star jumps every day when you get out of bed will help.
Take the stairs whenever you can, and park as far away from the shops if you’re hitting the mall. The walk back to your car, after a stroll around Spinneys, with a basket not a trolley if you can, is better than nothing if you can’t fit the gym into your routine.
Keep clubbing: We’re lucky enough to have a pretty awesome range of nightlife in Dubai. The biggest names in the world flock to our shores every month and dancing is one of the best forms of exercise. Plus, you don’t even know you’re burning calories ‘cos you’re having fun.
Brunch clever: Brunches are as much a part of Dubai weekends as beaches are. They’re also the main culprit for the famous Dubai stone. There’s no need to skip them, just be clever. Do some exercise on Friday morning before you head out. Start your brunch with a large glass of water to make you feel fuller.
Enjoy a bit of everything but keep your portions small and use a side plate. This means you can’t pile it high and you have to get up to go back for more. Drinks-wise, bubbly is only 80 calories a glass. Use soda water as a mixer with other drinks to keep the calories down.
Get help: If you feel like your struggling with your eating and you can’t work out why, you might need a bit of extra help. Dubai is home to dozens of nutritionists. Another option is hypnotherapy. It worked for British pop princess Lily Allen and encourages you to think differently about food. Dubai hypnotherapist Alla Tchemodanova could help.
Eat with friends: This sounds like a silly one as eating out too much is often seen as the cause of weight-gain but if you’re chatting with friends, and dinner is more of an occasion, it’s less tempting to binge. Just make sure you dodge the bread basket, or at least go for the multigrain options.
Learn to cook: Again, you wouldn’t have thought spending more time around food would help you shift the pounds, but once you know what goes into your favourite dishes, you’re less inclined to eat too much of them. Sign-up to a cookery class – both Verre and Tang run them in Dubai – and learn how to cook properly with fresh ingredients, rather than reaching for the takeaway menu. All that chopping and dashing around the kitchen keeps you on your feet too.
Pack that lunch: More people than ever are bringing their own lunch into work as a money saving measure but it’s also better for your health. You can prepare a calorie-friendly dinner the night before, eat half, then bring the rest in to heat up the next day. Save your cash for weekend fun and be healthy, win-win.
Don’t think about it: The biggest trap to fall into when you’re trying to lose weight is to become obsessed with food and what you can, and can’t, eat. Don’t ban yourself from eating anything but think about what you put into your body as fuel when you need it, rather than something you stuff in out of habit.
If you’re not hungry, don’t eat. Keep busy and think about other fun stuff rather than your next meal and the weight will drop off while you get on with the rest of your life.