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We suggest you eat what you want, but ensure that you don’t go above your calorie requirements

The Battle of the Bulge was a decisive allied victory in Belgium during World War 2. In today’s age of overindulgence and gluttony, it defines a new conflict - the battle against expanding waistlines and escalating ill-health.

The fact of the matter is, we aren’t getting enough exercise and are eating more than we require. Fitness magazines, infomercials, websites, fad diets, dubious supplements and gimmicky weight-loss programs promise big results, but are often risky and almost never lead to permanent weight loss.

The key to weight loss is not only in losing it, but in maintaining your ideal weight through good old exercise and watching what you eat. It all comes down to the simple equation of calories in v/s calories out. If you eat less than you burn, you lose weight. If you eat more than you can burn, you’ll gain it. (There are many apps and websites that will give you this information.)

You need to get active in order to shed those extra pounds. Professionals recommend getting more than 250 minutes of moderate intensity cardiovascular exercise per week. This may include walking, swimming, tennis or cycling, to name a few. Resistance training such as weightlifting and yoga is essential to preserve lean muscle mass and shed excess body fat. The body gets used to a regimen, so aim for a six-day exercise week - four for cardiovascular workouts and two for strength training.

Now obviously you’re getting fit, but the years of complacency and lethargy (read as excess body weight) needs to be shed. You need to reduce your intake by 1,000 calories per day. That means if you burn 400 calories from exercise, you then need to reduce your food intake by another 600 calories in order to shed 2 pounds a week.

You SHOULD NOT go below the minimum requirement the body needs in order to function, which is 1,200 calories for women and 1,800 calories for men. Drink a lot of water. Most of the time we feel hungry because we are thirsty and misread the signs.

Now, there is a whole science behind the type of foods to eat. Proteins, vitamins, carbs and the different nutrients all work in one way or another. We say that you should eat what you want. Don’t go all authoritarian on yourself. Yes, do eat a lot of fruit, vegetables, lean proteins and whole wheat carbs. Try to stave off junk foods. But, if you want to indulge on a pizza at a party, or gorge on samosas at an office luncheon…do it!

Keeping an eye on your weight is key. Do it only once a week, every week, preferable in the morning and preferably without the added weight of your clothes. Try to weigh in using the same machine, and at the same time, to ensure an accurate trend analysis. There is nothing more exciting than fitting into your jeans, and then with the progression of time, going to the store to buy one with a smaller waistline.

Ensure that you don’t go above your calorie requirements. One slice of pizza could very well eat in to your daily requirements by almost a quarter. Try to keep the weekends for your indulgence and craving. If you do exceed your calorie requirement, do not try to overcompensate the next day.

Health is also interminably linked to your spiritual and emotional disposition. Stress, unhappiness and worry can all lead to weight gain. Stay happy, meet with friends and family, and try to get at least 7 hours of sleep every night. Do what de-stresses you, and not what distresses you.

Be patient and hold on to the conviction. This Battle of the Bulge is a constant struggle. But it CAN and WILL be won.

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