Escape… for health, and a fresh perspective.

I am 42 years old. I’ve put on eight kilos in the past two years, and am getting really worried. I attend gym regularly, eat sensibly, and binge only occasionally. I’ve even gone for tests — my thyroid, blood sugar level are fine. My husband teases me that the weight gain is due to politics in my office. I do worry a lot. Please advise.

— Chandra T.

Your husband could be right — worry can make you gain weight. When you feel that life is treating you unfairly, you tend to reach out more often for fat-filled foods to compensate. It’s a subconscious reflex, and you may not even realise how many times you say “Oh what the hell, just this once…!” I suggest certain out-of-the-box steps:

Take a break from your office for 10 days. It’s not to escape, but to gain a fresh perspective. Distance makes things appear less threatening. If you’re the athletic sort, climb a hill. Even if not, spend maximum time outdoors. This is the opposite of leading an indoor office life — being on the side where the grass is greener offers new insights.

Adopt a pragmatic viewpoint that whatever happened, is happening, and will happen, is necessary. Think gratefully of what you’ve learnt. Extend mental blossoms of love to yourself and those at the office, troublemakers included. It’s healthier and more soothing than discharging arrows of judgment — believe me!

Re-empower yourself by listing things that interest and excite you, that make you want to stop doing all other things to concentrate on them. Start working on one or two of these things. When the worry-energy is harnessed for deeply personal, significant matters, your inner transformation is tremendous. And the importance of office politics shrinks.

Focus…focus…focus on making your professional and personal life full of beauty, interest, and love. Your intentions and thoughts will find a vibrational match, and you’ll find good things happening to you. Increase your cardiovascular exercise time to burn fat. Cut out fat and sweets for seven days and…prepare for a dramatic difference!

When I consulted the dentist, she said I have ulcers in my mouth. She has given me a gel to apply, but it hasn’t helped much except given temporary relief. What should I do?

— Deepak K.

Consult your family physician as he/she knows your medical history best. For example, medicines for arthritis cause deficiencies that bring on ulcers. Normally, a combination of folic acid and B12 capsules are prescribed. Meanwhile, avoid hot and spicy foods. Have curd daily — it provides good bacteria to fight bad bacteria that could be aggravating the ulcers.

For breakfast, I have a cup of coffee, hot poha and a jalebi. My dietician said it’s okay to have a sweet for breakfast as long as I don’t have any sweet after that. However, I find that by 11 a.m., I am ravenous as though I’ve not had breakfast at all! Is this abnormal? Please advise.

— D.D. Rao

You’re ravenous by mid-morning because your breakfast is all carbohydrates and sugar. This gives a temporary energy rush when your blood sugar rises rapidly, but it falls as rapidly and causes acute hunger. Amend your breakfast diet:

Forget the jalebi, which has refined sugar. Have a fruit instead, preferably 20-30 minutes before breakfast. An apple or mango, for example, adds fibre to your diet and stabilises your blood sugar levels, so that you won’t feel hungry until lunch.

Include protein — like an egg, or mix a fistful of boiled channa or moong sprouts in your poha. Protein balances your breakfast and blood sugar levels. With these two steps, you’ll be fine. Have a jalebi only once a month — after a good exercise session! If you’re still peckish mid-morning, bite into an apple. And the best way to stave off cravings, which is zero-calories: Get really busy!

The writer is co-author of the book ‘Fitness for Life’.

Queries may be sent to life@thehindu.co.in

Picture by Sampath Kumar G.P.

(This article was published on July 26, 2012)
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