For the last few years, I’ve had a watery discharge from my ears, lasting about 10 days at a time. With antibiotics and eardrops, it gets cured only to recur after six to eight months. What should I do?

— R.C. Yadav

From your description, it sounds like you’re susceptible to ear infections. It happens when the ear begins to hold moisture. Moisture breeds germs that serve up infection.

It happens mostly to swimmers, people who wear hearing aids, and those who constantly ‘clean’ their ears with cotton-tipped swabs or use paper-clips to scoop out wax from their ears. Sometimes, the eardrum gets an undeserved poke and ruptures.

The trick is to keep the ears dry. While swimming or showering, keep at your ear’s edge cotton coated with petroleum jelly. Or wear wax/ silicone earplugs and use a latex cap that covers the ears. If using a hearing aid, take it out often and allow the ear to dry.

Avoid loud music; the blast is bad for sensitive eardrums. Protect the ears from cold air and avoid blowing your nose hard.

While flying, if the airplane changes its altitude and the pressure inside and outside the ears is not equal, it can cause the eardrum to perforate. To prevent this, chew gum during a flight. And avoid dozing off.

Daily, sit with eyes closed and visualise a gentle, white light entering your ears and healing the inside.

Be patient. Have faith. With proper care, it can take about two years to heal completely.

I’m 32, a hardcore non-vegetarian, and wish to lose at least 5 kg. Is it possible to lose weight with a non-vegetarian diet? If so, could you suggest a diet plan for me, please? It should be quick and easy to make, as I attend office and cook for myself in the evening.

— Sarita K.

Here’s a sample diet-plan:

Breakfast: 1 boiled egg, 1 slice of multi-grain bread toasted; 1 cup skimmed milk, 1 orange.

Mid-morning: 1 cup tea/ coffee.

Lunch: 1 big bowl salad made with 2 tomatoes, 1 onion, 2 cucumbers, 2 carrots, 20 boiled French beans mixed with 1 cup of boiled Jammu rajma , 1 cup lightly steamed moong sprouts. Toss with salt, mint leaves, pepper powder, celery. If you find this too dry, sprinkle lime juice, vinegar, or 1–2 tablespoons of low-fat curd. Have a guava. And wash it down with a glass of thin buttermilk.

Evening: 2 dry cream crackers, 1 cup tea/ coffee.

Dinner: 100 g chicken tikka ; 1 bowl salad: roasted cabbage (1 small one), cauliflower (10 florets), 2 large capsicum, 5 chunky button mushrooms steamed lightly, garnished with chaat masala powder and coriander leaves; ½ cup brown rice cooked; 1 cup low-fat curd; 1 guava.

Water: Drink 1.5 litres daily.

Try this for 10 days — you ought to lose 1-2 kg. Avoid red meats. For hunger pangs, if any, keep roasted channa and boiled sweet potatoes handy.

As you follow this plan, you will find what works for you and you can modify it. Try your best to include a half-hour brisk walk or stationary cycling daily. It keeps the blood circulation and metabolism moving at a healthy pace.

I’m a woman about 5 ft tall, weighing 58 kg. I have too much fat on the belly, hips and thighs. I cycle and walk 5 km regularly but without any results. Please suggest waysto reduce the extra fat.

— Udai P.

I assure you that your cycling and walking are having positive outcomes — enhanced blood circulation, higher stamina, better fat-burning… In addition, you need to tone your body and watch your food intake.

Hip-toners: Side leg-raises: Lie on your right side, head supported by right palm. Raise left leg to 90 degrees, and then lower it without touching right leg. Do this 100 times. Next, lie on left side and repeat 100 times with right leg.

Thigh-toners: Crossover lifts — Lie on right side. Cross left leg over to the front, knee bent, left foot on floor. Grasp left ankle with left hand. Keeping right leg straight, raise and lower right leg 100 times. Next, lie on left side and repeat 100 times with left leg.

Abdominal toner: Hyperextensions — Lie on back. Fold legs in lotus position flat against floor. Grasp a 2.5-pound dumbbell in each hand. Raise both arms frontwards until the fists point to ceiling — this is your starting position. Now, move both arms backward and low until dumbbells are an inch away from floor. Raise back to starting position. Lower and raise 100 times. In a month’s time, switch to 5-pounders if you are conditioned enough.

Develop the right attitude towards food. Emulate your fit friends with healthy eating habits and avoid hanging out with habituated hoggers.

Avoid fried and sweet foods. Stock healthy snacks — vegetables and fruits. Cook your regular meals in fat-free curries (no oil/ ghee/ butter.) When you eat out, choose low-fat options. If that’s not possible, exercise strict portion control.

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