There is a saying in Dubai that 'your increasing waist size is directly proportional to your bank balance'. But regardless of bank balances the UAE does have rising rates of obesity.

Although many people find the money to spare for a gym membership, few actually find the time to make it regularly. Many attribute this to long working hours that stretch from 10 to 14 hours every day, which prompts them to eat easily available unhealthy food at workstations.

Dr Percy King, senior GP who has been practising more than 35 years in the UAE, makes a valid point: "It's just the lazy lifestyle here and the high cholestrol food intake that are responsible for the weight increase, by and large. Even the climate is too unfriendly for a stroll by the park."

Daniel Henry, a freelance IT professional, relies on fast food on a daily basis. "After work, I have no energy left to hit the gym I pay for, nor do I know how to cook a proper meal," he says.

Most of us wait till the doctor sets off the alarm, or until we realise the bills have gone way past what insurance covers.

Healthy habits

How can we get a lazy and laid-back person started on health-friendly habits? "You have to first make the person understand what is good for him, and get him motivated to do something as per the individual's preference. And then strategise in a way that there is no quitting (working-out). Then automatically he will start feeling better. And he will never stop working out as he knows that's why he is
feeling and looking good," says Red, personal fitness trainer at Fitness First.

Can we get off the couch and introduce the treadmill? With more fitness options and yet more glamour magazines out on the shelves, at least a few will be motivated to hit the gyms or do something about the lethargy that is keeping us fat. We can't wait for scientists to find the perfect diet for us. The rules are simple and easily available if one looks around. The hard part is to start following them.

Easier said than done — that's exactly what one says in Dubai.