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The Battle of the Bulge – How I Keep Winning & Losing It


By Kulbhushan Kain

The Battle of the Bulge was among the most important battles of the Second World War, along with Stalingrad, D-Day, Monte Cassino, and Midway. It marked the last major offensive attempted by Germany against American troops, and after the loss – the Germans kept retreating for the remainder of the war.

The greatest battles I have fought throughout my life have been the battles against the bulge of my stomach! It’s been my greatest adversary and keeps coming back with regularity, especially during the festive season.

I keep warding off its evil design.

I have always counted my calories but, once in a while, I get encouraged to eat to my heart’s content. There are two aspects to eating food as far as I am concerned. First –the way it impacts my looks. Yes, I am bothered about it. Call me a dandy –but I don’t care. I DON’T want to look fat and flabby with rolls of fat around my tummy, chest, or hips. Secondly – I am concerned about the impact my weight will have on my health. Being overweight can lead to hypertension (high blood pressure) and blocked arteries. It can also lead to diabetes and knee pain. Once in a while, these uninvited “guests” visit me. I was having great fun at a party in Jaipur one day, when the adorable doctor friend of mine, Dr Sudhir Bhandari looked at me, saw what I was eating and drinking, and told me, “It’s good to get your blood tests done once in a while.” It was his way of telling me to go slow on what I eat and drink. And sure enough, when I got my blood tests done –my cholesterol was slightly high. I did nothing – I just changed what I ate and drank.

Here are some facts that everyone should know. First, that one packet of chips for which a famous and handsome film star advertises contains more trans-fat and salt than are required for your body in two days! Secondly, that one bottle of your favorite cola contains more sugar than what your body requires for 3 days. Thirdly, it is common for children and unaware adults to down more than 2 bottles of cola and two packets of chips in a day. Can you imagine what colossal harm you are doing to your body if you are indulging in mindless eating, over the years? It may not show on a day-to-day basis but over the years – one becomes a sitting duck for the unknown disease hunters!

I may not be an Arnold Schwarzenegger, but I am still wearing jeans that I purchased many years ago. And here is something I have done with great regularity and discipline that helps me control my weight.

1. I wear trousers, shirts and T-shirts- and not dhotis, kurtas and pajamas with elastics – dhotis and tracksuits don’t come by waist sizes – T-shirts, shirts, and trousers do. When the tailor measures me – he gives me the jitters more than a doctor. An inch extra means I have to go back to punishing myself into an eating and exercising regime.

2. I count my calories. I avoid beer and never drink colas or syrupy juices.

3. I walk on an average 12.5 kms every day and within a stipulated time frame of 76 minutes. I try to cut down the time without cutting down the distance.

4. I measure my waist and weigh myself. I look at myself in the mirror at least once a day (a full-length mirror).

That’s all I do. I do not go to the gym. But the battle of the bulge continues –day after day. It’s like the rising sun (the problem) and my response is like the setting sun! Both never miss their deadlines. I don’t cheat others, but once in a while, I cheat myself. Like today – I had Biryani, with a plate of paneer butter masala and two butter paranthas for lunch. And a small cup of my favourite butter scotch ice cream and “pedhas” from Mathura!

Someone sent me an email during the year-ending week. It read, “The Japanese eat very little fat and suffer fewer heart attacks than the Canadians, British, or Americans. The Mexicans eat a lot of fat and also suffer fewer heart attacks than the Canadians, British, or Americans. The Japanese drink very little red wine and suffer fewer heart attacks than the Canadians, British or Americans.

The Italians drink excessive amounts of red wine and also suffer fewer heart attacks than the Canadians, British, or Americans. The Germans drink a lot of beer and eat lots of sausages and fats and suffer fewer heart attacks than the Canadians, British, or Americans. Ukrainians drink a lot of vodka, eat a lot of perogies, cabbage rolls and sausage, and suffer fewer heart attacks than the Canadians, British, or Americans.”

Conclusion: Eat and drink what you like.

Sometimes it’s fine to not count the calories and remember what Jay Leno said and I quote, ‘For the first time, overweight people outnumber the average people in America. Doesn’t that make overweight people the average then?”

Last month if one was fat, now you are average! So what if we are not Americans!!

(Kulbhushan Kain is an award winning educationist with more than 4 decades of working in schools in India and abroad. He is a prolific writer who loves cricket, travelling and cooking. He can be reached at kulbhushan.kain @gmail.com)