Why Are We Overweight?

Updated 05 December 2012
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Why Are We Overweight?

The recommended daily calorie intake for the average man should be 2,500 calories, while a woman should consume 2000 calories per day. The average person in Gulf countries consumes 3,000 calories per day and it is eating these extra calories over time that causes obesity. Obesity means the abnormal accumulation of fat and people who are obese have a BMI of over 30.
Just 20 years ago most people were slim but now when you look around being overweight is not unusual; it’s almost the norm. Within a generation the simple, traditional, healthy diets of the past have changed in favor of western-style, high fat, factory-made food. Rocketing levels of obesity are common in newly wealthy countries such as China, India and Brazil
In recent years restaurant chains and fast food outlets have arrived to cash in on the increase in wealth and the need for ready-made meals. Fast food thrives in countries where people are cash rich but time poor.
A recent survey of expatriates showed that they often gained weight after arriving in Gulf countries. Many expatriates come to the Gulf with the main aim of working really hard and saving money to invest in their future, but they forget it is also important to invest in their health.
If we allow ourselves to become unhealthy who are we helping? It is what you do today that affects your health tomorrow.
While there are clinical causes for weight gain, for the majority of us it is due to over-eating and a lack of exercise. But with education it is preventable.
Your Body Mass Index (BMI) gives a good indication if your weight is healthy. I frequently receive letters asking how to calculate BMI, and if you are feeling lazy, you can find a BMI calculator at www.naturalhealthlines.com — or else, you can follow the guide below.

Working It Out
BMI is calculated by dividing your weight in kilograms by your height in meters squared:
BMI = weight (kg)
height (m) x height (m)
Sara weighs 90 kilos and her height is 1.60 meters. The BMI calculation would be:
1.60 times 1.60 = 2.56
90 divided by 2.56 = 35
This gives her BMI, which is interpreted as follows:
under 20: Underweight.
20-25: Ideal healthy weight.
25-30: Overweight and advisable to lose weight.
30-40: You should lose weight for your health as you are in the obese category.
Over 40: Seriously overweight and in grave health danger.
If you find that you are overweight, you need to make a sensible plan and aim to lose weight gradually. You can aim for 250 grams a week by making sensible, gradual changes to exercise and diet every week. Make time for some exercise, even if it is only stair climbing every day. In six weeks, you will notice a difference. You can e-mail [email protected] for a free copy of my healthy eating guide.
If you find that you are overweight or obese it is time to make small changes that will gradually lead to a healthy routine. The weather is now perfect for an early morning walk or an evening stroll; just taking this extra exercise will have an impact on your long-term good health. Try also to fit some exercise into your day such as always taking the stairs for one floor instead of the elevator. Make water your main drink of the day and eat two light meals and one main meal a day. In a normal diet you allowed to have three snacks a day, two of which should be healthy, such as fruit or some nuts — but you can also allow yourself a small treat, such as a small candy bar. Remember that one healthy person inspires another. If you would like more information about healthy living you can sign up for my newsletter by e-mailing [email protected]

Ask Alva
I have a small scar on my face that is red and swollen. Is there anything that I can eat to help it heal quickly?
— Wendy P.

I would recommend you follow a normal, healthy diet, and if you email me [email protected] I can send you a copy of my healthy eating guide. Try taking the following steps too:
Do not expose the scar to the sun, as scar tissue can turn darker than normal tissue in sunlight.
Massage some natural vitamin E oil into the scar two or three times daily. Cosmetic surgeons recommend this to help scars heal faster.
Avoid swimming for a week or two as pool chemicals can prevent the skin from healing properly.


The man who leads millions of chefs from his kitchen in Saudi Arabia

Thomas Gugler
Updated 25 June 2018
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The man who leads millions of chefs from his kitchen in Saudi Arabia

  • Gugler moved to Saudi Arabia in 2002 to join Saudi Arabian Airlines as their executive master chef. In 2009, he co-founded the Saudi Arabian Chefs Association.
  • Now, as president of the World Association of Chefs’ Societies, he is tasked with the significant responsibility of leading more than 10 million members from across 110 countries.

DUBAI: As far as a career in food goes, Thomas Gugler seems to have done it all — from working with five-star hotels and gourmet restaurants to hospitals, airlines, mass catering and teaching in universities. 

Having worked in 13 different countries across the spectrum of the food and beverage industry, Gugler moved to Saudi Arabia in 2002 to join Saudi Arabian Airlines as their executive master chef. In 2009, he co-founded the Saudi Arabian Chefs Association.

“I knew I wanted to become a chef since I was two,” Gugler told Arab News. “My mother and grandmother were both fantastic cooks and that’s how I fell in love with this profession.”

He’s come a long way since he was two in his 35-year-long career, 17 of which he has spent in Saudi Arabia.

Now, as president of the World Association of Chefs’ Societies, he is tasked with the significant responsibility of leading more than 10 million members from across 110 countries.

“We organize worldwide cooking competitions and educational programs, as well as look into issues such as sustainability and cultural cooking. Our role is to build bridges between the commercial part and the consumers.”

With the head of such a prestigious global organization being based in Saudi Arabia, the local industry should be poised for growth, but, according to Gugler, there is plenty of room for improvement.

“Generally, the cooking and food standards here are not the best but with time and effort all this will be developed more and more,” he said.

Socio-political changes and the boost to the Saudi tourism sector will go a long way in developing the food and beverage industry, he believes.

“This will motivate and benefit the entire hospitality industry and raise the level, which is necessary. Stricter rules, regulations and food safety practices will encourage young and talented people in the industry to become better. It’s a golden opportunity,” Gugler said

His personal preference in food veers toward the local. “I like Arabic cuisine. The best kind is the cultural ethnic cuisine, the heritage of which can be traced back centuries. The local Hijazi cuisine is something no one should miss,” he said.