We joke about ‘The Dubai Stone” – but according to experts, it’s no expat legend. In fact, recent studies reveal that between 30 and 40% of all newcomers to Dubai quickly gain 14 pounds of body weight by falling under the spell of Friday brunches, free drinks on nights out, and endless home delivery options. And if that isn’t enough, we’ve just stuffed ourselves silly at Christmas on Quality Street, mince pies and a myriad of other temptations that we just couldn’t resist. So what can we do to turn the tables and get back to our optimum weight? We’ve rounded up some options (but we’re sorry to report that dressing in sports kit to drop the kids at school and then heading off for breakfast didn’t make the cut)…

1. Join a weight loss group

With weekly weight loss meetings taking place back home in drafty church and village halls, you can be forgiven for thinking the same wasn’t offered in Dubai – but alas, you are wrong! Companies do exist here to help you get back into shape – such as Good Habits UAE, who run weekly meet-ups where you can surround yourself with like-minded people and get help from professional nutritionists. And with the date scrawled in your diary each week, accepting brunch invitations suddenly doesn’t seem such a brilliant idea…

2. Hire a personal trainer

Having a personal trainer probably seemed like a bit of a luxury back in the UK, but with the cost of gym memberships being what they are in the UAE, hiring a personal trainer to work out in your apartment gym or in al fresco location can actually be cost effective. And not only that, but knowing that person is on their way will give you the perfect incentive to climb out of bed and into your gym gear – even if it is silly-o-clock in the morning…

3. Join a boot camp

If it is still out of budget, however, signing up to a package of boot camps can give you the same motivation to keep going when you really want to lie down on the floor and have a little snooze.  Sessions are run regularly in air-conditioned gyms, your leafy community park, and on the sand (with enviable views of the Arabian Gulf, which make those squats just that little bit more bearable…)

4. Order calorie-controlled food

It’s late and you’ve got nothing in the kitchen – but don’t let that rumbling tummy convince you to blow all that hard work. Swap calorie-rich curries, pizzas, and 200g bars of Dairy Milk chocolate for healthy, calorie-controlled portions from a healthy takeaway company. Kcal, for example, lists all nutritional information on the menu and will deliver to your door, with almost every dish coming under 300 calories.

5. Try a cleanse

Still don’t feel motivated to turn down that invite to ladies night? Investing in a cleanse will give you the push you need – after all, depriving your body of food for a while isn’t the easiest, so why blow it for one night out? Whether it’s a juice cleanse, a herbal cleanse, or a full-on fast, there are plenty of companies in Dubai like Detox Delight who can provide the goods and counsel you through it. And the best news? When you reach the end, those companies promise you’ll feel so good that you’ll be motivated to keep the new healthy regime going. Who needs all-you-can-eat brunches anyway, right?

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