It’s that time of the year again when most of us are getting our calendars sorted to bring in the festive season. Kicking off from Navratri and ending at Diwali with Eid, Durga Puja, Dusshera and often continuing along till Christmas (or maybe even New Year?), for most, this time of the year spells indulgence. Most of us have hit the gym with a vengeance and are following the latest diet with a religious dedication to make sure that we look show-stoppingly great in all our festive finery. And why not? After all this season only comes ones a year, right?
However, for most of us, the much awaited festive season just becomes an extended period where our health goes for a toss, stress levels soar and the battle of the bulge begins yet again. It’s the same story every year, repeating itself with vicious relentlessness. So this year, as you get ready to sort out your wardrobe and ready your social calendar, take a moment and plan how you are going to manage your health. Lucky for you, we have a ready list of simple and smart moves that will ensure that you enjoy to your fullest and don’t compromise your health.
Navigating the food landmine
With all the celebrations comes the food landmine. Sweets loaded with ghee, sugar and dairy and fried and calorie rich foods is what this season seems to be made up off. However, over-indulgence can spell doom for your gut, skin, hair and overall health. Let’s not even talk about what it does to your waistline! However, no one wants to feel deprived during this season so the smartest way to go about it is to follow the principle of ‘eat what you love, leave what you like’ as Lindsey Joe, Registered Dietitian and Nutritionist suggests. Pick only the foods that bring joy to you and leave the rest in the side-line.
Choose your treat day smartly
Yes, the festive season is all about indulgence but that does not validate over–indulgent eating all through the season. Be sensible about your ‘day of indulgence’. That’s right – we said ‘DAY’! Instead of going all-out on all days, choose your one day of indulgence smartly and just let go on that day. The best thing is if you plan to binge you can prep your system beforehand. Eat smaller healthier meals on the days leading up and after to the big party and most importantly, have a small snack before get there. Chances are if you’re not hungry you’ll not hog!
Nix the guilt with the law of diminishing returns
Just like in economics, apply the law of diminishing returns to your diet as well. So while you might want to chomp down on that whole plate of your favourite sweet or savoury treat, remember that the first three bites of your favourite food will satisfy your hunger and emotional delight but with each additional bite your ‘returns’ will diminish. Learn to master this method of eating and you can nix the guilt that comes from over-indulgence.
Choose the ascending order when it comes to calories
This one is simple. When you are at the food table start with the foods that have the lowest calories and then move up the calorie ladder. Chances are, if you start with a simple salad/soup, move to lean proteins and then by the time you’ve reached the gulab jamuns with ice cream all you will need are just a few bits to feel happy and very satisfied!
Avoid holiday food heaven – just because it is festive food, you don’t’ HAVE to eat it
This one is for those who eat festive food because it’s, well, ‘festive’. Get this one rule right – YOU DON’T HAVE TO EAT FESTIVE FOOD BECAUSE IT’S FESTIVE FOOD! So if you wouldn’t normally eat balusahi, lapsi, mawa – kachoris or laddoos, don’t feel compelled to do so just because it’s that time of the year when everyone’s eating them.
Balance the booze and the cola
Well, for those who love the bubbly (or any other drink) remember that you consume almost 100 calories a day from alcoholic beverages. The sneakier colas and packaged fruit juices rack up to 250 calories per 12 ounces. While completely avoiding these might not be possible, alternating one drink (alcoholic or non-alcoholic) with one glass of water, sparkling or still, will help you keep things festive and also under control.
To eat out, work out
Most of us complain that we have no time to exercise. But if you want to remain healthy exercise is essential. Build a ten-minute power workout into your daily routine and managing the festive excess will be a breeze.
Avoid the stress – be it financial or health related
Festive seasons are meant for you to be happy. So consciously make an effort to weed out stress by giving yourself a break when you are feeling overwhelmed with all the action around you. Budget everything – from your shopping list to your food to your health to make sure sneaky stress from these don’t catch up
Finally, remember that the festive season is about connecting with your loved ones. Go to the social gatherings to connect with those who are present and keep your focus on them – not solely on the food table.