A slice too many

A slice too many

A slice too many
The festive season is upon us and calories are smiling at you from everywhere in the form of attractive cookies, appetising cakes, wines and other lip-smacking drinks. Leftover pie-slices and tasty tarts in the refrigerator keep inviting you to indulge. With food a big part of the Yuletide season, one tends to binge a tad bit more. However, health and wellness experts are there to help one keep away from excessive holiday eating and keep an eye on their health.

Anamika Gonsalvez, a young professional, says that it is difficult to stay away from sweet treats of the season like rose cookies and plum cakes. “I keep my family and friends informed that I follow a particular diet so that they do not bring sweets or thick concentrated wines as gifts. Also, whenever I go for a party, I watch whatever I eat,” she says. She stays away from dinner parties and attends events which have games and socialising.

“There is dancing, talking and games, so the concentration on food is minimal. Also, if it is a potluck dinner party, which I cannot avoid, I make it a point to take healthy snacks for everyone,” she adds.

Health experts like Dr Priyanka Rohatgi, chief clinical dietician with Apollo Hospitals, says that keeping oneself hydrated is important during the festive season. “When one binges uncontrollably, one should remember to drink a lot of water. If you are hydrated enough, you will binge less. It is also important to exercise regularly,” she says. She adds that it is important to keep a tab on the number of footsteps one takes through a day during this time.

“There are so many apps that one can access to keep a tab on this. An average human needs to walk 10,000 footsteps which can be monitored on a pedometer app. So, when you closely monitor it and find that you’ve walked only 2,000 or 3,000 steps, you will make an effort to do the same,” she says.

When headed to a party, “it is always better to eat something and go. When you are hungry, you end up eating much more and consuming anything that is available,” she says.

Priyanka adds that “one should concentrate on foods that are lesser in sugar content. Don’t skip the meal and jump to the desserts directly. Always pick up some healthy snacks and then the main course meal, after which one can have minimal desserts. Portion control should also be adhered to. Also, remember to hydrate oneself throughout the meal with lime juice or fruits,” she says.

Protein-rich food like chicken or ‘paneer’ dishes, which are not visibly greasy, would be good options to have and avoid consuming ‘maida’- based snacks, she points out. “Too much sweet in a meal item or dessert is also a bad option. Beverages like wines or other drinks should also be avoided or consumed carefully. Fruit drinks are the best way to go,” says Priyanka.

She says that she has heard of cases of ‘Chronic Fatigue Syndrome’ where people haven’t eaten healthy and feel tired throughout the day. “The best quick fix to this is hydrating oneself with electrolytes.” She adds that when one has consumed a heavy meal loaded with carbohydrates, they are bound to feel sleepy. “The right balance of everything is important. Also, the moment one feels half-full, stop eating.”

Others like Ranjani Raman, dietician and nutrition consultant, says that it is that part of the year, when there is a box of sweets or junk food around one always and people are tempted easily.

“It is a big challenge to steer away from sweets during this time, but one can choose the ones they eat. Instead of having completely fried food or extremely sugar-high sweets, it is better to indulge in milk and jaggery-based sweets, which are nutritious too, though they are high in calories,” she says. She adds that even dryfruit-based sweets are a good option.

“When consuming a sweet, always chew and enjoy each bite thoroughly, so that you feel satisfied. One could have one laddoo or 10 laddoos at one go, but it’s all about how you feel.”

She adds that it’s always best to have a sweet during the first part of the day — mornings or afternoons than during the evenings. “We end up not using calories during the later part of the day, which ends up in depositing as fat,” she says.

Others like Shankar SB, who works as a fitness consultant with corporate and wellness clubs in the City says that one needs to understand the amount of calories incurred during consumption, rather than trying to deal with the holiday weight later.

“There are two types of people — the ones who are aware of the amount of calories they are consuming and the others who have a lot of junk food, without understanding the after-effects,” he says.

He adds that the latter are the ones “who often settle with the idea of holiday weight and crib or struggle with it after the season”.

The safest way, he says is “to be conscious about whatever is going into your body”. “If you have a few extra sweets on a particular day, cardio-exercises that will burn the calories is the best way out. Often, many feel that walking is all that is required to burn calories but exercising should be as intensive as consumption,” he says.

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