Don’t just pile on, shed it

To avoid overindulging during the holiday season, try mapping out your holiday season in very specific terms, suggests Dr Anupama Singh

health

Festivities are invariably associated with an assortment of mouth-watering, rich, irresistible sweets and snacks. The only way to shed festive weight is by controlling binge eating. Festive bingeing of sweets and other calorie dense food stuffs can lead to health risks like heartburn, flatulence, diarrhoea and/ or constipation and sluggishness. To avoid overindulging during the holiday season, try mapping out your holiday season in very specific terms.

Strategise 

The first thing is to try not to ‘save calories’ by skipping meals. This may cause you to feel more hungry and eat more than you typically do. Don’t go to a party hungry. Eat a light snack before going out. Portion control is the key. Use a smaller plate and eat smaller portions. Choose only the foods you really want in small bite-size servings to reduce over-indulgence. This helps tremendously, knowing you will be enjoying some of your favourite holiday treats.

Make a conscious choice to limit foods that are high in fats. Fill up on low calorie, nutrient-dense foods such as fruits, veggies, and whole grains. Thirst is often mistaken for hunger so stay hydrated with smoothies, coconut water, lime water, and salted lassi, which will maintain the level of optimum fluids that the body needs.

Limit liquid calories by restricting the amount of sweetened drinks, aerated drinks, alcohol and salt that you might consume.

Stock up on home-made sweets and use natural sweeteners like jaggery (rich in iron too), honey, raisins, dates, anjeer (figs), agave syrup instead of refined sugar. Avoid store bought sweets with varkha or foil, sweets using lots of colouring agents, additives or taste enhancers.

Avoid late-night snacking as this can cause indigestion and the excess calories are stored in the body as fat. 

Choose an exercise regime that you enjoy and pick a time that works for you so that you will stick to it.

Make sure to get adequate sleep, since sleep loss is linked to changes in appetite. Getting enough sleep has also been associated with less weight gain. Practice self-compassion as you’re probably going to slip.

It’s the holidays, after all. We tend to revert to our worst behaviour at least a few times during the festive season.

Be prepared for this, and instead of lambasting yourself for failing, congratulate yourself on your stellar effort, and then gently and lovingly try to start again.  

(The author is senior consultant, internal medicine, Vimhans Nayati Super Specialty Hospital, New Delhi)

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