The holiday season calls for gatherings with friends and family over lavish meals and cocktails, resulting in undesired weight gain. We spoke to India’s leading nutritionists and fitness trainers on how to not gain weight during this period. Here’s what they had to say.
How to not gain weight during the holiday season
1. Don’t Starve Yourself
“The best way to keep the excess holiday weight off is by taking it slow, being aware of your hunger levels and eating as per that. All the delicious food at gatherings can be quite mesmerising, and if you are hungry, you will end up overindulging in all the food that is served. A smart thing to do is to take a break between the different varieties of food that you try or the various courses. This will give you enough time to gauge your hunger levels and prevent you from overeating and thereby gaining weight,” says Health Coach, Neha Ranglani.
“Don’t skip your breakfast or any other meal. Don’t keep yourself hungry. Do not crash diet before or after a big celebration, it will automatically make your brain want to binge on the day of a big feast,” adds Celebrity Fitness Instructor, Samiksha Shetty.
2. Snack Wisely
“Snacks such as cookies and kebabs can add up to more calories than main meals. At gatherings, control your portions, step away from the spread and enjoy your favourite food mindfully,” states Lovneet Batra, Clinical Nutritionist.
3. Don’t Skip On Nutritious Food
“Balance your scrumptious and high carb diet with proteins. Foods comprising high protein content will help you stay full for a longer period of time and you will be able to lose some weight by overcoming your appetite,” remarks Ruchi Sharma, Wellness Consultant and Founder, Eat Fit Repeat.
“Add proteins from dal, rajma, chana and eggs when eating at home, and aim for 4-5 servings of seasonal vegetables a day,” adds Lovneet Batra.
4. Moderation Is Key!
“The holiday season is all about getting together with family and friends, which inadvertently leads to lots of high caloric food and even more alcohol. Instead of completely cutting out food groups, the key to not putting on weight is moderation and healthy alternatives. For instance, switch to using almond flour for cakes instead of normal flour or utilise jaggery instead of refined sugar while making sweets. In addition, even the kind of alcohol you drink could make a difference. Beer is very high in calories as compared to wine, so choose your poison wisely!” says Shashi Thadani, CEO and Founder, IN2 Nutrition.
“With regards to desserts and sweet treats, I like to follow the ‘2-3 bite rule.’ You may want it but you don’t really need that much of it. So stick to the ‘2-3 bite rule.’ This formula doesn’t make you feel deprived, yet helps you not go overboard!” states Nyela Kapadia, Fitness Trainer and Co-Founder, Intermittent Fasting and Mindful Living.
“Skipping a meal or fasting to compensate for a high calorie dinner is a horrible idea. Eating small, regular meals, will keep your blood sugar stable and prevent cravings. Also, you will be less likely to overeat. Additionally, watch out for liquid calories! The holiday season results in an increase in the consumption of mocktails and cocktails. These are usually loaded with sugar and empty calories. If you are trying to control your weight, opt for the famous ‘Skinny Bitch’ cocktail comprising vodka, soda and lime, or simply a glass of champagne. Remember, it’s not about what you drink, but also how much!” adds Nutritionist Neha Sahaya.
5. Keep Moving
“We all get busy or lazy during the holiday season. As much as I love being a couch potato and binge-watching my favourite shows, I know that movement is important. Keep moving throughout the day. If you don’t have too much time, then start your day with a few Surya Namaskars!” remarks Samiksha Shetty.
“When it comes to workouts, remember that something is better than nothing. Do whatever you can to squeeze in just 20 minutes of exercise into your day. A short burst of HIIT (high-intensity interval training) would be perfect. Moreover, while your targeted workout schedule may go haywire, try and keep up with the minimum of 10,000 steps a day to ensure you are not completely sedentary,” adds Nyela Kapadia.
6. Don’t Be Too Hard On Yourself
“Food is an integral part of the holidays, you can enjoy eating your favourite food without worrying about your weight by incorporating a few lifestyle and diet changes. These include increasing your water intake, avoiding eating late, having at least one fruit a day, drinking two cups of green tea and eating more homemade food rather than ordering from restaurants. Finally and most importantly, eat without feeling guilty!” says Kamna Bhandari, Nutritionist and Co-Founder, Intermittent Fasting and Mindful Living.
“Don’t deprive yourself of your favorite food. Practice mindfulness by eating smaller portions. You’ll find that those small helpings of your favorite dishes are far more satisfying than overdoing it. Also, this is not the best time to lose weight, not when someone is offering you a cocktail, a cheese platter or desserts every day. During the holiday season, aim at maintaining your current weight!” concludes Neha Sahaya.
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