Feel like this festive season is proving to be a challenge for your waist line? This is a battle that you are not fighting alone. A recent survey by a leading Fitness magazine found that approximately 47 percent of women gained an average of four to five pounds during the festival season — thanks to delicious food at parties and meetings, busy schedules, and an increased amount of stress.
Since we’re concerned for our readers, here are our tips on how to enjoy the festivities and still win the battle with the bulge this festive season.
Image source: Google, copyright-free image under Creative Commons License
When there’s not enough time to workout
Are you feeling overwhelmed and struggling to find time to balance the loads of things on your plate? With the plethora of social obligations at this crucial time of the month, the first thing that gets removed from the to-do list (naturally J), is the workout. However, if you think that you absolutely do not have any time to fit in a workout, these strategies will help you stick to your weight goals:
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1. Try to fit in a small regime
If you can make a few very minute and easy changes to your workout, it can help you win the battle with the bulge through the festive season. In case you are not following it already, switch to a morning workout. The objective is to get it out of the way, before social obligations, lethargy, or a sinful box of mithai beckons. If you do have time in the evening, invest in sweat-wicking performance gear so that you’re comfortable, especially during the outdoor workouts in the cold.
2. Stack up more efficiency in less time
You might not have the time for long (usual 1 hour plus) workout, but you would agree that you can fit in short bursts of exercise in between your packed schedule. Take on more cleaning chores that are physically intense, bend and place all the diyas across the house… you will suddenly become aware of muscles you never knew existed! If you do have the time and inclination, focus on a full body high intensity home workout in short bursts of 10 – 15 minutes, whenever you have the time, that will help you stay in shape, despite not hitting the gym.
All that food making you lose self-control?
It’s hard to say no at times, what with the unending temptation less than an arm’s length away — and if you’re frequenting parties this festive season, the smell, the visual treats can easily overwhelm you. But what you can do is come armed with a few of these very simple pointers at your next Diwali party, and you definitely won’t need to deny yourself anymore.
1. While in the line for food, choose wisely
Simple strategies can help prevent you from eating too much at a party. Start with the salad and consciously load your dinner plate with proteins instead of carbs, and you shall survive the threat of putting on weight.
2. Have a look at other things other than food
Too much food around you, but you’re watching your weight? Take your mind off all the food. Engage yourself in mindless banter with your acquaintances, or have deep intellectual conversations with all those pseudo-intellectuals that you will find at the party. You might be left feeling mind-numbed at the end, but you will be satisfied that you did not gorge on those tempting laddoos on the display table.
3. Watch your drink
If you need your drink to get the party started, you need to think again. Ensure you hydrate yourself and save those calories by drinking water before and after each alcoholic drink you have, to fill yourself up before you guzzle in liquid calories. Tell yourself the punch bowl is your enemy and steer clear from it.
4. Healthy options instead of calorie-loaded temptations
- Try to have healthy options like fresh and/or dry fruits when you go visiting people. Dry fruits are a really good option, instead of fried foods and other sweets. Just remember, too much of anything is bad.
- Go for food items that constitute of a lot of water content as they are not only filling, but are also low in calories, fats and sugars, such as chestnuts, green chana, sprouts.
- Simple beverages like coffee and tea, thandai, and natural extracts in beverage form (rose water, kewara water, and jaljeera) are other healthy options to go for if you’re looking at cutting excess carbs.
- Try and prepare healthy versions of your favorite sweets, with natural ingredients, and as far as possible, ask your friends to do the same!
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Most of us are careful and watchful about what we eat, but we often ignore what we drink when on a diet. This is a cardinal mistake. Reality is, people can get around one-fifth of their daily calories from beverages. Hence, choosing the right drink is critical both for your metabolic rate and your appetite control. Watching what you drink this festive season is important for your waistline:
1. Fizzy drinks, the spoilers
Every time you have a sweet fizzy drink, you should be aware that you’re consuming hundreds and hundreds of absolutely empty calories. Even if you are thinking of switching to the popular diet soft drinks, multiple researches have mixed views on whether this change results in weight loss.
2. Water, the helper
Switching out your fizzy drink for water will work like a charm. The kicker is that the benefits are beyond calorie intake and also helps you curb your appetite. Drinking two glasses of water before any meal encourages your stomach to feel full more quickly than normal, which will in turn result in you not eating as much. In addition to all of this, research has suggested that drinking plenty of water will keep you hydrated and also have a positive effect on your metabolism.
3. Fruit juice, the jury’s out
A juice (depending on what you are drinking) may have as many calories as a carbonated drink. But the nutrients are something that cannot be ignored. The safest option is to look for 100% fruit juice with the least amount of sugar and preservatives. Steer absolutely clear of juice drinks that have added sweeteners; instead, look on the label for the percentage of real juice. A great hack is to dilute your juice with water (how much ever you want and can tolerate) as that will also help you slash the calories.
4. Smoothies go a long way
This is a fantastic option for a beverage as it is tasty and healthy and also very easy to make. Blend strawberries and any other low calorie fruit in the frothy smoothie, and what you’ve got is a delicious arsenal of disease-fighting vitamins and minerals. Making smoothies at home is the best option as you can use skimmed milk, yogurt, and fresh fruits, ensuring that the calorie count and the taste are both to your liking.
5. Cocktails, the massive spoilers
Liquor has its fair share of calories, but the killer is when you mix it with the calorie heavy weights like ice cream and carbonated drinks. Reality check, a normal White Russian made even with light cream has an approximated 715 calorie count! Whew!! A better and lower calorie option would be vodka or a white rum with a diet drink, or better still, with a fresh tomato or orange (sugarless, of course). Hence, if you feel the need to drink, go neat!
A tightly packed schedule leading to increased stress?
Festivities while fun, can also be very taxing. With the cleaning of house, celebration, visiting friends and relatives, there just doesn’t seem to be enough time. Packing all these activities in, means added stress. If you are feeling overwhelmed you are certainly not alone, and these simple tricks can help you combat the minor panic attacks that kick in:
- Wake up early and meditate for 5 – 10 minutes to calm your mind. Listen to songs (Bhajans or otherwise) that fill you with positive energy.
- Try and fit in a few minutes of exercise – this could be squats, planks, wall pushups, or whatever else that is your exercise of choice. Play your favorite song as this will get your happy hormones pumping and will help keep your stress levels in check.
- Eat for stress (yes, no kidding!). Vitamin C-rich foods help you fight stress, so eat all your citrus fruits, and snack on almonds without any guilt.
Suggested read: Green tea, the weight loss wonder
Stay active and maintain those calories
If you are hugely worried about how you shall maintain your figure during this festive season, we have a great plan for you. It might sound like a silly idea, but it’s a proven fact that working around the house helps a great deal in keeping those calories in check. Normal household chores like dusting, cleaning cobwebs, etc., are highly recommended for people who are not getting sufficient time to visit the gym. And if you’re done with your own house, why worry? You can always help your friends with their cleaning and kill two birds with one stone: gain brownie points from them as well as get your own share of workout!
Hope that with these tips, you are ready to battle the upcoming festival of lights and any other festival to come. Stay fit, but do not lose out on all the fun of festivities!
Featured image source: Google, copyright-free image under Creative Commons License
Guest Author bio: Vidisha Joshi: A media student by day and avid reader by night, Vidisha can always be found with a smile on her face. A hardcore foodie, she aspires to be a food critic once she finishes her course in journalism. You can engage her in a conversation about books, movies and food and you shall find her views interesting.