Holidays inevitably result in weight gain from overindulging. And holidays during winters make it worse. During cold winter days, I always find myself plotting what, when and where to eat next. With countless parties, weddings and holiday family meals this time of the year, even the healthiest eaters can be tempted to go overboard. We all know, it's easier to gain weight but takes double the effort to lose it and one feels miserable and guilty at the same time.
I'm not a believer of "dieting" (which is often misunderstood), eating less food / consuming less calories in a day to lose weight, I'm all for eating healthy, fresh and right. Here are some of the rules that I live by to avoid bingeing during holidays -
1. Unpack the power of protein - Eat more protein like grilled chicken, beans and legumes. They are not only comforting but also fill you up for longer duration.
2. Go dark - In my last article I had shared that hot chocolate made with dark chocolate squares is one of my favourite winter food as it keeps you warm. Dark chocolate also helps fight sweet cravings and leaves you feeling quite satisfied. Add roasted nuts and you have a hearty healthy snack without feeling that you are missing out on all the good things.
3. It's getting hot in here - Indian cuisine is rich in spices but adding cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and peppers to drinks, soups, stews, curries and desserts is a fantastic idea. They're warming, comforting and will help with sugar cravings. So next time sprinkle some extra cinnamon powder to your cuppa of coffee.
4. Colour me warm - Choose colourful vegetables which please the eyes such as reds, purples, yellows, oranges, greens. The colour stimulates the brain and relieves the need to overeat and binge.
5. Be the cereal killer - Now, this one is tough to follow but choosing healthy cereals always help. Eating more of these help to minimize bingeing and keep you fuller for longer. Try the new much talked about super food, Quinoa, in your salads if you'd like to experiment
6. Do it like the celebrities - One of the best ways to avoid bingeing during holidays is to eat a light meal at home before heading out for a party or a get together. It's easier to stick to your healthy diet when you're not hungry.
7. Water is underrated - Probably, the most underrated drink is water. Drink plenty of it. Carry a bottle of water wherever you go and drink as often as you need. It will keep you fuller and is the best way to stay healthier.
8. First things first - I know that mutton kebabs or that dessert looks more tempting and we tend to overeat what looks good first, which also has a higher fat content. So, fill your plate with low calorie foods first-fruits, vegetables and grains and you'll be less likely to overindulge in the high-calorie stuff.
9. Take your time - Be it an elaborate meal or a simple one, take your time to enjoy it. This is also called mindful eating. Focus on what you're eating including how it looks, smells, and tastes and you'll be less likely to continue eating after you're full. Disconnect from all gadgets and see the difference it makes.
10. Work it out - Last and probably the most important - exercise. People who exercise regularly are less susceptible to overeating, most likely because their mood is elevated, so they don't need food to make them feel better. Exercising most days of the week also reinforces your commitment to a healthy lifestyle, which is likely to make you more mindful of when, where and how much you eat.
Having said that, don't stress if you slip once or twice. No one is perfect and we need to find the right balance. Happy holidays.