Deck the halls with boughs of holly; keep a check on your belly!!
It is that time of the year!! December has always been my favourite month of the year! I remember, as a child, we made a list of gifts to ‘mail’ to Santa Claus, decorated our Christmas tree, sang carols into the night and enjoyed the special Christmas cake! Even today, holiday mood sets in right from the first day of the month, with planning of activities, trips, or parties with friends and family.
As much joy as it can bring to the mind, winters and the festivities aren’t too healthy for the body. Unfortunately, they make a great reason for binge eating and drinking a glass or two more than the usual. Bonding with family and near ones over decorating the house, hanging the decorations on the Christmas tree and planning family get-togethers for Christmas and New Year’s Eve is the perfect recipe for weight gain.
Our body just doesn’t respond to the alarm in the morning, what with all the cold weather outside and a warm blanket to sleep under. Just as we snooze for those extra 5 minutes of sleep or lazing around, so does our body metabolism. Our physiological processes slow down in the winters and so once the holiday season is over, the snoozed metabolism translates into extra fat.
So how do we enjoy the holidays while ensuring that you keep your weight intact? Here are a few tips and tricks you can follow to get yourself comfortably through this holiday, while keeping your weight in check.
Break your fast
How many of us actually sit down quietly and enjoy our breakfast? How often do we say ‘I don’t have time’ or ‘I don’t feel like eating so early in the morning’? After having fasted for more than 5 to 6 hours, ‘breaking the fast’ with a healthy meal, literally, is a healthy option. That way, you won’t feel hungry at odd hours and can eat lunch and small snacks, spread out well throughout the day.
Plan your meals
Planning what to eat when and eating a healthy bite, say a fruit or a snack between meals will not produce the kind of hunger where you tend to overeat to kill the appetite. Maintain a small notebook to jot down your diet or pick a partner so that your routine becomes less boring. You can also subscribe to one of the vast multitude of food tracking apps that are now available across all platforms. You could encourage each other to opt for healthy diet plans and even exchange recipes to make the process interesting.
Don’t forget the fibre amidst all the sugar
Dietary fibre that we get through fruits, vegetables, and nuts is a must not only for digestion, but also to satiate those hunger pangs. So, don’t forget that salad you normally enjoy on any other day or the seasonal fruits available in the market. They are a nutritious way to ensure smooth digestion and a great way to fill the stomach so that you don’t eat too much.
Out of sight, out of tummy
We tend to eat anything we see. While this could be a difficult way, keeping the sugar-coated sweets like chocolates, cakes, candies, and cookies away from the kitchen counters and somewhere inside the kitchen drawers, far away from sight can help you resist the urge to pop one into the mouth. When cooking or baking, be sure to taste-test with very small portions of your dish. Experiment with healthy whole grains and safe alternatives to sugar such as plant based sweeteners, honey (in moderation), jaggery, etc.
Fill up before a party
You are sure to be invited to a lot of parties and you too will host some. Before you attend a party, be sure to eat a small salad or a fruit. Doing this will contain your hunger and you won’t ‘eat-till-you-feel-full.’
Keep your exercise routine intact
A cold weather and a steaming hot cup of coffee. Reserve that for the evenings. Follow your regular exercise or workout routine in the mornings to avoid putting on the extra kilos.
Monitor your water intake
The cold weather does not make you thirsty; this doesn’t mean you skip your regular intake of water. Drinking water before any meal can make you less hungry. Avoid alcohol on the non-party and festive days. Instead, make mocktails to go with the food spread.
Rather than spending a lot of time in the kitchen, plan outdoor or indoor activities with friends, where you can spend time doing things you like.
Reduce that stress
Pre-holiday targets at work, planning trips and activities can cause stress; and some of us tend to binge eat when stressed. Practice your stress- free tricks religiously and avoid the fried and baked goodies as far as possible. Sleep for a good 7 to 8 hours daily.
Indulge a little
With so many goodies and the aromas surrounding us, the holiday mood and insisting by friends and family, go ahead and give in once in a while!
Holidays are yet another reason for friends and family to come together and have a jovial time. At the same time, you should be able to welcome the New Year with fervour and in great health and not spend the first few days complaining about the holiday-weight and trying to reduce it. We have given you some tricks to save yourself from the trouble of starting all over in the New Year. You can add in your own too!
Rather than worrying about the food to be cooked or the cake to be baked, live every moment with your loved ones! Deck the halls with boughs of holly, Fa la la la la, la la la la. ‘Tis the season to be jolly!!