Festive Fitness

Festive Fitness

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Festive fitness

Keep fit during the festive season by following these simple strategies…

 The festive season has arrived and with it comes – groan – all those calorie-laden goodies. Sweets, savories, pastries, sumptuous meals, alcohol…it’s a never-ending season of parties and family get-togethers, of eating, drinking and making merry. It’s enough to test even the most stoic person’s willpower. How do you enjoy the festive season and still not end up looking like a dumpy potato? It’s tough but it can be done!

According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Americans gain about a pound during the holiday season. This extra weight tends to stay on, accumulating through the years and possibly contributing to obesity later in life. In addition, those who are overweight or obese are more likely to gain additional weight during the holiday season, suggesting that this time of year may throw up more risks for those who are already overweight.

As an entrepreneur, there are several factors that could influence weight gain for you during the festive season. These could include factors like stressing over your business, not eating regularly, activity levels and of course, the number of parties or get-togethers you attend.

During the season, we tend to go mall hopping, and then we hop over to one of the fast food joints in the mall and gorge ourselves on some fast food, sip a calorie-rich milkshake or savor a creamy ice cream. Because of the increased demand on our time, thanks to all the frenetic activity that shopping, travelling and partying entail, many of us forgo our exercise routines. Net result? The additional calories consumed, and the decreased activity levels translate into kilos during this busy season.

However, maintaining your weight does not have to mean shunning parties and get-togethers. Just follow these effective strategies to ward off those extra kilos and inches.

Eat regularly during festive season.

Eat regularly: Don’t skip meals, especially breakfast or lunch. Going to shopping malls or to a party on an empty stomach is a sure-shot formula for overeating. Make sure you eat regularly. Also, nibble on a light healthy snack before shopping or attending a holiday party. These snacks can curb your appetite and diminish the temptation to overeat.

Be thoughtful while gifting.

When gifting, set an example: Gift fruit or dry fruits instead of sweets, cakes or chocolates. At home, stock up on healthy snacks for visitors. This way, you too are not tempted to keep eating!

Learn to say no.

Don’t feel bad to refuse calorie-laden treats when you go visiting: If your host insists on you eating something, take a small piece of that Xmas cake or savory item. Or politely refuse, saying that you are on a diet.

Don't fill yourself up with appetizers.

Watch out for the starters: When you go for family gatherings or parties, spend more time talking with the other guests than munching on the starters! Pace yourself when eating hors d’oeuvres. To cut down on your calorie consumption, avoid all those mini samosas, fish fingers and malai chicken and go for the look for the raw fruits or vegetables platter. But, take it easy on the dips.

Eat healthy even when you can't.

Learn some eating tricks: Fill up half your plate with vegetables, as long as they’re not swimming in cream or butter. Split the other side between a starch (rice or pasta) and your protein, preferably white meat. Don’t forget the salads and the raitha – they are much healthier than all the deep-fried stuff.

Don't gorge yourself.

Don’t gorge yourself: To avoid overeating and feeling stuffed after a meal, eat slowly and have a conversation with someone. Wait for a minimum of 20 minutes before piling up your plate with a second helping – it takes that long for the stomach to signal the brain that it is full. Eat what you need, don’t stuff yourself!

Control your food portions.

Watch your food portions: Eating less is one of the keys to eating healthy. This way, you can indulge in rich foods and not suffer from deprivation. Heap up on salads and indulge yourself in your favorite scrumptious dishes – but keep the servings small.

Limit your alcohol consumption.

Limit the alcohol: Alcohol is rich in calories and poor in nutrients. And if you are indulging in it, cut out the soft drinks. They add on even more calories.

Exercise regularly.

Exercise: Yes, that’s the key! Try and fit in some form of exercise everyday – even if it’s a twenty-minute walk. Or do some housework or clean the car – something, anything to get you moving!

Catch up on sleep.

Get your shut-eye: Sleep deprivation can cause many miserable moments. It also makes you sluggish and lowers your metabolic rate, which mean you burn off less of those calories you’ve put away the previous night!

It’s not all bad news. You can have your cake (albeit a smaller piece!) and eat it too. Just exercise moderation, keep moving, drink plenty of water and sleep well. This way, your business and your health will not suffer. Season’s greetings!

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Dogs, books, music…that’s what makes life tick for me. And of course, writing. I’ve been writing for 17 years now and have enjoyed every bit of it. My idea of a great time – blast some music, cuddle my pets and gorge on pizza. Or curl up in a cozy corner with a good book. That’s bliss. And now, I’ve discovered a new bliss – yoga. Maybe, I’ll turn spiritual some day with a halo around my head! On a more serious note, I’m actively involved in animal welfare and saving abandoned dogs. I firmly believe dogs are much better than most human beings. In addition, I champion the cause of making our planet a better place. And do my bit in whatever way I can, and urge everyone to do the same.