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Christmas, New Years, school holidays and family vacations. All of that typically means a fair amount of indulgence in food (especially the fattening kind), alcohol, sugar and little to no exercise.
In other words – say hello to the few extra pounds that have made their home on your body. This weight gain, says research, just adds up as we age. And yes, the cold winter days of January make it harder to get out of bed in time to hit the gym. But instead of trying to go on a crash diet in an attempt to undo that holiday damage in a jiffy, here are some tips to follow whether during the festive season or like now when you are trying to end the indulgences.
One key thing, especially in the festive season, is to try and maintain the current weight. This should be the goal in any busy phase of life – if you can’t do the extra hard work needed to lose weight, at least do your best to not gain any.
Here are a few suggestions to keep you going year-round.
Strict self-monitoring can really help in maintaining weight. That includes closely watching how many calories are you eating or drinking and how many are you burning by exercising. It is important for us to very carefully think about foods we eat and how much of it we eat. This is particularly important if you are overweight or find it difficult to maintain a healthy weight. This doesn’t mean that all Bad Foods are out. No. Instead, make a list of all your favourite foods and spread them into your daily energy limits.
Tips to avoid overeating:
1. Don’t skip your meals: Skipping breakfast or lunch to save your appetite isn’t a good idea as this will only slow down your metabolism. It’s important to have a proper breakfast not only it keeps our metabolism going up but it also satisfies hunger pangs, discouraging bingeing. Breakfast should be a reasonable size with good portions of proteins in the form of eggs/ dairy etc.
2. Pick on Proteins first: In every meal have proteins first and then fibre and last carbs. Proteins give us better satiety and healthy muscle growth.
3. Eat and chew slowly: Eating slowly helps you pace yourself. It also helps your brain give you the signal that you are full. And yes, you can actually enjoy what you’re eating.
4. Fill up on fibre: Snacking on vegetables and other high fibre foods like legumes, beans can help us stay full for longer.
5. Use smaller plates: This will ensure smaller portions. Our brain associates with empty space on our plate so if we are using smaller plates then we will feel full quickly.
6. Chew Gum: Studies have conflicting results if in the long run chewing gum can help lose weight. However, chewing gum can keep you distracted and give you a feeling of fullness and help curb your appetite.
7. Drink water: Most of the times’ hunger calls happen because one is dehydrated. Sip water which can leave you full for long helping you limit your calorie intake. Best way to do that is to keep a bottle of water near you – whether at work or at home.
8. Cave into cravings: It’s smart to acknowledge cravings instead of denying them. Forbidding a specific food during holidays can make it harder to resist and you may end up overeating. All food eaten in moderation makes for a healthy routine.
Consultant - Obstetrics and Gynecology