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A diet plan to your rescue

health-and-fitness Updated: Mar 01, 2013 01:43 IST
Petrina D’Souza
Petrina D’Souza
Hindustan Times
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A-woman-eating

One of the most common New Year’s resolutions that we usually fail to stick to is to start healthy and lose weight. But, indulging at unending social functions and festivals through the year can’t be avoided at all times. Here’s a diet plan for the year, along with guidelines that will help you combat weight issues.

Follow it throughout. Though it may be the simplest diet plan, sticking to it during the festive season is a task. But be determined to follow the tips so that you are not completely at loss.

Control portion sizes
If you have plans to indulge at a restaurant, then the easiest way to stick to your diet and regulate calorie intake is by ordering a small portion. Share your meal with a friend so that you don’t end up overeating. Also, do not eat till your stomach is full — Stop eating while there is still space in your stomach for more.

Balance your meal
Weddings and functions often include an elaborate buffet. If you wish to indulge in all the dishes, do it the smart way. Include all five colours of food in your meal — yellow, red, green, purple and white, as they have different anti-oxidant properties. Balance your meal by including foods from all the different food groups: vegetables, meat / pulses, grains, fruits and dairy. Avoid fried food.

Plan your meal
Never go to a restaurant or a party on an empty stomach. Have a snack, something like a salad or fruit, before you leave. Eat a light dinner if you ate a big lunch earlier that day. Or, if you already know that you’re going out for dinner, cut back on calories during other meals that day.

Snacks with alcohol
If you are having alcohol, stick to only two pegs with water. If you like to snack while drinking, eat items like tandoori chicken, grilled fish, salad or sprouts. Reduce your intake of chapati/rice for dinner if you’re drinking, so your diet plan is still in place.

Don’t skip your workout
No matter what, don’t skip your daily exercise routine. That way, you will even out some of the excess calories that you might consume during the course of the day.

Indulging in fried food
If you are a fan of fried food or sweets, try to cut down on the consumption of carbohydrates in the form of chapati and rice. Add more salads to your diet the next day and have them as separate meals.

Say no to carbonated drinks and yes to water
Stay away from carbonated drinks as they add unnecessary empty calories. If you can’t do away with them, have the ‘diet’ version, which has less than four calories per can. Drinking plenty of lukewarm water/green tea (without sugar) will help to perk up your body metabolism and will also help to ease the digestion of snacks that may be high on calorie.

Trash junk food cravings
Be resilient, wait about half-an-hour and try to busy yourself in the meantime. Studies show that intense food cravings only last 15-20 minutes.

Eat a healthy alternative to junk food. If you’re craving something sweet, try a banana or another piece of fruit.

Make sure your refrigerator and pantry only stores healthy snacks. Get rid of all kinds of comfort foods.

Brush your teeth. When you have clean teeth, you won’t feel like eating something straight away.

Instead of cutting out your favourite food entirely, try to cut down. Only indulge once a week and eat it in a smaller portion than usual.

Before choosing a certain food item, think about the long term effects. Is it worth eating a whole block of chocolate in one go? Is it worth undoing all that exercise and healthy eating you’ve previously done?

Reward yourself (with anything other than food) when you resist junk food. When you are tempted to indulge, have any of the following — cinnamon sticks, saunf, sugarless chewing gum. Your craving will pass.