Are you fit enough for the coming festive season? | health and fitness | Hindustan Times
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Are you fit enough for the coming festive season?

A fit body is the most sought after accessory at festivals. But safe, slow weight loss is the best way to go.

india festive season Updated: Oct 10, 2016 17:51 IST
Avoid snacking and limit your sugar intake to about two spoons a day to lose weight in time for the festivities
Avoid snacking and limit your sugar intake to about two spoons a day to lose weight in time for the festivities(Images Bazaar)

The festive season is around the corner, followed by the wedding season. No wonder then you find people making a beeline for the clinics of most nutritionists. A fit body is the most sought after accessory at festivals.

Though it is tough to get a toned body in six short weeks, there is still hope. Experts say you can lose 3-5 kg and shed an inch or two from your waist to look your best within this time.

To lose that extra weight in a healthy manner, you do have to watch what you eat and pack in 40 minutes of exercise daily without fail. But it’s possible to drop the kilos and keep them off.

“First things first: no crash dieting and no skipping meals as it wrecks havoc on your metabolism,” says Tapasya Mundhra, Delhi-based nutritionist and health coach. “You will end up feeling hungrier and will tend to overeat if there is a long interval between meals. Ideally, eat small meals every 3-4 hours.”

Mundhra recommends listening to the body for cues. “We must know why we are eating. Is it out of boredom or is the body craving a particular food? Or are we genuinely hungry? We must eat according to the body’s needs.”

Read: Junk food craving: Exercise could go a long way in controlling it

Avoid skipping meals at all costs, especially breakfast, especially if you end up misbehaving through the day when it comes to eating right. Breakfast should be a combination of carbohydrate and protein, and nutritionists recommend a lunch of the usual roti, subzi, daal and curd. If you eat meat, opt for a lean meat such as chicken or fish.

The time window that can make or break your diet is between 5pm and 7pm. This is usually when people tend to give in to the temptation as there is longer gap between lunch and dinner.

“One can have a cup of green tea with a light snack such as a couple of biscuits or roasted gram,” says Neha Arora, a Delhi-based nutritionist. “Do not munch on calorie-dense items such as a pizza, burger or a mayonnaise-laden sandwich. For quick weight loss, increase intake of fibrous items such as fruits, vegetables, salads, and soups with lighter dressings. Also, cut down on carbohydrate and sugar-rich foods. Replace fried food items with baked, grilled or sautéed options.”

Dinner should not be beyond 9pm and completely avoid late-night snacking.

“If at all you feel hungry, drink a cup of hot milk, or chamomile tea or have a fruit to curb the sudden craving. If one follows these tips accurately, there is no need for crash dieting to lose weight,” says Arora.

Read: Don’t rely just on your fitness tracker. It may not help you lose weight

Vivek Chennuri is a classic example of losing weight in a healthy way.

Vivek Chennuri ate less rice, more vegetables and lost 21 kgs over the last year. He’s confident of keeping it off too. His secret: eating at home and avoiding rich sweets and snacks. (Satyabrata Tripathy/ HT)

A resident of Nerul in Navi Mumbai, Chennuri has a budget of Rs 50,000 to buy a new wardrobe for Diwali this year. But he is not complaining, he’s celebrating.

The 31-year-old, who works with a financial rating firm, has lost nearly 30 kgs in nine months, which translates to a little over 3kg a month. He weighed 114kgs last November but has now come down to 84kgs.

Chennuri’s weightloss was slow, simple and structured and that’s why he’s confident he can keep it off. His dietician got him to switch to a diet of home-cooked food – dal, rice and vegetables for meals, sprouts, curd, fresh fruit and dry fruit as fillers. At work, he ate upma or poha as snacks.

“My dietician asked me to drop my rice intake to half and double the quantity of dal with a portion of vegetables and salad in my meals,” says Chennuri. “My mother happily agreed, as this did not require extra cooking.”

Chennuri started off by losing 4kgs in three-four weeks. Now, with nearly 21kgs off his body, it’s no wonder he needs new clothes.

“My weight was causing backaches. Losing it boosted my confidence and helped me professionally as well,” he says. He now goes camping, and trekking. “I recently went trekking in Kashmir and it was so much easier this time.”

With Diwali around the corner, temptation to binge is especially high, he says. “Festivals in India are all about eating. And festival food is mostly sweet and very rich. It takes a toll on the body,” he says. “After losing weight, people tend to get casual about eating right. They stop following the diet plan and skip workouts. The trick is to always keep a check on what you are eating and avoid eating out,” he suggests.

Dr Krupa Parekh, nutritionist at Wellintra Fitness Consultants in Oshiwara, says those looking to lose weight and keep it off amid all the festivity should take measures to avoid mindless snacking. “Vegetable stuffed chapattis or parathas made of wholegrain should be included in meals. They’re high in fibre and bring a feeling of fullness,” she says. “Finish dinner within an hour after sunset and avoid eating carbs in the evening,” she says.

Rich festive food also tends to be high on salt, which can cause water retention and bloating, and sugar, which offers no nutrition. “Don’t consume more than two spoons of sugar in a day,” Parekh says. So lay off the laddoos.

Learn how to balance meals. “If you have eaten a heavy lunch, then go easy on the dinner. If a day has been heavy, then try to stay light the next day, which would compensate the overall calorie-intake,” says Mundhra.