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Ahead of the party season, detox, get fit

Getting back on track: Experts say detoxification is important for those who have veered off their regular diets. Aarefa Johari & Jahnavi Sanghvi write.

mumbai Updated: Dec 05, 2011 01:48 IST

Mihika Raheja has already zeroed in on the lehengas she wants to wear to the two weddings coming up in her family next month, and is eager to buy a trendy dress for her New Year’s Eve party as well. All she has to do now, she says with a frown, is to fit into those clothes. And the 21-year-old Khar resident is already working on a detox plan to help get back in shape.

Over the past five months, Raheja had gained about 2 kg because of the long working hours she is now spending at work, as a trainee at an auditing firm. The mithai and alcohol she consumed during Diwali has not helped, she says, laughing.

“I find it difficult to go on a strict diet and do not like to deprive myself of sweets, so working out is the best way to get well-toned,” says Raheja, who signed up for zumba dance classes last month and has been feeling fitter and rejuvenated by the intense, aerobic, fitness-oriented dance form.
“I want to be able to wear my new year’s dress without looking fat, and am also eager to do the zumba at parties,” added Raheja, who is also avoiding alcohol this month, so she can enjoy her drinks at the parties.

Post-Diwali is often a time of fervent dieting and weight-lifting as guilty revellers seek to shed the calories they have gained during the festival, and prepare for the Christmas and New Year’s Eve parties and the wedding season.

Dieticians and nutritionists say this kind of detoxification is important for those who have veered off their regular diets and lifestyles during the festive season.

“Alcohol is largely empty calories and causes water retention,” says fitness expert Leena Mogre, who recommends starting cardiovascular exercises and leg workouts to increase the body’s basal metabolic rate and to burn extra calories.

For the skin, Mogre recommends a steam bath twice a week and drinking twice as much water as before. Following one glass of alcohol with a glass of water is also a good way to party in a healthier manner, she says.

“There is no real way to party healthy, but if you replace fried snacks with barbecued foods, dimsums or sauted vegetables, you can enjoy yourself without costing yourself too much of a setback,” says Mogre.

A good way to shed those extra Diwali calories and prepare for the party season, say experts, is to use dance exercise — thereby getting fit again while also learning some new moves for the party/wedding season.

But remember, any plan you adopt must be moderate and long-term.

“Giving short-term jerks to your body just to fit into a dress for an evening is not healthy, and you are likely to put on weight again if you use extreme methods for quick results,” says dietician Sunali Parekh.

Parekh says you should also adopt a detox diet only after consulting a doctor or dietician, to ensure that you do not deprive your body of any essential nutrients. “On a general note, more water, juices and salads are always healthy, and eating nuts is good for the skin and for raising vitamin and mineral levels,” says Parekh. “Of course, these measures too should be accompanied by balanced, nutrient-rich meals.”

That’s exactly what Juhu resident Prerna Dhara has been doing. Through Diwali, Dhara says she indulged in ghee-laden desserts, fried snacks and several rounds of wine during bashes with family and friends.

“In the midst of all the festivities, I had stopped going for my regular yoga classes too, and in two weeks, I could feel my clothes getting tighter and my skin getting pockmarked and sallow,” says Dhara, 25, a human resource professional. “Now, I’m back to regular yoga workouts and I’m on a low-carb, salad-and-fruit-heavy diet and my skin has already cleared up again.”

Now, Dhara plans to avoid all fried food at parties and weddings, and aims to limit herself to two drinks per bash.
“A good way to resist temptation is to eat at home before leaving for a party,” she says.

‘I don’t want to look skinny at my wedding’

For Nishit Mehta, a Vile Parle resident, partying at new restaurants is how he keeps in touch with his friends, many of whom live in south Mumbai.

As his wedding day approaches in end-December, he is aware that he will have to do a lot more socialising, and is determined to do it in a healthy manner. “I usually party only on Fridays and Saturdays, so that I can sleep and recover the next day,” says Mehta. “I also watch what I eat and drink because anything consumed in excess will undo my hours at the gym.”

Mehta, who has a thin frame, began working out a few months ago, to build muscle and tone up for his wedding. “I want to be sure that I do not gain any unhealthy flab,” he says. Because he is trying to gain rather than lose weight, he eats small amounts of cheese and chocolate, but sticks to only roasted snacks with drinks and keeps away from fried food.

“Eating right is all about having a balanced diet,” he says. “I try and eat every two hours, even when I am working. I carry a fruit with me to work and snack on it when I am hungry. It’s actually working out well. I’ve gained muscle weight and I am now happy the way I look.”

‘I plan all my workouts in the morning’

Roshni Kothari, a jet-setting marketing executive, has many reasons to get fit this season. Her wedding is less than two months away and she has several other nuptials to attend in December. But because she has to travel out of the city four or five times a month, she has very little time to herself.

“Whatever little time I get, I devote it to getting in shape,” she says. The Mulund resident recently signed up at a ‘hot yoga’ class to develop a well-toned body and soft, glowing skin.

At Kothari’s class in Andheri, this form of yoga is practised in groups of 30 or more, with asanas practised in a room heated up to 41 degrees Celsius with around 60% humidity.

Although Kothari’s hectic work schedule makes it difficult for her to prioritise fitness, she makes it a point to attend hot yoga classes at least three times a week, early in the morning, before work.

“This form of yoga makes you sweat a lot, releasing toxins from the skin and making it clearer,” says Kothari, who used to have dark circles under her eyes because she works at her computer for long hours. “After a month of yoga, the dark circles are gone.”