It's the festive season! We call it a season of happiness, togetherness and joy. But the inner feeling of any weight watcher before enjoying their favourite food at parties and get-togethers is not anywhere near joy. Some are guilty of having their favourite laddoo, and some gorge on food during the festive season, only regretting later. Here are some easy-to-follow tips on how you can enjoy this festive season without any regrets.
Causes of weight gain during festive season:
- Consuming a high-calorie diet during festivals and holidays.
- Lack of exercise or any physical activity.
- Not sleeping enough.
- Stress-related weight gain is common.
- Increased alcohol intake. More parties call for more drinks.
Home remedies for weight loss
Some home remedies can help you keep your digestion and metabolism high. Follow this as a regime to help your body utilize all the calories you have consumed.
- Start your day with warm water. Water soaked overnight with fenugreek seeds (methi), cumin seeds(jeera) or carom seeds(ajwain) relieves any bloating or gas. This water also raises your metabolism, helping you lose weight.
- Drinking water can be boiled with 2-3 pinches of dry ginger or Nagarmotha (Cyprus rotendus). And this water can be taken throughout the day to promote weight loss.
- Include spices like ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, saffron, cloves, coriander and cumin in your diet to improve metabolism. These spices can also be made as tea and consumed.
Detox drinks for this festive season
1. Triphala water for weight loss
1 tsp of Triphala powder can be taken mixed with a glass of warm water in the night before bedtime. Triphala powder has a mild laxative effect on the body and helps flush toxins from the gut. Triphala powder can also be taken with honey in the night regularly to promote weight loss.
2. Turmeric Tea for winter weight loss
- Turmeric powder - 1/8 tsp
- Cinnamon powder - 1/8 tsp
- Black pepper powder - 1/8 tsp
- Dry ginger powder - 1/8 tsp
- Water - 200 ml
Boil these spices in water. Strain the mixture and drink this as tea once or twice a day. Honey or jaggery can be added for taste. Do not add honey to boiling tea.
3. CCF Drink
Boil 1/4 tsp each of Coriander, Cumin and Fennel seeds in a litre of water. This water can be used for drinking throughout the day instead of regular water.
The following practices help you lose weight even during the festive season.
Do not replace your meal
Replacing a meal for a vegetable juice/fruit juice or smoothie is the first mistake for why you don't lose weight.
Taking juices, fruits, or a small snack does not fill your stomach compared to a meal. You will only end up gorging on some sweets or any fried food later, adding up more calories. Not having a proper meal leads to a deficit of micro and macronutrients in the body. These nutritional deficiencies can cause bloating, hair fall and skin problems as well.
Have a complete meal with carbohydrates, proteins, vegetables and fruits. Also, add buttermilk as a post-meal drink.
Plan all your meals, snacks and sweets
Weight watchers said planning meals, snacks and sweets before a party or festive season help in preventing winter weight gain.
- Planning prevents last-minute stress.
- Sticking to a list while shopping prevents impulse buys. Most of the time, it is these impulse buys that adds to your extra calories.
- Swapping with healthy ingredients is very much possible if you plan your recipes ahead.
Usually, we tend to plan three meals a day but might forget about the mid-morning or evening snack while planning. Consider that more calories are consumed in the mid-morning and evening snack. Binge eating at night is also typical during the festive season. All these can be avoided when meal planning is done in advance.
Watch your portion size
It is not easy to be on a restricted diet during the festive season with all delicacies around.
- One way to prevent overeating is to use smaller plates. Eating on smaller plates help you to take smaller servings.
- Drink warm water half an hour before a meal.
- Filling half of your plate with veggies will help you reduce the number of carbohydrates and fats in your diet.
- Beginning your meal with a hot soup or salad also gives a satiating feeling. Vegetable or meat soups contain all micronutrients required for your body.
Don't drink your calories
Many of us think that drinking fruit juices or smoothies may help in weight loss. While it might give you an impression of weight loss, it is not effective in the longer run.
Taking fruits instead of fruit juices is a better diet choice. The sugar content in fruits is released slowly due to the fibrous structure. Whereas the sugar molecules are broken down in fruit juices, releasing it much faster into the bloodstream.
Moreover, drinking sugary drinks, soda, coffee or milkshakes instead of water only add more calories to your diet. Replacing these drinks with water or green tea itself reduces calories.
Up your water intake
Most of the time, our body does not differentiate between hunger and thirst, especially when sitting inside an air-conditioned room. Sometimes you feel hungry, but actually you are only thirsty.
Drinking 2-3 litres of water daily improves your digestion and metabolism. Drinking enough water also helps in flushing toxins from the body.
Avoid packed and processed foods
Packed foods have high salt, sugar and oil content. Regular intake of packed/ frozen/ canned fruits and vegetables will not do any good for your health. Packed and processed food are also loaded with preservatives is known to be the leading cause of hypertension, diabetes and obesity in adults. Trans fat added in packed foods to increase shelf life can lead to cardiovascular diseases.
The artificial colours in these food cans can lead to gastric disturbances. Packed vegetables and fruit salad may also contain bacteria that can cause diarrhoea. Any fibre present in the fruits and vegetables gets eliminated when the food is processed.
Swap with healthy ingredients
Healthy ingredients are nutritious, have the right amount of fiber, are light to digest, and are low in calories. You can swap dairy cream with thick coconut milk, refined sugar with jaggery or brown sugar, refined flour with fibre rich flours.
Healthy snack list for winter weight loss
- Roasted nuts like almonds
- Dry fruits like raisins and dry figs
- Homemade trail mix (flax seeds, melon seeds, pumpkin seeds)
- Dark chocolate
- Fox nuts or makhana
- Homemade popcorn (with less salt)
- Steamed wheat flour dumplings
- Boiled sprouts
- Flattened rice / puffed rice (Poha/ murmure)
- Roasted grams
- Fresh fruits
- Vegetables with hummus dip
- Baked fruit/ vegetable chips
Healthy food swap list
Here is a healthy food swap list that you can follow this festive season. You can also add a variety of dishes that are nutrient-dense and less in calories.
Foods that you crave for
Coffee / Tea (with sugar)
Green tea / Black tea / black coffee
Pastries / Donuts
Homemade cereal bars (of oats, coconut scrapping and nuts)
Chia pudding or oatmeal with cocoa powder
Dark Chocolates with nuts/ Dried fruits and nuts
Sweets like laddoos
Homemade veggie chips / Roasted chickpea or yellow lentils.
Salty snacks like namkeen/ mixture
Sprouted grams / chivda / roasted fox nuts/ murmure
Sweet potato toast/ baked tikki
Tender coconut water / fresh coconut slices
Stay active with family and friends
- Dance it off! It is the season of fun and frolic. Dance those calories off with your friends and family.
- Do not miss your post-dinner or morning walk. Instead, ask your family members to tag along with you.
- Skip the elevator
- Walk as much as possible. Shopping is an excellent time to finish your walking goals.
- Make use of technology. Fitness apps can track your daily step goals. Walk at least 5000 steps per day.
- Clean your house. Dusting, mopping, sweeping etc., help you shed off some calories.
Practice mindful eating
Mindful eating is how you enjoy your relationship with food. It is also known to be effective for weight control. Mindful eating has two parts. One is when you are simply aware of how you eat, the surroundings, etc. and the other when you are aware of what you are served, including the ingredients, methods of procurement and processing of food.
Here are few simple tips for practising mindful eating for weight loss:
- Avoid watching television or any gadgets while eating. This may distract you and end up overeating.
- Serve yourself only a minimum portion first. Go for a second serving only when necessary.
- Chew your food well. Science recommends chewing food for 32 times to mix with the saliva and helps in better digestion.
- Eat slowly. Take time to finish your plate. Eating slowly has two benefits. One is it helps in mixing food with saliva that helps in better digestion. Second, when you eat slowly, the vagus nerve in the stomach gets enough time to send signals to the brain that your tummy is full. This prevents overeating. People who tend to eat faster do not chew well and also tend to overeat.
- Eat-in silence. Enjoy your food, every bit of it - The taste, texture, colour and consistency.
- Ask yourself if you are starving to eat or the food choice is healthy.
- Avoid talking over the phone or attending meetings while eating.
Get enough sleep
You may tend to pass the nights chit-chatting or binge-watching television with your family with usually some popcorn, chips and sugary drinks. Resting well has a positive effect on weight loss. Your brain asks for more comfort foods when you don't sleep well. On the contrary, you will make conscious food choices if you are rested well at night.
A good night's sleep also improves metabolism. However, here are some tips if you still have a night get together during the festive season.
- Stock healthy snacks at home like Chivda/ foxnuts that do not add up to many calories.
- Skip dinner if you are planning a movie night.
- Drink water or green tea instead of sugary beverages.
- Fruits make an excellent choice than chocolates or pastries.
Intermittent Fasting for weight loss
Practising intermittent fasting during the festive season is an effective method to control your weight. In IF, there is usually a fasting window that helps the body to rejuvenate and boost metabolism. The strict fasting hours also helping in restricting calories. One can follow a 12:12 or 16:8 fasting window during the festive season.
Ayurvedic Dietic tips for Weight loss
Following Ayurvedic dietic rules help you lose weight faster also preventing further weight gain during winters. Here are some easy tips:
- Take one or two glasses of lukewarm water to clear bowels first thing in the morning.
- Take 1-2 tsp ghee daily. Ghee softens the gastrointestinal tract, increases Agni and helps in better digestion. Ghee also gives a sense of satisfaction of having a good meal.
- Include spices like cumin, ginger, turmeric, black pepper, cinnamon and cardamom in your diet.
- Take a small piece of ginger mixed with pink salt or jaggery before a meal.
- Finish your meal with buttermilk or by chewing betel leaves. The astringent taste helps in better digestion.
- If you want to have sweets with your meal, take it at the beginning of the meal, followed by other dishes. Starting your meal with sweets prevents overeating.
- Drink warm water throughout the day.
- Have a moderate breakfast, heavy lunch and light dinner. This is because the digestive fire is at its peak in the noon between 12pm and 2 pm.
- Have dinner before sunset. This helps in proper digestion of food before bedtime. The rate of digestion is generally slower in the evening and very minimal after sunset. Taking boiled salads and soups are recommended for dinner.
- Avoid raw salads. Go for boiled veggies instead. Boiled or steamed food is easy to digest as they are already cooked. Raw salads or sprouts lead to the formation of toxins if not properly digested.
- Chew fennel seeds after meals to improve digestion and fresh breath.
- Avoid mutually contradictory or incompatible food combinations. They again diminish the digestive fire and leads to the accumulation of toxins. These toxins are called ama Fin Ayurveda and are sticky substances that can move inside the body, causing illnesses.
- Do not fill your stomach with food. Ayurveda advises eating half stomach, filling 1/4 with water, and then leaving 1/4 part of the stomach empty for circulation of gases. The ideal portion of an Ayurvedic meal is the cup-sized portion when you join both your palms.
- Include fresh fruits, nuts and seeds in your diet.
- Prepare your meals with love and care.
- Be grateful and happy for the food that is available to you. Negative emotions towards food affect the digestive enzymes and liver badly.
- Do not sleep immediately after eating. Day sleep has to be avoided after lunch.
This festive season, when we come together to celebrate #bharatkidiwali, let's be mindful and conscious of preserving health for a healthy mind, lives in a healthy body.