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How to stay fit this party season

By Carlyne Remedios and Jason Johal
December 19, 2014 13:37 IST

Follow these tips and you can have a ball without missing out on fun.

Gautam Rode

Photograph: Carlos Smith/Wikimedia Commons

This time of year for most can be a disaster in terms of gaining weight. Food and drink is in abundance and mentally we seem to allow ourselves to indulge with the justification of New Year’s resolutions. Most resolutions are broken within the first couple of weeks in January so it is important to find a balance at a time where we are the weakest.

This does not mean you can’t enjoy the treats on offer but you can make wiser choices and be tactically smart to keep the kilos off and the smile on.

Research proves that once a body reaches a set point, it is usually difficult to move that needle once your body has adapted a set point. So the team from Center of Obesity and Digestive Surgery (CODS) which deals with obese people, nutrition and training shares a list of tips on what you can do to be smarter, wiser, happier and not feeling like you’re missing out.

Senior Nutrionist Carlyne Remedios and trainer Jason Johal share a list of dos and don’ts to stay in shape!

  • Never arrive at a party starving. You are more likely to overeat if you are hungry.
  • Stay away from the food counters or the buffet table to avoid picking on food. Rather fill your plate with food once and for all instead of grabbing fistfuls every now and then. This way you can keep a check on the amount of food consumed.
  • Choose wisely! Whether at a buffet or a party, avoid fried foodstuffs, dishes that are loaded with cream, sugar, cheese, butter.
  • Before going for that second helping, take a gap of at least 20 minutes. It takes that much time for your body to send signals to your brain to say ‘I Am full’.
  • Share your dessert to halve the calories. If making sweets or snacks at home, use low fat variety of milk and milk products. Use fruits/dry fruits, jaggery, honey or artificial sweeteners instead of sugar.
  • Eat slowly, savour each bite. This will prevent you from overeating.
  • Balance it out! If you’ve eaten a heavy lunch, keep dinner light, with fresh salad and soup or simple cooked vegetables and dals.
  • Choose the diet varieties of drinks, nimbupani and coconut water instead of sugary cold drinks and aerated waters.
  • Choose wisely -- there will be a variety of foods offered during the festive season, that doesn’t mean you eat everything -- pick and choose what you want to eat. Make healthy choices; opt for dry fruit, nuts or sweets made from the same.
  • Do not eat all the sweets and chocolates that you have been gifted all at once. Share them or give them away to the less fortunate. Last but not least, gift healthy; fresh fruit, dry fruits and nuts are better alternatives to mithai.
  • If you are planning on drinking alternate every alcoholic drink with a glass of water.

Limit liquid calories -- alcoholic beverages are loaded with calories. Find calorie contents of some most common alcoholic drinks and choose wisely.

  • Standard Beer (375 ml) -- 138-145 calories
  • Red and White Wines (100 mls) -- 65-70 calories
  • Sweet dessert wines (60ml) -- 90 calories
  • Spirits (30ml/1 nip) -- 65-70 calories + don’t forget the extra calories that will pile on with the mixers. So stick to plain soda water.

Love cocktails? Here’s a guide to help you choose wisely:

  • Long Island iced tea (8 oz): 780 calories
  • Pina Colada (6 oz): 378 calories
  • White Russian (2 oz vodka, 1.5 oz coffee liqueur, 1.5 oz cream): 425 calories
  • Coffee liqueur (3 ounces): 348 calories
  • Mai Tai (6 oz) (1.5 oz rum, 1/2 oz cream de along, 1/2 oz triple sec, sour mix, pineapple juice): 350 calories
  • Margarita (8 oz): 280 calories
  • Mojito (8 oz): 214 calories
  • Cosmopolitan (4 oz): 200 calories
  • Mulled wine (5 oz): 200 calories
  • Screwdriver (8 oz): 190 calories
  • Port wine (3 oz):128 calories
  • Martini (2.5 oz): 160 calories
  • Champagne (5oz): 106-120 calories
  • Mimosa (4 oz): 75 calories

Keep your metabolism going by doing some form of exercise every day. Exercise is not all about the gym and you can do some simple exercises at home or on the move. Spend 10 minutes in the morning doing 2 sets of push-ups (as many as you can and 1 minute rest), 1 minute of jumping squats, 1 minute of jogging on the spot (30 seconds high knees and 30 seconds back kicks), 1 minute plank and 1 minute leg raises.

If you have time left over, do a minute of burpees. After a shower you will feel great and will enjoy the party season even more. You may even end up making wiser or tactical food and drink choices as mentioned above. Who knows, you may end up losing weight and getting fitter during a time where most gain.

Check out this article on how to keep your belly from bulging this New Year. This way, you can work hard and play hard J

Eating too much and not exercising? Simple things to get yourself back on track

On track: Stay motivated and get back on track as soon as the festivities are over. Go back to your normal routine and don’t procrastinate.

  • Go fresh: After a week long stint of deep fried goodies and sweets, try and consume fresh fruits and vegetables. It’s full of vitamins, phytonutrients and antioxidants as well as an excellent source of fibre.
  • Drink plenty of fluids: After an overindulgence of cold drinks, alcohol and juices its best to stick to water to keep hydrated. Water is the best thirst quencher minus the calories. Low fat milk, buttermilk and coconut water are also good low calories choices.
  • Stay active: Simple tricks like parking your car a short distance from your destination, taking the stairs instead of the lift, getting off the bus a stop earlier and walking, standing instead of sitting all are all ways to increase non specific exercise activity.
  • Exercise: Any form of exercise -- walking, cycling, swimming or any form of sports is the best way to shed the extra kilos. At least 30-45 minutes of moderate activity daily. Or why not get some friends and organise a gathering of 5 a-side football or tennis. This way you have fun and burn the calories.
  • Say no: Do not be tempted by the all the mithai and chocolates that you have been gifted. Share and distribute them or better still give them away to the less fortunate.
  • Health checks: This is especially for true for diabetics. Don’t delay your blood checks just because you fear the result of your overindulgence. In fact, all the more reason to do so in order to take corrective action.
Carlyne Remedios and Jason Johal