SO, YOU’VE spent the last one month sipping cups of hot chocolate/mulled wine and binging on festive food. Add the drinking that comes with the social gatherings you’ve attended, and now your pants fit a little more snugly than you would like.
This seasonal weight gain that happens every year to most people is a curse everyone happily embraces. But, it’s now time to get working on the perfect beach body for the summer, while ensuring you don’t opt for some crazy diet or starve yourself.
Parmeet Kaur, dietician supervisor, Columbia Asia Hospital, Gurgaon, says, “Drink as much water as you can. Sleep on time as staying up for late leads to binging and eating unhealthy snacks, which affects digestion and adds calories.” Parmeet recommends a diet filled with fruits and vegetables as the ideal weapon to battle major health problems, adding, “Many people think that skipping meals will help them reduce weight but it actually increases weight and reduces nutrients in the body.”
Celebrity nutritionist and dietitian Nmami Agarwal swears by portion control. Opt for small portions and frequent meals. Instead of having three meals a day, have four-five small ones. “Opt for fresh food as it helps the body detoxify. Also, don’t starve yourself. Crash diets are always a no,” she says.
Include yogurt as the probiotics found in yogurt are healthy bacteria that keep the gut and intestinal tract free of disease causing germs. Eat garlic, which contains allicin that fights infection and bacteria. She also recommends consumption of ginger to help decrease inflammation and help reduce a sore throat. “Jaggery is loaded with antioxidant and mineral such as zinc and selenium. Not only does it fight cold and cough, but it’s also a great substitute for sugar.”
Include a lot of lentils, eggs and lean meats like chicken and fish in your diet. Take a handful of nuts every day along with one fresh amla. Ritika Samaddar, chief dietician, Max Healthcare, Delhi, gives her recipe for losing the post-holiday weight – Brew ginger, black pepper corns, tulsi and honey in water and drink it like a shot every day.
Dietician Jasleen Kaur and founder of Just Diet Clinic, recommends taking cinnamon water in the morning to lose weight. “Or take some mulethi, tulsi, elaichi and cinnamon and boil them in water. Drink it after it’s cooled down a little.”
Opting to ‘detox’ or sticking to a short-term dietary designed to eliminate toxins from the body, is also something many opt for after a season of binging. Nmami says, “Detox diet involves strict diet of fruit, vegetables, fruit juices and water. Soak ginger, jeera and black elachi in a glass of water overnight. Boil it the next day and add lime juice to it. Drink it on an empty stomach.”
However, some dieticians say that a strict regime isn’t really needed. Says Parmeet, “You don’t need to agree to a restrictive meal plan to cleanse your body. Just opt for a diet that limits processed, high-fat, and sugary foods, and replaces them with more whole foods like fruits and vegetables.” Dr Megha Jaina, nutritionist, BLK Super Speciality Hospital, adds, “Our body can detoxify naturally. So, just drink a lot of water, green tea or coconut water at regular intervals.” Agrees Tanu Arora, HOD, clinical nutrition and dietetics, Aakash Healthcare Super Speciality Hospital, “The body gets rid of toxins and unwanted material if you have lots of raw fruits, vegetables and natural juices. Seasonal detox can speed up metabolism and enhance overall health.”
Cardio workouts – walking, cycling and skipping – are some of the best ways to lose weight as it burns calories and fat effectively. A brisk walk for 30-45 minutes is a good way to start your day, and it could burn 150 calories a day. Lunges are also effective in weight loss, as it works multiple muscles at once (glutes, quads, and hamstrings), thus helping the maximum amount of calories burn. Swimming vigorously can burn up to 500-700 calories an hour, whether you do a breaststroke or freestyle. You can also opt for high intensity interval training, which involves short intervals of exercise at your maximum effort, followed by longer recovery periods. Dr Megha suggests “Exercise for 150 minutes a week at least.”
But in the cold months, it’s crucial to ensure your exercise regime is safe and doesn’t do more harm than good. Always warm up for five to ten minutes before doing exercise and cool down afterwards to lower the risk of strains and sprains. Take appropriate breaks and don’t exercise with an empty stomach. Eat something light (toast with jam or skimmed milk) to give you some stamina. Plan to start slowly and boost your activity level gradually unless you are already exercising frequently. Hold off on exercise when you’re sick or feeling very fatigued. Exercising vigorously in hot, humid conditions can lead to serious overheating and dehydration. Also, choose drinks that replace fluids plus essential electrolytes. Also, avoid outdoor activities early morning or at dusk as the pollution levels are high then.
Yoga is another a great way to burn fat, build muscle tone and become more flexibile if practiced regularly. Parmeet says, “Yoga lowers cortisol levels that will help you naturally lose weight. Always repeat the pose on both sides of the body to build strength and flexibility equally in the body. Surya Namaskar, one of the most widely practiced and basic yoga asanas, actually focuses on various parts of the body and work wonders with weight loss.”
THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND
Consuming five or six servings of raw fruits and vegetables a day helps the processes that eliminate excess fat.
Increase your consumption of water and healthy drinks supports the functioning of your metabolism in terms of rapid weight loss.
Proper sleep timings increase the production of the hormone that control hunger.
Avoid oily and fried food.
Avoid calorie-dense desserts like halwa, gulab jamun, etc.
Avoid processed foods. Highly processed foods are loaded with artificial chemicals, including flavorants, texturants, colourants and preservatives. They are often high in refined carbohydrates.