01 October, 2008

Keeping Fit During Diwali

Keeping trim during Diwali festivities would seem to be a paradox because mithai and Diwali go hand in hand with each other. You give and receive laddoos, barfis & chocolates as gifts and they certainly aren't low in calories! Keeping fit is also difficult because shopping trips, traffic, and fatigue (because of the shopping and traffic) disrupt your regular fitness routine.

Does this mean you should give up and resign yourself to gaining, on the average, seven pounds by the time December rolls around? Not if you consider these suggestions for a healthy and guilt-free festive season.

Eat only the foods you really enjoy.
Special (usually high calorie) foods are part of this special season. Food plays a big part in celebrations and parties. It would be miserable to have to gnaw on salads while watching everyone else descend on the food-laden family table. Let yourself go and join in the festivities. However, limit yourself to eating only those foods you really enjoy. Do not use the season as an excuse to over-indulge in everything else.

Use the same control when it comes to all those food goodies you receive as gifts. If you don't really like kaju katli, you don't have to eat them. Give them away at the office or to charitable institutions. Keep and enjoy only those gifts you really like to eat. Don't waste your calories.

Watch out for emotional eating.
Parties can be a very stressful time. Watch out for stuffing your mouth to relieve some of that stress. Use other means to relax like a soothing massage, lighting aroma candles, decorating & cleaning the house.

Get enough sleep.
It's easy to lack sleep during the parties. There's always one more party to attend. Believe it or not, some studies have shown that when people are short on sleep, they eat more. It's as though the body is trying to obtain energy from food that was meant to come from adequate rest.

Have realistic expectations.
Diwali is not the time to try and lose weight. Consider yourself successful just to maintain your weight. Don't feel guilty either if, in spite of your best efforts, you put on a pound or two. A few pounds are easily taken care of when your schedule gets back to normal in December.

Beware the "all-or-nothing" attitude.
This time can be deadly if you have the "all-or-nothing" attitude towards food. This attitude says: "What's the use? I overate during the Diwali party. I might as well stop watching what I eat and go all the way". Going all the way means giving up all control, eating every fattening morsel that comes your way, feeling terribly guilty, eating some more, etc. So what if you succumbed to the Chocolate Cake? It's not the end of the world. You can always eat a light low-calorie dinner to balance it out.

Create lower calorie versions of high calorie favorites.
If you are talented in the kitchen, consider modifying some of your favorite recipes to make them lower in total calorie content. For example, lessen the amount of sugar by ¼ of what the recipe calls for. Most people will not even notice the difference. Use brown instead of white sugar. You will use fewer calories if you use loosely packed brown sugar instead of the same amount of white sugar. Or when the recipe calls for milk, use skim milk instead of full-cream milk. It's worth experimenting because any which way you can cut calories makes in a difference in the long run.

Eat low-calorie at home, high-calorie when eating out.
To really enjoy all the rich food that is served at parties without putting on too much weight, eat low calorie meals at home to even out the total damage. To eat high calorie meals in and out of the home all holiday season long will spell disaster on the scale when the day of reckoning comes.

Modify your fitness routine.
You need exercise now more than any other time during the year to manage stress levels and to burn off all those excess calories that come disguised as gifts from well-meaning friends. The problem is it can be very difficult to maintain your regular fitness routine as the Diwali comes closer because of frenzied shopping and chaotic traffic.

Instead of not exercising at all, try modifying your usual routine by cutting down on either the frequency or the duration of your workouts. If you are used to working out daily, try cutting it down to two to three times a week. If you are used to one-hour workouts, try doing only thirty minutes. The whole point is that you should continue to do some exercise instead of none at all. Not only will this maintain your fitness till the end of year, but it will also help calm your frazzled nerves.


  1. These are some fantastic tips for the festive season ahead which goes on till December. I always hog on all types of sweets, now I won't. :)

    After sometime, I would request you to start a series (maybe weekly) for menopausal ladies and probably gents of same age group.

    Similarly for other groups.

  2. @Cuckoo. Sure i will write some tips for menopausal women sometime soon

  3. Great tips, Kiran! As much as I love holidays, they do take a toll on me..... even though they shouldn't have to.