September 30, 2016 12:02 AM NPT
By: Aditi Sharma
Dashain holidays are about to begin and it will, once again, be that time of the year when we over stuff ourselves and then some more. Though I’m eagerly looking forward to some time off work, catching up with friends and relatives over a game of cards, I also dread what this festival time inevitably does to my fitness goals. It’s almost an offense to say no to food when you visit your relatives during Dashain.
Many of my friends and fitness buddies (as I’ve come to call my gym mates) are also looking forward to Dashain and dreading it equally. This time means no exercise, more food, and our past three months of hard work at the gym going down the drain. But it doesn’t have to be that way. There are things that we can do to make sure we don’t negate all the effort we have put into getting in shape.
I know I won’t be hitting the gym during Dashain holidays – they too will be closed for some festive fun. So I have already readied some home-based workout to follow during this time. But if I know anything from my long (and often frustrating) struggle with weight loss, it is that diet attributes to 70% of your fitness goals. Exercise is a minor part of it. It’s what goes into your body that is more important.
So how do I incorporate masu-bhaat, sweets, and a few drinks here and there, and still maintain my current weight? Yes, I will be focusing on ‘maintaining my current weight’ because, let’s face it, trying to lose weight during the festivities is unrealistic and pretty much impossible. That is something I’ll have to get back to once the Dashain-Tihar fever is over. But I can try and keep the ‘damage’ as less as possible so that post the holidays I won’t have to start all over again.
There are a few things I’ll be eating to make sure I don’t put on weight. Yes, you read that right. I’ll be eating to stay fit. Growing scientific evidence indicates that a diet rich in calcium allows us to burn more calories per day and results in up to half the amount of fat being stored versus diets low in calcium. Calcium binds with bile acids and increases the amount of fat we excrete through the bowel – so instead of storing it we lose it. Calcium-rich foods included include cottage cheese, spinach, broccoli, tinned salmon and feta cheese, to name a few.
Then I’ll focus on getting my dose of Omega 3 fatty acids. Found in the likes of oily fish, kidney beans, chickpeas, frozen peas, avocado and walnuts, studies suggest Omega 3 fatty acids are one of the great secrets to permanent fat loss. They help maintain healthy blood sugar levels, inhibit the storage of calories as fat, encourage glucose to be stored in muscle cells not fat cells and increase thermogenesis – the production of heat by cells within the body causing fat to be used as fuel and calories burned.
Also some cardinal rules that I’ll be following are: Eating only fruit till 11.30am, avoiding starchy carbs after seven in the evening, eating something every two to three hours to keep my metabolism high and thus avoiding energy dips and cravings, getting 30 minutes of physical activity every day, ideally first thing in the morning when you fat burn more efficiently for as long as eight hours afterwards, and sipping on water throughout the day.
These might be just enough to save me during Dashain. I wish I could do more but then again, I have to be realistic here. So I’m sticking to working out at home with the help of YouTube videos and eating right. I have also recently discovered and fallen in love with strength training and plan on doing some form of it one way or the other throughout the holidays. If there is anything that will help you keep your weight in check, it is strength training. I recommend this form of exercise to people of all kinds of body type.
My trainer also recommends that, during the holidays, I plan ahead by eating lightly throughout the day to ensure I have set aside enough calories for ‘freaking out’ with friends and relatives later on. You have to remind yourself that if eating is one of the biggest pleasures in life, then so is being in shape and act accordingly. And if you can get just 30 minutes of exercise every day, then there’s nothing like it. If you keep these little things in mind and make time for it, you won’t have to struggle with losing the holiday weight once the festivities are over.
Disclaimer: I’m not a fitness expert. I’m just someone who has worked hard to lose weight. I have consulted a dietician friend to find out what works for me, and suggest you do the same. I’m only sharing my weight loss experience through The Week and trying to motivate you all to adopt a healthy lifestyle. It’s always best to get an experts advice before beginning a diet and workout plan. Stop exercising if you experience pain during the workout. Also never reduce your calorie intake to less than 1000.
If you have any queries regarding my weight loss journey, write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.