*Image courtesy: © Thinkstock photos/ Getty Images
Diwali is round the corner and so are all the sweets, late nights, late mornings and holidays from work. The one thing that seldom figures in any Diwali celebration plans is how you will stay fit during the festivities. This is a common issue with people who've worked hard at losing weight, only to succumb to temptation. On the one hand, one week of indulgence can be harmless. But on the other - if you are new to exercise and have spent less than six months with your current routine, then you are at a high risk of dropping off the fitness radar for a long time, due to week-long breaks such as this one. So how can you remain true to exercise and balanced eating? Let's go through a checklist of of how you can stay fit this Diwali:
Indulge in just those foods that are dear to you because of the festival: Many of us take festivals such as Diwali as an excuse to indulge in just about anything we were craving all year round. Cakes, street food, junk food from fast food restaurants, for that matter even cocktails and chocolates, have very little to do with Diwali. Kaju Katli, Gulabjamuns, Rasgullas, Jalebis - these are what Diwali entails. So stick to the festival essentials and continue with your healthy eating plan of three nutritious meals a day.
Even festival food has healthy dishes. Eating a post-pooja breakfast, or a family lunch or dinner? Look around the food spread to locate the healthy foods. As a thumb-rule, fried dishes aren't your best bet. So if you know there will be a grand Diwali dinner on the main festival night, then save your fried food calories for that evening. Until then, look for rice based dishes like vegetable pulaos, and white meat biryanis (again, save the red meat delicious dishes for the main event).
Your favourite trigger words for dish selection should be -
- whole grain or at least some grain (rotis, parathas, rice),
- lean protein (eggs, chicken, fish),
- dry fruits and nuts (remember not to eat more than a handful),
- dairy (this is the time to love lassis, smoothies, paneer, and any milk or yogurt based beverages or dishes),
- Fruits and vegetables - don't miss a single chance to load up on fruits and vegetables at meals or as snacks - in any form,
- and plenty of water.
What about exercise? With Diwali late nights and late mornings, your workouts will suffer. Moreover, most gyms and fitness studios are closed for the festival week. What does one do then? One entire week of no workouts can be deadly to a new exercisers commitment and resolve to workout regularly. You might take it for granted that you'll get back the next week, but with one week's fun and frolic the damage would be done. In fact, research tells us that if you have not worked out regularly for more than six months, then even a three day drop off will heavily impact your workout regularity in the future.
So this is what you need to do:
- Plan your Diwali week in advance. You will see that there are at least three mornings out of six that don't have to be late, because the previous nights will end early.
- Designate these mornings to home workouts. The good news is that, with work off, you can do these home workouts even at 9 or 10am.
- Plan these home workouts with your trainer. He or she will tell you what to do in order to continue with your fitness goals.
- If you don't have a trainer or don't believe in structured fitness routines, then simply head out for a run. India has lovely weather all the way till 9am in October, no matter which city you're in.
- Ensure that you warm up and cool down even with these home workouts or morning runs.
- If running, then end the run with a few resistance exercises. Four such basic exercises that will keep your muscle work up, are squats, push ups, dips, and lunges.
It's all in the planning and following through. Staying fit this Diwali will give you two things - 1. A sleek body that'll continue looking toned and fit. 2. A better chance at returning to your workouts and balanced eating plan once the festival is over.
You spend a lot of money and planning on clothes, accessories, fireworks, food, drink, and merriment for each festival, especially Diwali. Extend this planning to your fitness during this festival as well. You will find that the best accessory you can enjoy Diwali with is a fit body and mind. Besides, a well toned body looks good in anything.
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