Staying Healthy During Festivals

Hi friends, happy Friday!

I am sure everything is going alright and you are smashing the goals you set for yourself, for 2021…it’s almost the year-end! I know there still are two more months to go but the way the time flies by, is crazy and we will be there before we even know it.

But right now, the festive season is upon us and we get to be merry and give this year a grand farewell.

Today’s post was supposed to be the part 2 of the antioxidants post that I did last Friday. However, when many people asked for help with festive eating on DMs and Instagram, I had to put antioxidants aside for next week…and press the emergency button on festive eating. They needed help and I guess, many others do too. I am available on Instagram here, by the way:

https://www.instagram.com/healthcoach_smita/

It is funny how we stick to a routine for the whole year and give in to the festive-grind a little too much…and start back where we were at New Year’s. Only with added guilt and stress. Not healthy. Neither is giving up completely nor the guilt.

Truth be told, I don’t understand it. What is the issue here? Why do we need to even worry about this festival season? Ideally, it’s just another part of the year where we still need to practice mindful eating and staying active. That’s a life-long habit…it is supposed to be! Just because I ate sweets a few times won’t make my abs disappear suddenly…or increase my sugar levels permanently. The keyword here is few times.

And mindful eating sails us through any sort of days- festival, travelling or illness, it doesn’t matter.

Mindful eating lets us enjoy whatever we want to enjoy and being mindful also lets us be flexible. Just like a good diet/health plan should be – flexible and sustainable.

I have two questions for anyone with the same fear/dilemma:

  • Isn’t your health plan sustainable? Any good diet-plan should be sustainable and enjoyable
  • Second, would you be partying, eating sweets/delicacies starting from breakfast and late into night? For many days?

If the answer to first question is yes and the answer to second is no, I don’t see a problem. A couple of sweets, some heavy meals and some late-night partying, would not ruin it for us (and for anyone) provided we stayed on track, the rest of the year.

Good health is not a 21 days challenge or transformation. It is all about eating clean and balanced, day after day…it is about staying active and also about having no nutritional deficiencies as well as normal health parameters, including normal digestion.

Yes, if you have a particular goal in mind then you need to still be following your goal-plan but do know that 1-2 days of late nights and a few of festive meals won’t change it much. It is all about what you do the rest of the year!

However, having said all this, here are a few tips which would help you stay in control and on track with your goals:

  • Keep the days as normal as possible. Do not skip meals just because you are going to have a lavish dinner in night. You would end up over-eating, for sure
  • Keep the normal meals of your day heavy on veggies and include probiotics in it, to avoid unnecessary bloating and acidity. curd, curd-rice, whole grains, whole foods are great for the purpose
  • Do not leave the house hungry, have something light before you leave
  • Keep drinking water when you are out. I am sure washroom would be accessible wherever you are. In fact, the extra trips to washroom might earn your extra NEAT (Non-exercise activity thermogenesis)
  • Skip mocktails and sugary beverages. This itself would help tremendously. Take a buttermilk if eating out at a restaurant. Water is always available everywhere any which ways
  • Moderate your food consumption, stick to small quantities and split your dessert with someone
  • Enjoy the food and chew slowly…feel the flavors
  • In fact, it would be a great idea to stick to only the festival-specific food and sweets. What is the point of gobbling up all the food in one go if it is available through the year easily e.g. bhakerwadi, chakli, cookies, chocolates etc
  • Pick up some salad by default. Make sure you fill 25-30% of your plate with fresh veggies. However, be careful with the dressings such as mayo etc
  • Most people serve dry fruits today, along with sweets. Swap some for sweets and cookies. Ditto with fresh fruits, if available

Let us remember that in festive times, what matters most is the festive vibe. Celebrating the festival with family and friends is such a fresh breath of air! Let it recharge us, take a much-needed pause, look around, enjoy the beauty and decorations everywhere… and stay surrounded with our loved ones and enjoy. Vibe high!

Also, let us not feel bad when someone tries to pressurize us into eating when we don’t want to and we say a firm NO…and when people try to make us feel guilty about picking up only half of that sweet. Let us not mock someone who is clearly trying to stay on-track. Let us not equate love to force-feeding and let us focus on the true traditions of the festival, the true sentiments behind it all.

Happy Deepawali in advance, my friends. Till next Friday,

Love, Health & Peace

Part 1: Can You Recognize Eating Disorders?

Hi friends, how are you doing? Hope all is going good.

Today’s post is about eating disorders. It is also about our relationship with food. It needs to be a positive one where we are not scared of eating per se. Where we are not just counting our calories and macros all the time but definitely, being more mindful.

We need to know what we want out of food and how our eating habits affect that ‘want’. We need to know what good food can do to us and what are the consequences of unhealthy choices. If we do not know, we can research. The simplest thing is to ask for help, from someone who does understand and who can teach us.

There is neither harm nor any shame in asking for help. It just means that we are wise enough to ask for help when we need it.

Lot of people feel that weight management and disease management are all about quitting some foods, especially the fun ones. It’s not true!

Yes, right nutrition would by default ask you to eat cleaner and in the right amounts. One might need to be more disciplined initially but once you come to a point where you have things under control and have space to play around your food, you are sorted for life! As soon as we undo the damage caused over the years (and be patient for it to happen), we can start fresh!

As a Health Coach and Nutritionist, I feel that it’s my job to teach my clients how to eat healthy for the rest of their lives, having fun and indulgences included in the process too. And that is how it stays sustainable, isn’t it?

Anyways, what I really wanted to talk today is about eating disorders. Eating disorders are not just about food, they are basically about our mind. Do read about these today and if one or the other applies to you or a family-member, medical intervention is required. And as I said before, there is no harm in seeking help when we need it, it’s just wisdom!

There are many kinds of eating disorders and let’s go through them one by one. It would take more than one post for me to cover them all and today is the part-1 of the series. If you have any experience with either of these, please share your experience with me.

What Are Eating Disorders?

It’s more of a psychological condition than anything else. It results in unhealthy eating patterns and unhealthy food relationships. It causes serious health issues and if left untreated, can be fatal.

It can affect anyone at any age however teenagers and young women (in 20s and 30s) are the most affected of these eating disorders. The causes could range from peer-pressure, social stereotypes, body-image issues to depression.

Most of these cases go unnoticed and can have serious malnutrition or health complications, later.

With right help and treatment, eating disorders and their serious complications can be reversed eventually.

Types of Eating Disorders

Eating disorders are serious mental illnesses. The most common 4 types of eating disorders are:

  1. Anorexia
  2. Bulimia
  3. Binge eating
  4. Pica

Other types include rumination disorder and avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder etc.

Causes

There could be many causes to an eating disorder. It could be a personality trait or influenced by genetics. Many cultures have practices which promote certain stereotypes. Social pressure/media projection to be of a certain body-image, is another major reason. Serotonin and dopamine – chemicals secreted by our brains, play an important part in it too.

Having said that, there is a thin line between ‘’accepting and loving yourself’’ and being ‘’plain lazy’’. If you truly love yourself, you don’t need to be thin but you definitely need to be healthy…and strong. If you truly care for yourself and prioritize yourself…you need to eat healthy and exercise regularly too. If you truly want a chance with peace and acceptance, you need to deep-breathe and go inwards even if you find it boring.

Accepting yourself does not translate into giving up!

Symptoms & Signs Of Eating Disorders

So, how do we identify these eating disorders? Most of them have a few signs in common and they include unhealthy eating patterns or obsession with body-weight, body-image or certain food(s) such as:

  1. Skipping meals
  2. Adopting a very restrictive diet
  3. Shunning certain food groups completely (such as no fat or no carbs intake)
  4. Skipping social events/activities
  5. Excessive focus on healthy eating or excessive exercise
  6. Very low body-weight
  7. Insisting on eating alone or cooking alone even if the family is around
  8. Checking self in mirror frequently and finding faults
  9. Frequent washroom visits during or after eating
  10. Callused knuckles from frequent induced vomiting
  11. Dental enamel problems due to frequent induced vomiting
  12. Consistently worrying about body-weight or body-shape
  13. Eating large amounts of sweets or fatty foods
  14. Feeling guilty post eating
  15. Anxious about eating and body weight constantly
  16. Obsessing over model/clothes sizes etc

If you or someone in your family shows such signs, you know that something is wrong and medical intervention is needed before it brings serious health complications. With patience and proper treatment, these disorders can be reversed and one can adopt better and healthier eating patterns.

In the end, relationship with food and knowing our body types is important. The focus should be on optimal health rather than just body weight. Mental health or Emotional health is as important as physical health and they all, go hand in hand. One is not possible without the other.

Hope this post helped you today with some new insights. Stay tuned for the part 2 of this, next Friday where we discuss each in more detail. In case you wish to join me on Instagram for a regular dose on topics related to Health, Nutrition, Fitness & Motivation, the link is:

https://www.instagram.com/healthcoach_smita/

Till next Friday,

Love, Health & Peace

Weight Management With Mindful Eating

Hi friends, hope all is good at your end! happy Friday!!

This is the second and last part of ‘Mindful Eating’ series. Mindful eating can also be called meditation with food, and rightly so. It’s not very complicated and far, far easier than actual meditation. And definitely, more delicious for one! Do read the part one here, in case you missed it.

I too have binge-eaten a lot in past. If I was eating a packet of cookies, I’ll finish most of the packet in one go. If I liked something, I ate multiple servings of it. It was for the taste and probably the addiction to sugar. I had a sweet-tooth and sweets, desserts, cookies, ice-cream, thandai, flavoured milks and other baked delicacies were my weakness.

It happened automatically to me but thankfully, I noticed the changes. With house in chaos always, with two little ones running and fighting and the Other Half fond of running TV debates on high volume, I eventually resorted to eating in my kitchen, for some quiet time ?

It helped – eating in peace, I mean. I paid attention to my food.

Mindful eating is definitely achievable and is way better than any fad-diets which are never sustainable, in longer run. What makes mindful eating even better is the fact that it coordinates mind and body, just like a good meditation session.

Mindful eating is eating with awareness so that we understand what our body is craving at a point of time and to eat accordingly. To understand when to stop eating and to realize what really satisfies us when it comes to food. And to truly enjoy each bite of our food.

How?

It Involves

  • Eating in quiet, peaceful surroundings, without external distractions
  • Eating slowly
  • Understanding body’s hunger cues – knowing when to eat and when to stop eating
  • To dissociate food with anxiety and moods
  • Thoroughly enjoying each bite and to feel various texture, smells and flovours
  • Knowing what we eat is how we feel
  • Being grateful for the food and the health it brings

Benefits

  • Once you start practicing mindful eating, you start understanding your body better and once you understand your body better, you start understanding the value of nutrition
  • You get a better control on your eating habits
  • And this in turn, not just provide assistance in weigh issues, eating disorders etc but also makes you feel better

It is not about a diet or even diet-control. This one is all about eating and the pleasure of it, in our bodies and mind! To see which foods make us happy and healthier, both! At times, we all overeat and then feel like crap, bloated and unhappy for a long while…wishing we never ate that junk or at least ate in control, don’t we?

To realize that itself, is one level achieved. To realize what we eat affects our feelings and our moods, is a lot of progress already.

What could be better than being able to manage weight issues and eating disorders, WITH eating? We just learn to listen to what our body is telling us and eat. The main thing here is to listen. Not easy but not hard either.

Did you like today’s post? Share with your family and friends. Do join me on Instagram for regular stories, nutritional tips and a healthy dose of motivation to keep you on track.

https://www.instagram.com/jillofmanytrades_blogger/

Till next Friday

Namaste, Health and Peace