Beat the binge
Looking and feeling your best in this season of indulgences can be a struggle. Those whose job it is to look their best at all times tell us what it takes
There's no dearth of reasons to celebrate this time of the year. While the festival of lights brings tasty cocktails, crumbly motichoor laddoos and crisp-fried chaklis, the passing of 2019 will see most of us reaching for sugary Christmas goodies, topped with invitingly greasy 'party' food. And why not, considering that many of our contemporary culinary traditions are rooted in the foods we eat when we celebrate. The downside to this merrymaking is that it can easily derail all but the most vigilant of diets, and can leave you looking and feeling bloated, sluggish and dull if you don't take the right counter-measures in time. Four actors for whom looking good and socialising are part of the job share what it takes to look and feel your sparkling best.
Be strict about workouts
It's tough to be hyper vigilant about your diet because of all the socialising. The key to not falling off the wagon, I believe, lies in making the right choices when it comes to indulgences. At parties, I veer towards foods that are baked and not fried. If I am going to a venue where I know that my food choices will be limited, I try to eat before I go. While I do not follow a strict diet (I eat a staple dal-rice-subzi meal on most days), I am conscious about the foods that don't suit my blood group, which is B positive. Accordingly, I avoid foods such as chicken, wheat and beans as far as possible. That isn't to say that I don't give in to the occasional indulgence — this Diwali, I ate half a kilo of kaju katli by myself! I made sure that I was regular with my workouts for the next few days. Since I have a naturally lean and athletic body type, I prefer to avoid cardio. In fact, over the last three months, I have begun electro-muscle stimulation workouts, which involve wearing an electrode suit that stimulates your body as you weight-train. This ensures that even your smallest muscles are activated, and you can enjoy all the benefits of an hour-long strength workout in only 20 minutes. I also practise kalaripayatu thrice a week and am planning to take to yoga soon. On days when I can't manage a complete gym workout, I make sure to squeeze in 15 minutes of HIIT. - Pooja Bhamrrah
Cool tip: To look my glowing best on days when I am battling a hangover, I drink good amounts of coconut water and get at least seven to eight hours of sleep.
Maintain a balance
From Diwali card parties to Christmas celebrations or NYE bashes, this time of the year is all about going out. For me, it's easy to lose track of my diet. I spent the three days of Diwali at home, gorging on traditional (but unhealthy) festive favourites. There are also sweets that were made at home and I had to eat at least a little to keep my parents happy. I try to keep a balance by eating very light on the days I am going out — I up my intake of soups, salads and citrus fruits, and drink copious amounts of lemon juice. I make sure to eat before I go to parties so that I don't end up eating too much of the wrong foods. I usually stick to red wine as compared to other alcoholic beverages but have recently swapped this with white wine and champagne, on the advice of my trainer. On the rare occasion that I do drink vodka, gin or whiskey, I make sure to have these with water and not any aerated beverages. I typically follow a high-protein, low-carb diet and stick to homemade meals as far as possible. I also carry my own food while shooting. If I don't have access to my preferred food, I will snack on nuts and energy bars until I get home. Even when I do give in to hunger pangs, I restrict my portion size to a snack and not a complete meal. My schedule can get very busy at this time of the year, to the extent that I sometimes have to skip the gym. I make up with a 20-minute stretching routine and by staying active as much as I can. In fact, I often sneak in a few squats or lunges between takes. - Anupriya Goenka
Cool tip: Since I am not very good at compensating by restricting myself, I try to eat the same thing every day, on most days, and stay away from binges.
Eat smart at parties
I follow a high-protein diet and am quite regular about my exercise. However, there are a few hacks I have come up with, to look and feel my best at this time of the year. For one, I believe that it's important to not inform too many people when you're leaving a party. Once the chain of goodbyes begins, you will invariably find the host or fellow guests trying to be extra hospitable by insisting you eat just one more sweet or stay for five minutes more. These can add up and you'll soon find that your schedule is derailed, and you've ended up eating foods you didn't intend to. Even while at parties, I make sure to avoid foods that are fried or contain wheat, sugar and milk. The next morning, I throw in some extra cardio to burn off the extra calories. On days when I am too busy to hit the gym, I make good with 200 push-ups at home. - Manjot Singh
Cool tip: I drink a lot of water at parties, which fills me up and reduces the likelihood of a binge.
Watch your calories
I believe that being disciplined about your food also makes you more disciplined in other areas of life. I avoid binges by reminding myself that these festive indulgences can result in weight gain and ruin the efforts I've put in, over the last few months. Although the festivities around Diwali last much longer than just the day — with many events and parties leading up to the actual festival — I allow myself to indulge only on the three days of Diwali. Even on those mornings, I squeeze in a run if a complete workout is not possible. It's also important to educate yourself about the food you're eating. For me, my diet often changes in keeping with my professional requirements. While I was on a high-protein, high-carb diet last year, I am aiming for a leaner body this year and am on a Keto diet. Most of us believe that the Keto diet is very restrictive, but there are still many things you can eat at social dos if you know what to look for. I avoid grains but indulge in chicken and paneer. My typical workout comprises strength training, and functional training for flexibility and cardio. I include yoga and dance twice a week. I've found that if you are regular with your workouts and conscious about nutrition, missing a few days of gym workouts will not harm your body. The only concession on days when I can't work out is to ensure I'm not adding any excess calories. To beat the puffiness and mental exhaustion on the mornings after, I recommend 15 minutes of meditation and rubbing your face with cold ice — both can make you feel instantly rejuvenated. - Jitin Gulati
Cool tip: I try to eat an early dinner at about 7.30 or 8 pm, before I head out for a party.
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