Jyoti Dabas shares five secrets and tricks to socialising while sticking to your health goals
Do you feel your health goals derail every time you socialise with your relatives and friends? Worried that you might overeat or drink too much and fall off the bandwagon? Or do you cancel all your social invites so you don’t lose your progress?
Well, look no further, we have got you covered. Going out with friends, family or for social events no longer needs to be stressful, daunting or a full-of-guilt affair anymore. You can bake your cake and eat it too! All you have to do is keep the following five guidelines in mind which will help you stay on track:
Remember the ½ and ¼ rule
While going out is fun and you should enjoy yourself and eat what you desire to, there is an easy way to ensure you do not overdo on calories. To begin with, make sure that you fill up half your plate with vegetables. These could be low calorie vegetables, which means those that are high in fibre or water content. Of course, you need a balanced meal, so add lean proteins such as chicken, fish, or paneer to fill quarter of your plate. And last but not least, fill the remainder of your plate with carbohydrates such as rice or lentils. This can be a good guideline if you want to have an overall low-calorie meal.
Everything in moderation is fine
Want to eat that burger, pizza or slice of cake? Go ahead! A few bites will not derail you from achieving your health goals. In fact, depriving yourself from food often leads to binge-sessions. You might end up consuming three-fold or four-fold of the calories in comparison to just a few bites. When you are eating your favourite high calorie food, make sure you slow down your eating — savor the taste, texture and make every bite last. Now all you have to do is ensure you balance the remainder of your meal with nutritious food items.
Starving yourself before going out might not be a good idea
You could not be more wrong to think that you will adjust the calories by starving yourself or eating light during the day for your night-out. On the contrary, arriving hungry to a party or a dinner will lead you to make poor food choices such as snacking on fried foods, peanuts, and so on. Instead, according to the ‘quantified nutrition’ methodology, spread the excess calories in a structured manner over the next three to four days.
Enjoy the occasion
It can be stressful to go out and keep worrying about your calorie intake and the food you are consuming. But remind yourself that you are outside to enjoy yourself so, go have fun! Forget the food, strike a conversation with your friends, dance, play a game and simply enjoy the moment and the company you are in.
Watch out for alcohol-based or carbonated/sugary drinks
Calories from alcohol, mixers and accompanying food can quickly add up. Ideally, alcohol is never advisable but for some, it is an inevitable part of enjoying the occasion. The best thing is to be aware and choose your drinks and mixers wisely. Cocktails can be the worst offenders while food that goes along with the drinks pile up the calories. There are some great alternatives including infused water or low calorie drinks that have negligible calories. Keep hydrated and enjoy your time out without fussing about ruining your progress.
You no longer have to be a hermit when it comes to accepting social invites. Needless to say, do not overdo it if you are serious about seeing progress. Keep these guidelines handy and remember to plan well in advance. You are now well equipped with the above tips which will allow you to have a fun and stress-free night-out.
(The author is the co-founder and CEO of Institute of Nutrition and Fitness Sciences (INFS).)