Personal Trainer and Nutrition Coach at Glowfit, Dhafy shares some quick tips on staying your healthy best self during the most fun, festive and feast-ful times of the year!
Some of us might think that eating well during this festive period is next to impossible, especially when Mariyambu-dhaitha and Haleema-dhaitha insist that you eat everything that’s on the table at both of their houses! In any case, your relationship with food should always be a good one.
Whether you’re on holiday, you’re celebrating a birthday or even in your daily routine - you can learn to be mindful with your eating habits and always feel good and savor your meals.
Calories in and calories out. Eventually, this is what determines that you maintain your fat percentage (hence your weight) and whether you gain some or lose some. The ‘calories in’ are what we call the calories that you eat.
Similarly, ‘calories out’ are the ones that are burnt - mainly due to exercise and metabolism. Simply said, when our calorie intake is higher than what is burnt off - the number on the scale increases. Not to fret though, we can maintain a balance between the two simply by being more mindful of what we eat, and what we do with that energy.
The starting point of maintaining this balance has to do with the big ‘P’ - portioning.
Now, ‘serving size’, a term that gets thrown around a lot, is the recommended amount of food that is given in a specific dietary guideline. However, the portion size of the meal refers to the amount of food that you actually eat.
More often than not your portion size varies depending on how hungry you are at a given time. So, therefore, portioning is being aware of how hungry you are but at the same time, being mindful of your intake.
The question of the moment then becomes, how do we achieve this mindfulness?
Here are some short but hopefully, sweet thoughts, on how one could work towards this goal.
With each meal, set your plate intent - in this case, with the desired portion size. This way you have a clear idea of what you are eating and how much you are eating.
This should always be according to your likes and dislikes. You can choose to eat everything, although in moderation. You can even choose which type of food you would like to indulge in more! For instance, if you have a sweet tooth and feel the need to dig into your Maama’s special 'bondibai', you could decide to have less of the 'biriyani' to save space for your favorite dessert!
Your senses can play a huge role in mindful eating. With each bite that you take, take a moment to concentrate on how your food looks, smells, tastes and feels - in your mouth and in your stomach. Here’s a trick, try imagining that you’re in a slow-motion food advertisement! This is one way you can enjoy your food more and end up needing less to feel satisfied.
Food brings people together, especially during celebratory times like Eid. In islands such as Thaa Atoll’s Veymandoo, almost the entire island have breakfast together! Take chances like this to spend more moments bonding with your friends and family and really ignite the spirit of Eid! Trust me, though the temptation is real with the kind of spreads that are to come, it’ll be a much better feeling than gobbling up your food all at once.
Listen to your body’s signals of satiety (satisfaction). Our stomach and brain are constantly communicating with one another through pathways of hormones and nerves. By eating slowly and listening to your body, you will find that it is easier to realize when your stomach is satisfied.
At the end of the day, no matter what day of the year, your relationship with food should always be a special and personal journey for you.
You are unique - so to understand what works for you, you should always continue to explore which foods really do feel good in the time during your meal as well as after consuming it.
These days, there’s an endless stream of information out there on nutrition and health. Not everything is true though, and it is important to take it all with the right amount of skepticism.
Often times, sources on social media may try to convince you to eat in a certain way to achieve a certain goal - because it worked for a certain celebrity or something of the sort... The problem with this logic is, our bodies are pretty different on the inside just like it is on the outside - so what works for some people might not work for others.
This is why, it is always best to explore your food choices and stick with foods that you enjoy eating - to maintain a sustainable, flexible and healthy diet. Once you’ve got that down, festivities should be, basically, a piece of cake.