Eat.Train.Repeat Metroplus

A surge in fest and feast

It is the time to let go and enjoy  

The human body is a dynamic system which stores and burns fat during its every living moment. We like to weigh ourselves every week or day, and tend to think that the body tallies things up once in a while. In reality, the body is always tallying things up – energy, salts, minerals, nutrients and more. Any time you eat, your body converts the food into energy and nutrients. It then uses the required nutrients and energy, flushes the extra nutrients and stores the remaining energy (as fat). At all times, your body uses the free and stored energy (calories) in the body to keep you alive.

Remember, calories are not burned only when you exercise. Standing, sitting, digesting and even breathing requires energy, and so your body is always burning calories. So, at all points of time, you use energy and hence burn calories. The balance of what goes in and what goes out is what is critical here. Of course, this is a simplistic model which does not take into consideration malfunctioning systems that could favour one or the other side of this equation. But for the majority, this applies rather well.

What about festivals? There is a time to eat and it is probably now. Festivals are a time of family, friends, food and fun. Don’t make it hard on yourself and the people around you. The idea (as thought out by our forefathers) is to eat simple food in a modest fashion throughout the year and indulge during such times of happiness. As per this model, in 365 days, we are presented with under 10 days of guilt-free indulgence. And, if the other 355 days went per plan, these 10 days won’t cause any considerable harm. That is, if you ate nutritious non-indulgent meals for all non-festival days of the year, your Deepavali binge won’t affect your looks, fitness or health much.

Irrespective of the occasion, any time there is a surge in calories, there needs to be a surge in activity to balance things out. Without that, the extra calories have nowhere to go except into your fat cells. Regardless of what your age, sex, height or fitness levels are, if you consume more than your normal amount of calories but burn only the normal amount, the excess will be stored. It is wise to plan to do something with all that extra energy that is coming in. That means you have two very simple action items on days leading up to Deepavali (or any occasion) and on the couple of days after.

1. Keep your activity levels high. Train longer, get in an extra session, play, walk for no reason or head out for a random run. The load of calories you ate will fuel you more than sufficiently and will also help you recover from the increased training load.

2. Eat a little light for a couple of days after. You don’t have to starve. But you can pull out the treats and keep your meals simple.

In short, a surge is coming and you know it. So, get ready for it by scheduling two disciplined days before and after the fest. Without overthinking it, simply eat nutrient-rich simple food and do something active on those days. That will keep you in good health and shape around festivals.

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Printable version | Jan 19, 2021 5:16:00 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/A-surge-in-fest-and-feast/article16084520.ece

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