Being a travel and food writer, my safe excuse for not being able to lose weight is that I “have” to eat out often! Luke Coutinho, Celebrity & Holistic Nutritionist, hears this excuse almost everyday. Needless to say, he has excellent answers and tips for staying fit while eating out and partying. Luke, who is MD, Alternative Medicine and Founder, PureNutrition, shares these tips in a guest column for the readers of Blue Sky Dreamers.
“I have to go out for a social event; my healthy eating plan will go for a toss.” I often hear this line, from my clients worldwide. Social influences on eating or drinking are dominant and pervasive. Get together with your friends, family or relatives are super fun, but don’t let these things sabotage your health goal. Let’s check on how you can follow a healthy eating habits while socialising:
- When you are eating at a hotel, don’t wait to order your dish till last; you may get influenced by others and end up eating things that can make your digestion go for a toss. Instead order first, if you order healthy stuff your family or friends will be influenced and they too will follow your foot step. So let’s take that first step towards healthy eating while socialising.
- Always start with a good serving of soup & veg salad, to add on the fibre to your plate while eating out. This will curb your hunger and fill your tummy with essential vitamins and minerals. After that you can order food of your choice, but don’t forget to keep a check on your portion.
- Sometimes you don’t have a room to order as per your choice, in that case no worries. Eat whatever you have in your plate, but exercise portion control. Practise mindful eating that is take 5 deep breaths before and after the meal and also in between chew the food well and slowly. Savour each morsel. This will help in better uptake of oxygen and which would eventually lead to greater satiety levels and digestion.
- You can choose Mediterranean cuisine as they have lots of stir fries, salads and soups. Few healthy food choices to opt when you are Eating out are whole wheat pasta in red sauce loaded with veggies, Whole wheat baked rigatoni with green leafy vegetables/mushrooms/stir fried chicken, dimsums, momos, grilled chicken or fish, veg/chicken risotto, veg pulav, tandoori items etc.
- Avoid fried stuffs as much as possible as it will create a havoc in digestion process. Even stay away from sweets, but if you feel like having then have a small piece and don’t feel guilty about it.
- Now let’s talk of drinking, which is an unavoidable part of socialising. You can’t avoid but can definitely opt for a drink with lesser calories for eg: Champagne is the lowest calorie drink. Drink 1 glass lemon water at start and in between your drinks. This makes the stomach full with water & you tend to avoid those extra shots plus lemon water keeps your system alkaline and prevents a hangover.
- Aerated drinks/soda/diet coke not only leads to weight gain but also leads to bone phosphorylation, which means they weaken our bone from within. So it’s great if you avoid such things completely.
So these are few healthy tips to follow when you are socializing. At last it’s not the food it’s the company of your loved ones that you should enjoy, rest all is secondary.
What to eat or avoid while you travel
There are queries wherein people ask what to eat or avoid during a trip, as this really disrupts the whole plan of dieting and losing weight. Well, when it comes to travelling be it for a vacation, official meeting out of country, small picnic or due to work etc, there are few effective strategies that you can follow to stay healthy. So, the next time when you are travelling follow these tips:
Firstly, opt for GPRS rule while eating (grilled/poached/roasted-baked/steamed-stir fried). Follow this rule to choose your favourite meal and you’ll never go wrong with that. But as always portion control and mindful eating wins the battle.
- Secondly, when you are travelling hydrate yourself well to keep fit. Water is really important to flush out all your toxins, to improve your energy levels and to keep you alert. Always sit and sip through your water and the minimum Intake should be between 2.5-3 litres.
- While travelling always opt for fruits/soups/starters/nuts/dried fruits/jaggery based chikkis/fox nuts/puffed millets as your snacks. Avoid fruits in evening. This makes sure you end up eating less junk and fill your body with vital nutrients.
- And lastly, if you are indulging in something, indulge guilt free! Just enjoy and relish the moment. Guilt is a negative emotion which will create stress in your body; leading to weight gain and digestion issues.
When you need to be fit and healthy, exercise is a must for proper blood circulation and nutrient uptake by body. Moderate exercise, yoga, brisk walk, pranayama are a must to improve blood circulation.
You may usually go for your brisk walk or to the gym at a particular time & workout there for a fixed period of time, but this is when you are in your routine. Your routine becomes almost impossible when you are travelling, but do not stop your exercise or physical activity even then. Stick to the same amount of time or may be a little less than that but according to your convenience and plan for your indoor workouts.
Instead of going out and spending hours in gym try few simple easy to do things at home to stay fit & healthy like skipping, climbing stairs, jump squats, lunges, planks, Tabata etc.
I’ve used these simple and easy to follow tips with my clients worldwide and they have seen a better result wherein they are eating according to the availability and still are able to lose weight. The important thing that you can do all through your trip is to not to get worried about food imperfection. In fact, important causes of digestive distress are stress. So stay stress free and enjoy everything.
About Luke Coutinho
Luke is currently working on his third book with Shilpa Shetty aiming at inculcating health among children. Industrialists, socialites & Bollywood celebrities seek daily nutrition advice from him. Shilpa Shetty, Lara Dutta, Emraan Hashmi, socialite Natasha Poonawalla and renowned industrialist to name a few maintain a well balanced & healthy lifestyle under his nutritional guidance.