Food is such a vital part of our social life. Whether its a wedding, engagement, threading ceremony or even death ceremony – the food menu is always the most looked forward to.
As Indians, we are used to being served an elaborate buffet spread at every social gathering. Food is the most discussed topic before, during and after a social gathering. The success of an event is judged by the quality of food that was served, the cutlery used, the food decor, the drinks counter and dessert counters.
The buffet table is laden with goodies that are pleasant to the eyes. The fragrance makes the tongue drool, the decor and lighting add to the temptation. After the pleasantries are exchanged, everyone goes and attacks the buffet.
It’s amusing to watch well-dressed, educated people queuing up at the plates counter and then hungrily piling up food on their plates. Watching them wolf down the greasy food and then attacking the counters for seconds is laughable. Its almost as if they haven’t eaten in days and won’t be getting food for the next few days.
Well, I have been a victim of the buffets for many years of my life. I remember signing up for buffets at 5-star restaurants, entering with the first lot and exiting with the last lot. I took pride in boasting that I ate to my heart and stomach’s full – paisa vasool!
At weddings and social gatherings, I would also (like the others) attack the buffet counters and fill up my plate. I always needed a separate plate for the desserts.
Little did I know that I was signing up for a very unhealthy lifestyle.
So, when I thought of writing about my secrets to health transformation, I felt it was important for me to touch upon this sensitive topic. Most people on the path to fitness end up blaming the tempting food at social gatherings for their weight gain and associated heartburn.
Here are 6 Simple Tips for eating at a wedding or party or social gathering
Ask yourself: If gluttony was healthy then why would it be one of the seven deadly sins? Why do most religions talk about practising restraint while eating? Why do most cultures have a system of fasting or consuming Sattvic food for detox?
As promised, here are my secrets. I practice these each time I need to be at a social gathering. It has helped me maintain my weight. Sure, I have received lots of flak from friends and family for this behaviour. But I wake up feeling energetic the next day. I don’t feel the need to consume an anti-acid to calm the heartburn and acidity.
Tip One: Eat at home before you leave for a social gathering. Sounds ridiculous? Well, you may believe that the whole point of going to a social gathering is the food and fellowship. However, if you want to remain healthy, a good idea is to consume a simple, healthy meal at home before you leave for the social gathering. You will end up feeling full and the likelihood of binge eating will be lower.
Tip Two: Drink a tall glass of water before you enter the venue. I always carry water with me and sip on it at regular intervals. Drinking a tall glass of water just before I enter a social situation reduces the temptation of attacking the food and welcome drinks.
Tip Three: Steer clear of juices, welcome drinks and alcohol. Drink water only. By avoiding a welcome drink, I straightaway reduce 200-250 calories that I would have consumed. We all know the health hazards of alcohol and when combined with soft drinks, alcohol turns into a health bomb.
Tip Four: Health transformation is a lot about self-talk. When I see the elaborate buffet spread, I am tempted to try the yummy food. I psyche myself very often during a social gathering. I keep telling myself: “It has been almost 4 decades since I have been eating this kind of unhealthy food. Do I really need it now? Its time to get healthy.”
Tip Five: In my opinion, roaming starters are the number one cause of weight gain through a social gathering. We don’t realise that we consume a lot of unhealthy food in the form of starters. Most of the starters are fried or tossed with loads of high-sodium sauces – a recipe for disastrous health.
Tip Six: Steer clear of salad, dessert, ice cream & fried counters. You must know that the raw salads are cut first during buffets and thus exposed to the air for over 2-3 hours. They are swimming with germs and bad health. The sauce-based salads are hardly healthy because of their high sodium content.
Skip everything that is oily, fried & with maida. Eat raita or dal with missi roti if you are really hungry. If there is no missi roti then check if there is wheat roti and eat that with raita or dal. Eat half of what you would normally eat. Drink lots of water.
I usually avoid people around the food counters. That way I don’t have to explain myself when they see my empty plate.
Bahut Kha liya yaar! Is a statement that most of us say after a hearty meal. Some even follow it up with a burp or two. The same people complain about heartburn, acidity and weight gain later on.
I clearly remember meeting a friend who is grossly overweight and diagnosed with diabetes. He stopped me and started asking me for tips to lose weight. While speaking to me he was wolfing down a full plate of gajar halwa, jalebi and rabri. He kept talking about how he desperately wanted to get fit.
Despite knowing that most of you may just ignore my tips, I am sharing them. I have a flicker of hope that it will inspire you all to walk on the path to better health.
Here is a recap:
Are you at a total loss with your efforts to lose weight at getting healthy?
I really hope my post and the #BlogchatterA2Z series on my blogzine inspires you.
Do write in your queries, suggestions and comments. Would love to read and respond.
Dear Reader: You must know that I am not a healthcare expert and nor am I posing to be one through this series. I am sharing my personal experiences and journey. I urge you to speak to your healthcare professional before trying anything in this series.