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    At recent Diwali parties I’ve been overwhelmed, as always, by the huge array of food and drinks on offer. From bubblies to single malts, food of every style of cuisine, and a groaning dessert buffet to wind down with, there’s enough temptation to try the resolve of the most hardened dieter.
    So Diwali is now done, you might say. But wait, you know that this is just the beginning of a season of over-indulgence. Parties, weddings and celebrations will continue well into the New Year, before there’s a collapse of your digestive system and a breakdown of your weighing scales. So I thought there was no better time to get a few tips from the pros — dieticians and nutritionists — who have to counsel, and deal with these issues through the year.
    Three bites are right
    First up, I spoke to nutrition and weight consultant Shalini Manglani. Please share one sure fire tip for weight control for the weak of heart and resolve, I asked her. “The best way to lose weight is not to put it on in the first place,” she laughed. “I’d say steer clear of the high calorie zone at parties — the buffets and dessert counters. And don’t think you can ‘knock it all off’ later. It won’t happen.” But since that is something we all know about, I asked for more inputs, and she told me about her three-bite rule. “Restrict your indulgence to just three bites, or sips. The first to taste, the second to experience, and the third to say ‘I’m done’. That way you can ‘try’ the good stuff without ‘eating’ it.”
    Quarter it
    Next, I dialled nutritionist and wellness consultant Sheela Krishnaswamy. “Eat, but control portion sizes,” was her advice. “Yes, Diwali is a festival of sweets, and there are goodies everywhere, so don’t say a complete no to everything. Try not to eat full portions — just a quarter of one. If you want to eat four gulab jamuns, make it just one instead. A handful of dry fruits can also help by controlling your blood sugar and dampening your craving. And don’t give up on your physical activity.”
    Pick your indulgence
    Dietician Anupama Menon is another believer that a total no is not required. “Treat the festival as if it is a large buffet and pick one indulgence. Don’t try everything on the buffet. Your tummy has limited space. So if there are three sweets on offer pick the one you like the most.” Always remember that if you eat healthy most of the time you can indulge a bit, she added. “No one can diet 12 months in a year.” Finally, adds Manglani, try and shift focus away from the food to the rest of what the celebration means to you. “Enjoy it all. Food is just one part of it,” she says.
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