Eat Pray Love

No, this isn’t just the title of Elizabeth Gilbert’s memoirs or the subsequent Julia Robert-starrer! This is how the last three months of the year play out for most of us, given the plethora of festivals that await! Dr Renuka David on how to stay healthy amidst the revelry.

Finally! It’s the last quarter of 2022, and the one that promises the most fun. Along with our vibrant and diverse religious offerings, there is no dearth of feasting as well. On the downside, you might find yourself getting derailed from your healthy eating and fitness regime. Do late night parties leave you too groggy to head to the gym in the morning? Are you unable to resist the fried treats of Diwali and sugary bakes of Christmas?

We are not for a moment suggesting that you shouldn’t enjoy yourself, but there are ways to ensure you don’t compromise on your health and wellness while doing so. After all, it takes the joy out of festivals if you’re feeling too over stuffed and bloated to enjoy them. Or if that outfit you’ve been saving for New Year’s Eve doesn’t fit you anymore. Here are some pointers to help you get started on celebrating in moderation!

When in doubt, eat protein

If you’re at a party and are trying to make sense of what to eat, close your eyes and pick the protein. It keeps you filled up for longer, and prevents binge-eating. Eggs, meat and seafood are great, but some of your gatherings might be vegetarian. In such cases, opt for mixed nuts, cheeses, paneer, and assorted Indian lentils. If there is a salad counter, you might want to add some fresh vegetables or fruit to your plate as well. Lastly, a bowl of yogurt is not just protein-rich, it is also rich in probiotics and will aid in digestion after a heavy meal.

Start your day with a good breakfast“

Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a pauper,” goes the adage. While you may not be able to strictly eat like a pauper at an evening get-together, having a good breakfast will ensure you don’t dig into the wrong things throughout the day. Boiled eggs, rolled oats, and fresh or frozen berries are safe and filling options. If you prefer Indian breakfasts, avoid paranthas or fried pooris – instead, have a bowlful of poha or upma loaded with veggies. And if you still love your paranthas, have it for breakfast, eating just enough to keep one-fourth of your tummy empty. You could avoid feeling sluggish, bloated, and guilty that way.


Drink at least 3-3.5 litres of water every day. Not only does this flush out any unwanted toxins and improves your metabolism. It keeps that dull and bloated feeling away. If you’re having alcohol at a party, always keep sipping water in between your drinks to avoid getting dehydrated.

Exercise, but don’t overdo it!

The best thing you can do for yourself is to ensure you don’t miss your daily workout. You may even up the ante just by a few extra minutes or reps if you feel your body needs it. What you shouldn’t do, is suddenly start working out like crazy just to compensate for those extra calories. There have been instances of people falling prey to cardiac arrest, or other complications when they have overdone the exercise bit. Just stay on track with your usual daily workout and you should be fine.

Remember, COVID-19 is still around

While it might be tempting to host or attend a huge community gathering, do so mindfully and after assessing how much at risk you and your family members are. If you have aged people at home, or someone who has health complications, or little children, try and stay away as much as possible and celebrate amidst a smaller cluster of family and friends. Always wear a double mask whenever you’re out. Gargle with saline water twice a day, in the morning and at night to keep your throat clear.

Beware of smog

If you’re celebrating Diwali in an urban city, where the pollution levels are already high, chances are that crackers will only add to these levels. Bursting crackers is an integral part of the celebration, but mask up and do so to minimize inhalation of harmful fumes. Invest in an air purifier for your home as well, to keep the smog out. This is especially important if you’ve already had COVID-19 or are at risk of the virus. It safeguards your lungs and keeps them stronger. Do a few breathing exercises indoors in the mornings to further build lung immunity.

Serve it right

Make healthy choices for your guests at home, as well as those you gift to. For gifting, fruit baskets, assorted herbal teas and tisanes, seeds, potted herbs and spa products are all becoming increasingly appropriate as festival offerings – even if they may seem unconventional. You could even choose to give your loved ones homemade sweets and savouries for Diwali or Christmas made with healthy ingredients, instead of store-bought ones. At home, serve snacks like roasted makhanas, dhokla, vegetable or buckwheat cutlets, and sprouts salads, which are all delicious and guilt-free at the same time.

Intermittent fasting

If you have back-to-back a couple of dinner commitments, try the 16-hour intermittent fasting. It will allow enough time for your body to assimilate and digest all those extra calories you shouldn’t be consuming. Intermittent fasting also brings discipline and control over your eating, as the window to eat is only 8 hours.

Include green/white tea or black coffee

Feeling too uncomfortable after a heavy meal? Try having some green/ white tea or black coffee. Not only will the uneasiness subside, but these would also boost your metabolic rate to hasten digestion. Also during your meal, substitute cold beverages with lukewarm water. This would prevent fatty food from sticking to the wall of your stomach, which is the main cause of indigestion and flatulence. Sipping warm water during your meal could slow the process of overeating too.

Spread the love

Spend time with family and friends as much as possible. The pandemic has robbed us of two precious years of full-fledged celebrations. While things are yet to get back to pre-pandemic status, we have still reached some semblance of normalcy now. Let these special occasions be opportunities to connect with the people who matter the most to you.

Consult Dr. Renuka