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Diet Destroyers

"The look of fresh food (vibrant green vegetables, rich, red tomato sauce or petal pink icing on the cake) can boost the appetite and so can the restaurant’s decor," Mushmi Durve, B.Sc., dietetics, Sancheti Hospital continues,"Hot colors including red, orange and bright yellow stimulate your mood and appetite so you are likely to eat more." Avers Prakash Ivaturi, Food and Beverage manager, Holiday Inn, "The colors in all the restaurants are warm, because the hospitality industry is all about warmth. That they provoke people into eating more is a different matter altogether !" And though you cannot put on blinders to block out bold hues, you can definitely use them as a cue: like a stop sign, they can be a reminder to think before you order. Says the food and beverage manager, "Even at five star establishments like ours, one can check the nutrition information available in the menu that talks about the amount of calories that hundred grams of that particular serving might posses!"



Listening to a high spirited song from the Beatles or be it the latest, racy chartbusters from the Hindi flick, while you are eating will really get your mouth moving, and have your plates cleared in record time! As research suggests, people who listen to fast music while they dine, take more and larger forkfuls per minute. Now one can link the live jazz or classical music at these five star hotels or restaurants with dance floors with revving up the appetite. As Maushmi Durve elucidates, "One should not eat food while watching an engrossing serial or horror movie! Because one suddenly finds that the bowl of grapes is completely empty. As a matter of fact, it is a clever trick to try when one has fussy kids to leave their favourite cartoon serial on and make them eat all"

Eating in slow motion has its benefits. It not only helps you consume less, because you register that you’re full before reaching the over stuffed point, but it also lets you savour and enjoy the food.



"Most people who overeat, do so because of the lack of sleep. Research indicates that when the body is suffering from sleep deficit, the appetite gets stimulated, leading us to pack in more calories. Staying awake creates a kind of boredom that you may just eat for comfort or company," explaining Maushmi. And when you skip out on one night's sleep, your dieting defenses may be down during the day leading you to reach for 'comforting ' foods like aloo parathas or chocolate milk for breakfast ! When you burn the midnight oil, make sure that you opt for a low calorie snack like skimmed milk or fruits ! In the morning, don't fall back on a huge meal (that will make you even more sluggish). Just start with a breakfast that includes nutrient-rich carbohydrates and proteins to energize yourself for the day ahead ! Though, one has to be careful because most common sources of protein - meat, cheese and nuts are a choc full of fat !



'A man is known by the company he keeps' is a phrase that is not coined for nothing. The presence of the people at the table has a powerful influence on how much food we end up consuming. What's more, as the number of table-mates increases, so does the amount of food eaten whether at breakfast, lunch or dinner at home or out. As Balagurunathan, Executive Chef, Holiday Inn, avers, "A skillful Maitre d' or a captain can definitely make you overeat with his impeccable service, attentiveness." When you are eating with friends and family or friends (as opposed to dining against the strangers at a cafeteria or fast-food restaurant ), the urge to eat more becomes stronger. Cozy mealtime chatter may cause you to linger at the table and pay less attention to the body's 'I'm full'cues . Watching others tuck in can also lead you to lead to loosen your dietary constraints and throw caution to the wind. One should also avoid emotional conversation while eating. They are bound to stir up pain and anger. Eat later when the food is not smothered by your feelings. In restaurants, try being the first one to order so you are not swayed by friends' meal choices. Once you're full, have your plate taken away immediately to prevent nibbling while you talk. Get together with a friend for a walk, a run or an aerobics class, instead of setting up a lunch date.



"This body has an inborn mechanism that clicks on and prompts us to eat a lot when we see an array of foods with different flavors, colors, textures and shapes- even when we are not really hungry. Besides India, as a nation, offers a lot of cuisines, colours, texture and shapes that can make you binge,'reports Maushmi and adds, "In fact, with the Indian calendar of festivals there is always a variety of dishes that are made that foil our diet moves ! The smell of food being cooked everywhere makes the battle even more difficult to win ! More often it is just a signal which starts the psychological warfare of - to eat or not to eat !"

Save your figure by staying away from buffet or cafeteria style restaurants, but when unavoidable, load up on salad and vegetables as you move along the line. In your kitchen, streamline every day meals that do not include too many choices. As Maushmi suggests, "Narrow down the varieties of snacks that you keep on hand ; it is much easier to make healthy choices when your cupboards are not stocked with junk food. Buy one kind of cookie, not several; ultimately, you'll eat fewer that way, because your taste buds will hit sensory overload faster when you rummage through a few different flavours," 


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