The ‘Exam’ Diet

By now you do know that what you eat and drink affects ‘YOU’ – yes, definitely apart from your weight, it affects your mind, your mood and your ability to perform well in your Exam. Then I am sure you will be wondering – What is the best diet to follow on exam day? Can food and drink really influence my child’s result? Do you think ‘Food for Thought’ is just a random phrase? 😉

It’s the time of year when all that matters are Marks, Marks and more Marks. Answering your questions – YES – eating well definitely provides an added edge – during this rat-race where even half a mark can be a difference between Rank 1 and 2!

In the whole ‘Exam’ tension – we forget good nutrition. We OD on coffee (arre – don’t we have to stay up all night!), eat whatever we can lay our hands on (I need to munch – otherwise how do I study) – such and many more are the tales told. We think we can trick the brain and the body by eating these things to “keep energy levels up”. But we forget – who is more ‘shaana’ 😉 :p (smart!) However, this is not only harmful to your long-term health, but can also negatively affect your exam performance

Just like studying right from Day 1 (instead of burning candles at both ends a month before exam), eating sensibly right from the beginning helps you ace your tests. The better the fuel your brain gets, the better you will study and quicker you will remember and will be able to recall it quickly when writing your exam – instead of blanking out.

So how do I keep my brain running a fab marathon? Few tips –

Eat at regular intervals. Eating regular meals helps keep nutrient and energy levels more stable, and so you will not suddenly land up snacking on the crunchy munchy chips 😉

Avoid Packaged Processed Foods. Eat food and snacks made at home. Resist the temptation to eat packaged foods – be it chips or biscuits or anything. These foods will send you off on energy highs and lows — creating the exact opposite of a consistent stable high energy that you need during your long exam to perform well. So, a fresh homemade snack – beats all these meals hands down not just in taste but also the nutritional value of the food, and also in the way your brain and body respond to it.

Eat small, balanced meals. Eating large meals will slow you down, mentally and physically. Typically when you eat a large meal, you feel sleepy, because a lot of your blood flow is directed to your digestive system instead of the brain to digest the heavy meal. To keep your brain active – eat smart – eat small – you should feel light and active, more alert and refreshed after eating. This way you study well, are able to concentrate better and remember faster.

Start your day with a fruit. Fruit ranks high among the best foods you can eat for your brain. Eat any fruit – a fruit of your choice – because the natural sugar in fruit offers clean sustained and more stable energy, so you don’t experience the sudden drop in energy that typically follows once you have had tea or coffee (which is why you end up having cups after cups of tea/coffee – because your energy yo-yos from high to low).

Drink lots of water. Water is very important. Dehydration can make you lose your concentration, feel faint, and drain your energy. Don’t wait till you’re thirsty to drink a glass of water. If you wait till you’re thirsty, it means your body is already a little dehydrated.

Don’t try any new foods, drinks, or supplements. Often we end up trying new super foods just before the exam because it is highly recommended by friends or family or some research. For your own sake avoid it. You don’t know how your body responds to them and you don’t want any surprises on exam day. Stick with food and drink your body is used to.

Get enough sleep. Many students get into the habit of studying late into the night, hoping to cram in a little more information into their already fatigued brains. For your brain to function well it needs rest too. Apart from eating right, brain needs a good restful sleep. If the brain is exhausted very often you end up forgetting everything or mixing up answers or just going blank the minute you start to write your paper.

So – eat well, sleep well and All the Best! 🙂

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TIME TO BID GOOD BYE TO YOUR WEIGHING SCALE

Today I had this patient who came to see me – and like always – even before saying a courteous hello or having a glass of water – she jumped up on the weighing scale to see how much she had ‘lost’? I could not hold my laughter, and told her ‘I am not sure about your weight, but you have definitely lost your mind’. To this she promptly replied – ‘Noooo – Khush – you see if I have a glass of water, I will weigh 500gms more’, and I was like – Really!?

Weighing – is becoming an obsession. I know of people who weigh themselves not just daily and but after every meal and every time they use the loo! So now the scale and those numbers define their self-image. They cannot associate themselves for who they, but are identified by the number. You may be a good parent, you may be amazing at what you do or you may be a good person or anything – but still you choose to be unhappy because of how much you weigh. Does this make sense?

I really think it is time to THROW YOUR SCALE.

Now,

  • Become more aware of how you feel instead of worrying about some number.
  • Listen and get in touch with your to hunger signals instead of worrying that I might gain a kilo or gram.
  • Stop counting calories and started seeking out food your body needs
  • And most importantly – STOP picking apart every flaw or bulge and started seeing yourself as a whole person.

Give up the obsession with the number and focus on feeling Healthy, Light and Fit.

I am sure, by now you must itching to know the ‘results’ of following this practice! Like I have said before there are other ways to measure improvement besides looking at some number. You can always pay attention to how your clothes fit. You can measure yourself with a tape measure. You feel lighter, more energetic and people around you start Complimenting you 😉

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So STOP worrying about your ‘size’ and how much you weigh.  And this definitely does not mean Eat like a maniac and don’t care about what you eat – it means – eat sensibly, live sensibly, exercise – focus on being healthy and not looking thin! And trust me or rather your own body – for unless there are some major unknown medical issues, most people come to their own version of “healthy weight”, “healthy size” –  when they are living a healthy life. So focus on nourishment, eat good clean homemade food, and stay  active – this way you are on the right track than following some crazy diet for 2 weeks and then finally giving up coz-its-difficult-to-follow and cursing yourself.

So, how do you know it is Time for you to throw your Scale?

  • You have fixed a specific number that you wanted to “be” with regards to your weight even if “being” that number means you starve or punish yourself in the name of exercise
  • You wait to weigh yourself first thing in the morning, without-any-clothes, after going to the bathroom for the “best” results?
  • You suddenly felt ugly when the scale showed that you were up a kilo or 2 from the day before?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, chances are you might also benefit from throwing your scale out.

Try it Out for a Month or 2! What is the big deal? I am sure letting go of worries about weighing a certain number – you definitely will have Lesser wrinkles 😉 . In fact, when you start living this way, you will feel empowered, more beautiful, confident and no more at the mercy of a number to define you. You will be able to connect to your inner self, your stomach, your body.

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Sounds kinda cool!

Would love you hear about experience, once you try this.