Lunar New Year is the time again for overindulgence as yummy treats, fizzy drinks, work place cohesions and family get-togethers fill our January and February calendar. and yes, the Christmas parties have just ended not too long ago. I know, tis’ the season to be eating again. It is a time to connect with family and friends where food is in abundance whether it is pineapple tarts, bakkwa (barbequed pork) or a massive seafood platter. It is hard to resist.
In contrast, this period of time can also be confronting as well as lonesome. It can be a time for many where existing problems are magnified. A loss of loved one and financial strains places great impact on one’s wellbeing. The additional pressures from spring cleaning, last minute shopping for new clothes, crowds everywhere and expectations from families all pile up. It hits hard for those who are forced to meet the rest of the family once every year and often find it stressful to communicate with difficult-in-laws and overbearing cousins. As a result, we binge eat and drink!
Having said that, this silly season is definitely not a splendid time to shed kilos. Come on. Be realistic! Set an achievable to maintain your weight during the festive season. Here are 10 tips to prevent you from turning into a large tangerine by the end of the 15 days of Lunar New Year.
Keep your merry making low to a minimum, say three days – Lunar New Year’s Eve, day one and day two of the New Year. a couple of days of feasting would not be bad but a month’s worth of gorging your face with treats will pile on the kilos. Weight gain is progressive and not just over a single overindulgence. You know how the shopping malls have festive music playing everywhere from the start of January. Also those piles of pudding and pastries begin to sell like hotcakes. Before you know it, you have already started to munch from the start of Year 2020.
Survey what you MUST HAVE and what you can pass. Do not allow yourself to eat as much as you can to make your money’s worth. This is an invalid excuse.
Go Easy on Alcohol
Alcohol is packed with calories. In addition, it clouds your senses and results you in eating food that you usually would not want like fried chicken wings or braised pig trotters.
Have a can of light beer instead of the full strength if you must have one. Also, intersperse sparkling mineral water between regular drinks or dilute wine and spirits with ice and water.
Do not forget that there are other non-alcoholic options such as tea, fruit juices and sparkling mineral water. It is always a matter of choice.
During this time of the year, the gym is usually half-empty. Hit it if you can. Walk the dog. Have a brisk walk with your partner after dinner. Have sufficient sleep as well, that is equally important.
Do not eat many big meals a day unless you are training for an iron-distance triathlon. If you have several house visits to go, eat wisely or skip a course if you have to.
Have a Right Mindset
It is always not about food. It is a function for you to mingle and catch up with your family and friends. Sink yourself into conversations. Get your mind out of food.
Chew Your Food
Yes, chew your food properly before you eat. Chewing takes time and before swallowing down that handful of nuts, you allow your mind to process that you are satiated. This prevents you from going back for a second round.
Choose the Right Plate Size
This matters. The moment you select a playe as big as your face, you tend to fill it all up. By choosing a plate smaller in diameter, it limits how much you can take from the spread.
Leave Your House After a Meal
By doing so, you are in control of what you eat. Have a decent serving of whole grains, lean meat and leafy greens. This will keep you fuller for a longer period of time before you start getting hungry at the house visit.
Have a Fruit
Have a fruit or two. Be it a tangerine or a dragon fruit. They are rich in vitamins and dietary fibre. You do not have to always grab that pineapple tart from the bottle. Enough said.
Reprinted from RUN Singapore's Feb/Mar 2016 issue.