How To Still Enjoy Your CNY Feasts Without Losing Your Body Goals
by Crystal Lim.
Credits: Carol Eats
As the shops are still echoing with the loud, joyous songs of the Lunar New Year, it is also undoubtedly a time where those celebrating reunite with their families and friends over a scrumptious meal. It is a given that regardless of whose home you visit during the new year, there would always be cookies, tarts and sugary drinks available for the guests. And almost every planned reunion or outing promises to have a feast for everyone to enjoy.
So, we’ve probably eaten so much that the idea of more food available for us can be an almost daunting prospect, especially for those who are making an effort to keep in shape.
We know it can be quite depressing to see months’ worth of efforts go down the drain over the course of a few days – but at the same time how could it be Chinese New Year without some good ol’ pineapple tarts or bak kwa?
Don’t worry if you’ve overeaten over the past few days of the celebration!
No one is alone in feeling worried over possibilities of weight gain and overindulging – but there are a few tips and tricks to avoid now and still enjoy the Lunar New Year:
1. Eat Slowly
We get it. Our eyes are telling to grab all the good stuff before it’s gone!
Instead, be in the moment and focus on what you’re feeling, tasting, the texture of the food. Eating too fast results in a miscommunication in your body, when your brain receives delayed messages from your stomach telling you its full – leading to you feeling uncomfortably full after. Talk and chit chat with your family and friends as you eat, and you’ll find yourself slowing down naturally.
2. Focus on what you want to eat, rather then what you can’t eat
Guilt is a horrible motivator, and will only lead to a bad, downward spiral of bingeing and restricting of food, which will lead to you feeling bad all round in the aftermath.
Instead, choose to look forward to the items of food that you know you would enjoy, instead of just eating because it is offered. You love pineapple tarts? Have a few of them! Someone offering you some kuih kapit and you feel bad rejecting? Don’t take it then. Choose only those that really give you joy in eating them.
3. Choose your numbers wisely
Just because you enjoy eating cookies, doesn’t mean you need to eat a dozen in one go. They are meant to be snacks, not a meal replacement. Have one or two – but don’t forget you’ve got more lunches and dinners to attend, so save space for that!
Tip: Remember, the goal is to enjoy the food, not eat yourself sick. Opt for a smaller plate, so you’re able to trick your mind into controlling your portion and eat less. Quality, not quantity!
4. Sharing is Caring
Linked to the point above – if you’re offered a large portion which you really enjoy, but know you cannot finish. (Don’t worry, we know how it feels like)
Instead, look for a friend or relative to share it with you. It gives an added benefit of bonding over something you both enjoy as well!
5. Stay active
Just because you’re out on visitations doesn’t mean you can’t stay active – neither does staying active necessitate you visiting the gym every day. Just do a simple 5-minute plank every night, or some sit ups or push ups before bed.
Tip: If you’ve overindulged and have that uncomfortably distended belly – try a child’s pose, roll your tummy over your knees gently to ease your digestive system.
6. Don’t skip breakfast!
Many often think that if they skip breakfast, they can save some calories or stomach space for more food later in the day. However, studies have shown that if you have consumed breakfast, you will eat less throughout the day. Plus a healthy breakfast sets your tone for the rest of the day – so start your day right! If you really would rather not eat much, perhaps a bowl of fruit, or unsweetened tea with plain wholemeal toast would be great for a start, and makes you feel good about your choices, which will permeate through the rest of your day.
7. Detox Day
Take one of the days wherein you have no visitations to do as a detox day – not to say that you go ahead and go on a liquid diet all day, but take it easy on your digestive system after its been through days of hard work.
Tip: Opt for wholefoods (we know you can’t hear the S word [salads]) on that day. Snack on fruits instead of the cookies and increase your fibre intake if you get hungry easily.
To make oneself feel guilty and fretting over the diet during Chinese New Year would seem counterproductive, as the festive season is supposed to be a time for us to be joyous and have fun in creating more memories together. With some realistic adjustments and maintaining mindfulness in our day to day habits, we hope you’ll have a great time and soak up all the goodness the festive season entails – food and company alike.
Happy Chinese New Year!
Any tips you’d like to share? Let us know below!
You may find Crystal on Instagram as well.