For many Singaporeans, Chinese New Year equates to unintentional weight gain - nevermind that some of us still have yet to shed our excess Christmas pounds from the previous year. What are New Year’s fitness resolutions, anyway? It doesn’t help that nosy aunties might casually throw “Aiyoh, so fat already, ah?” comments our way. Ain’t nothing like a festive “greeting” to amp up the mood.
Don’t resign yourself to an unhealthy fate of liquid diets, diet pills, or worse, starvation. These 10 simple tricks will prevent you from putting on excess weight during Chinese New Year, the safe way.
Read on to find out how to prevent weight gain during Chinese New Year!
#1: Avoid visiting on an empty stomach for less temptation to binge
Unless you’re making a house visit specifically for lunch or dinner, try to avoid going on an empty stomach so you’ll be less tempted to binge on everything in sight. Have a healthy snack of salad or fruits before heading out so you’ll have less appetite for the sugary treats presented to you later on!
#2: Pace your snacking, don’t go crazy over the first item
It’s easy to get overly excited about the spread of ingredients laid out in front of you, but hold your horses - how many houses are you visiting within the same day? If there are multiple homes in your CNY itinerary, you might want to slow down and pace yourself, lest you morph into a bloated ba zhang by the time you reach the fourth house.
On a related note, don’t just go crazy over the first snack you’re offered - even if it’s the best thing you’ve ever tasted in a while. Take a small piece first, so you’ll have sufficient space to try everything else on the table!
#3: Focus on steamboat ingredients instead of rice
If you’re a Chinese Singaporean, there’s a high chance that you cannot live without rice. You simply don’t understand people who eat ingredients first and leave the rice behind - that, to you, is akin to blasphemy.
But if weight loss prevention is your goal, then focusing on ingredients instead of the carbs is the way to go. Get a good fill of meat, vegetables, and seafood, instead of attacking the rice or noodles first and leaving little space for anything else. You could even try skipping the rice altogether, or at least halving it.
Besides, the ingredients are worth more in terms of dollar value ;)
#4: Stay occupied with games like mahjong
You’ll probably be less tempted to reach for the cashew cookies and pineapple tarts if you’re kept busy. Instead of retreating into a corner with your phone - and your appetite - stay occupied by bonding with your relatives over mahjong, poker, or wholesome conversation. After all Chinese New Year is just about the familial ties as it is about the food!
Speaking of mahjong, check out our mahjong-related articles:
#5: Keep yourself hydrated throughout the day
Everyone already knows that drinking water right before a meal can help fill your tummy and suppress your appetite, resulting in weight loss from lower consumption of food. But staying hydrated throughout the day is also important, as it helps maintain metabolism and detox the body. In fact, you need water in order to burn fat.
When we say that you should drink often, we don’t mean guzzling down litres of sugary drinks and alcohol. Which brings us to the next point...
#6: Ask for water or Chinese tea instead of orange juice
Orange juice or fizzy orange soda often make their biggest appearance during Chinese New Year, as oranges are a symbol of luck. Other popular packet drinks during this period include winter melon tea and longang juice. Unfortunately, these are chock full of sugar and the “invisible calories” are sure to add up over a couple of days.
Where possible, ask for water or unsweetened Chinese tea - they’re practically calorie-free so you can down glass after glass without guilt!
#7: Wear a tighter, less forgiving outfit
Hips don’t lie. The tighter and more body-hugging your cheongsam, the less your food baby will be able to grow. Even if the material of your outfit can stretch to accommodate, you certainly don’t wish to have a visible post-binge bump, along with excited relatives asking if you’re preggo when you’re not. This will certainly make you eat more sensibly, whether consciously or otherwise.
Haven’t gotten your CNY outfit yet? Check out our article on 8 Singapore-based online stores with modern cheongsams.
#8: Split portions with a family member for variety
Sharing is caring. Instead of literally biting off more than you can chew, split snack portions with a family member who is also watching their weight. This way, you’ll get to sample a little bit of everything without overeating.
#9: Don’t be afraid to decline snacks offered to you
Some of our older relatives aren’t as expressive, and often show their love to us through food. However, if you’ve already decided not to eat something, you shouldn’t have to force yourself to do so just to appease them. Politely decline, emphasise how you’re already bursting at the seams, and stand your ground.
More traditional folks find it “rude” for CNY snacks to be rejected, but at the end of the day, you are your own person, and should have your boundaries respected. Besides, who’s going to be the one suffering at the gym later on?
They’ll get over the rejection soon enough.
#10: Exercise a little more during the festive period
What goes in must come out. The only way you’re going to shed those extra calories and prevent additional fat from being stored in your body is if you actually get moving and burn them. So don’t think of Chinese New Year as a “cheat period”, ‘cause you’ll wanna stay faithful to your fitness regime.
In fact, if you’re eating more than you should, try to exercise more than usual during the long public holiday period to prevent any build-up.
Some quick and easy exercises to try:
All things taken into consideration, do remember that Chinese New Year is a time for feasting and fun. While you’d want to ensure you keep your figure, there’s no need to go overboard to the point of becoming miserable. Enjoy the time with your loved ones, and don’t beat yourself up over a little indulgence during this once-a-year occasion!
Share this with a foodie friend!
Text by: GirlStyle SG