One thing that many look forward to every festive season is the countless gatherings and delicious dishes, and Chinese New Year is no exception. However, we tend to get carried away by it all, and forget the fact that while Chinese New Year is a time for celebrations, it is no reason to abandon healthy habits!
Research has shown that on average, most people tend to gain 5 to 10 pounds during any festive celebration while related studies have also indicated that an individual on average, gains 1 to 5 pounds. Regardless of whatever research structure or statistical data presented, celebrations like Chinese New Year are indeed well-used excuses to justify the extra pounds. But what’s truly a shame is the reality that the majority of individuals have zero desire or willpower to burn the fats away even if they are aware of their recent weight gains, which is a worrying situation.
Prevention is better than cure so take note of the tips below to avoid having to make up for it after the fun and festivities!
1. Don’t Lose All Sense of Control At Buffets
Don’t worry – you’re not the only person out there who ends up losing all sense of self-control the moment they’re faced with a bountiful buffet spread! In order to mitigate the ‘damages’ dealt; a good rule to keep in mind is to not be greedy. Don’t pile the largest-plate available sky-high with food. Learn to control your portion sizes – if possible, use the smallest plate present, and limit yourself to a single stack of goodies. Remember to take in lots of fruits and vegetables, and beware of high-calorie dressings, sauces and gravies. Don’t hold on to the concept of ‘If I don’t eat, I’ll lose out’ when walking into a buffet and you should be fine.
2. Don’t Fast Before Gatherings
Tons of people are used to the idea of fasting before they are due to attend gatherings, because they want to wholly satisfy themselves with good food, while easing their feelings of guilt over potential over-eating. But by observing this act, it’ll just end up making you super-hungry, leading to over-eating under the guise of self-reward for your fasting efforts a few hours prior. American psychologist Carol Goldberg remarks that preparation in advance will help retain your feelings of self-control in the face of temptation, and that it is not advisable to starve yourself before heading out. Instead, munch on some healthy snacks or low-calorie foods such as yoghurt, and drink more water before digging into your meals to avoid over-indulgence.
3. Don’t Slack Off On Getting Your Sweat On!
Exercise should be at the top of your to-do list, regardless of the time and day of the year. Exercising not only helps to burn calories, it’s also a great way to destress. If you’re worried that you are unable to consistently fit in your regular fitness routine while you’re busy with Chinese New Year preparations and festivities, fret not, as you can utilise whatever free time you have to ramp up the levels of your physical activity. For instance, go for a leisurely walk or a jog after a meal. Even if it’s just for 10 minutes, it is still better than nothing.
4. Don’t Avoid The Scale
Michael Dasinger, professor at Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston, believes that by getting on the scales in the morning (when you’re on an empty stomach) can help in controlling weight. The notion is that since the numbers on the scales represent an immediate standard for you to uphold, it is able to aid in maintaining your physical figure.
5. Don’t Forget To Keep Hydrated
While you’re busying yourself buying gifts and prepping a party for your guests, it’s easy to forget to hydrate yourself consistently. Try your best to drink at least 8 glasses of water a day, as when the body is dehydrated, it’s easy to mistake thirst for hunger instead. Hence, it’s important to drink enough water so that the body’s vital processes are able to function well, while avoiding misinterpreting thirst signals for that of hunger instead.
6. Don’t Gobble Up Your Meals!
Studies have shown that by eating your food at a slower pace, you tend to eat less. Chew your food more thoroughly, and enjoy your meal instead of rushing through it.
7. Don’t Go Overboard On Alcohol
12 ounces of beer has 140 calories while 5 ounces of wine has 100 calories. Our levels of self-control weaken after a few drinks, causing you to drink more without being consciously aware of your now-excessive intake of alcohol. A study in 2013 suggested that most people will fill up wider wine glasses 12% more than standard narrower ones, and that the shapes and sizes of wine glasses may be reasons for excessive drinking. Thus, if you don’t wish to binge on alcohol, go for a narrower glass and the healthier red wine instead, and limit yourself to a maximum of 1-2 glasses. Or appoint yourself as the driver to send your intoxicated friends home – it’s a sure-fire way of avoiding alcohol completely.
8. Don’t Avoid The Morning Sunshine
According to the Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise journal, morning exercise is purported to keep you in high spirits throughout the day. After exercise, not only do you have a greater interest and passion for the activity, you gain good self-control in the face of temptation, reducing cravings and intake of high-calorie foods as well.
9. Don’t Totally Omit Sweet Treats
Desserts are most probably every person’s greatest weakness. Instead of suppressing cravings, a better way is to take small bites of desserts, while upholding three key principles – Having the delicious first bite, the gratifying taste of the second while savouring the flavours of the third. Attempting to fulfil your appetite while trying to refrain from eating will cause a push-and-pull situation with yourself, causing unnecessary mental pressure in the process.
10. Don’t Eat The Leftovers
Instead of scoffing down the leftovers after organising a gathering yourself, why not give your guests some to bring home? Also, while preparing meals, refrain from sneaking bites here and there or having ‘taste tests’. People tend to forget to add in the calories they consumed during these ‘taste tests’ to their actual meals later on, resulting in over-eating too.