Having A Healthy Chinese New Year!
‘Chinese New Year’ and ‘Healthy’ don’t exactly go hand in hand, what with all the food and snacks about, but we can at least lessen the damage that it does to us without completely swearing off the yummy and sinful goodies!
Gong Xi Fat Choy! May you have a healthy and prosperous 2018, full of love and opportunities! One thing I realised with CNY is that it actively gets in the way of some of our New Year’s resolutions – especially the ones that are related to weight loss and starting the year out all active and fit.
And since we’re parents who want to set a good example for our kids to follow, showing them that we’re able to commit to an active and lifestyle is something that we definitely want to pass on to them.
So here are some tips to staying healthy during this indulgent period!
1. Always Remain Active
The festive period isn’t a good enough reason to shy away from working out. It doesn’t even have to be hitting the gym every single day (where my most used piece of equipment is actually the mirror) – all you need to do is some moderately intensive activity for 10 to 30 minutes to get your heart pumping; even brisk walking is good as long as you’re keeping your pace up.
Here’s what I do to try and keep active after work: I stay at Sengkang, so what I do is I alight from the MRT at Buangkok and walk all the way back home. For that distance, it’s a good 15 to 30 minutes of walking, depending on how fast I go or which route I take – if time (and my kids allow), I’ll take a more scenic but longer route home. I do this at least 3 times a week.
If you feel more at ease in a group, there are always Facebook groups who organise cycling or jogging activities from time to time, or you could even go for a class with your partner! Yoga has never been more fun for my wife when she saw how utterly inflexible I am; at the end of each class, it feels like I’ve just completed a 5km run – I’m literally out of breath and dripping sweat!
2. Fill Your Stomach Up
It sounds counter-intuitive right? But it works… with the right foods that is! CNY is a period where food is given freely from seemingly bottomless snack tins, and there are 2 parts to this point for us to take note of.
Firstly, before heading out from your home, ensure that your stomach is well prepared for the painful journey ahead by filling it with enough healthy snacks like fruits, nuts, yoghurt, and other things that are high in fibre and protein, but low in carbs. This’ll trick your stomach into being full, so that you won’t be able to eat the more dangerous (but yummier) alternatives!
Secondly, while you’re outside for long periods of time at your relative’s or friend’s places, your stomach will definitely empty when time passes. It’s important to note that when hunger comes, your senses will enter a heightened state where your mind recalls the taste of the goodies and your nose betrays you, tempting you with promises of something delicious.
Things get particularly dangerous when you’re surrounded on all sides with goodies like kueh bahulu, kueh lapis, kueh bangkit, bak kwa, loveletters, and the dreaded pineapple tarts. It’s at times like these where you’ll need steely willpower, a clear mind, and handfuls of healthier snacks like roasted watermelon seeds and pumpkin seeds to fill up your tummy.
Ok this one is pretty straightforward – sleep more. It sounds simple, but during CNY, you’ll be bombarded left-right-centre with requests to play mahjong, cards, or just chill until way past the bedtime for both you and your kids.
Your kids are your best excuse to escape from those visits, but if somehow or another they’re already back at home and in bed (they’re so lucky), then it’ll be difficult to leave!
Sleep is important because it keeps you fresh, energised, and generally in a good mood. And in addition to that, getting adequate sleep helps keep your immune system strong! The less sleep that you have, the more likely you’ll fall sick.
4. Drink Water, Stay Hydrated
Drinking enough water helps you detox your body. We’re constantly losing our fluids, so it’s important to keep it topped up whenever possible to avoid dehydration. Generally, we drink enough water in our day-to-day lives to remain hydrated, but for CNY, simply drinking water will help you stay full enough to prevent you from munching on snacks!
5. Be Kind To Yourself
Truth be told, it is CNY, so you should enjoy eating as much as you can without feeling too guilty! Staying ‘healthy’ during CNY is more than just taking care of your body; you have to take care of your mind too.
The more pressure that you put on yourself to be a certain way or to stick to an overly difficult exercise regimen, the more stress you’ll be under. Don’t watch your weight too much – we’re only human and things rarely go to plan, so don’t fret over random weight gains over the CNY period.