Most people look forward to digging into delectable reunion meals during Lunar New Year, but at the same time, they dread the potential outcomes of doing so: weight gain.
The good news is, health professionals say that feasting for a day or two is unlikely to cause significant and lasting weight gain. However, it is true that over-eating can lead to uncomfortable acute conditions like acid reflux, indigestion, and gastric pain.
Frequent over-eating can also lead to a slew of chronic health conditions. When you consume too much, this forms an excess of free radicals in the body, which cause harm to DNA and body tissues. This is one reason why unhealthy diets and obesity are associated with a higher risk of non-alcoholic fatty liver, heart disease, and diabetes, as well as cancers like pancreatic cancer and colon cancer.
Thus, for the sake of your health, over-indulging is still generally not recommended. As this is easier said than done, here are some tips that may help you watch your food intake this weekend.
- Drink up before eating: Prefacing your meal with a glass of water or bowl of warm soup helps you eat less later on, as the liquids partially satiate the tummy before you even begin eating.
- Attack the proteins first: Proteins are the healthier option when it comes to filling up your belly. It makes you feel full quicker, and is better for you as compared to carbs or fats. Just make sure you’re going for the leaner cuts of protein or those with good fats – great examples are chicken breast or fish.
- Use smaller plates: Using smaller-sized kitchenware forces you to take less each serving, while making you feel like you’ve taken more due to the overcrowded visuals of your plate. Plates with busy, colourful designs can have a similar effect. Additionally, having to get up to get another serving gives you a chance to think twice about whether you really need more.
- Organise activities besides eating: You don’t have to limit yourself to the dinner table during Lunar New Year. Rally your family to join in some physical activities together, like going for a walk or cycle. You can also enjoy indoor activities like board games or karaoke with your relatives to draw the attention away from eating.
- Don’t slack off on the exercise: In between visitations, try to clock in some exercise to keep your metabolism going. Simple home exercises like push-ups or sit-ups are a great way to beat the sluggish feeling – a short 15 minutes a day is better than doing nothing at all.
Undoubtedly, you will need a fair amount of self-control to conquer the temptation to devour everything in sight this Lunar New Year. But doing so will reap you the rewards of being able to enjoy the festivities without falling ill or suffering irreparable health consequences later on.
In fact, these tips are applicable for any time you are faced with an abundance of good food, new year or not. Keep them handy so that you can enjoy eating guilt-free every time!