Time to Get Back in Shape!
As we leave the festive feasting behind, the chances are we may have gained an inch or two by the time we get back to our usual daily routine.
However, not all is lost. Here are a few tips to help you get back in shape :
1. Eat Right
Should you cut down carbs? Many turn to low-carb diets as a way to lose weight quickly. Over the years, carbohydrates seem to have become the enemy. The truth is your body needs carbs – cutting healthy carbs can deprive the brain, kidneys, muscles, and heart of their energy supply. If you suddenly and drastically cut carbs from your diet, it will actually do you more harm than good. You may experience a variety of temporary effects, including headache, bad breath, low energy levels, constipation/diarrhea, mental mood swings, loss of lean muscle mass, etc. Some diets restrict carbohydrate intake so much that in the long term they can result in vitamin/mineral deficiencies, bone loss and gastrointestinal issues. Low-carb diets are often not sustainable due to their restrictive nature and weight regain is extremely common.
Having said the above, low carb-diets may be beneficial to some such as Type 2 diabetic patients. A Japanese study has shown that diabetic Type 2 patients who ate a moderately low-carbohydrate diet (70–130 g/day) over a period of 3 years had improved blood sugar control and lipid profile.
Opt instead for a more balanced and sustainable diet with clean eating as the focus:
- Whole Foods with Antioxidant and Anti-inflammatory Benefits – Mostly Plant-Based
Fight inflammation from sugar, alcohol and all those processed foods, with ample fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, spices (turmeric, ginger, etc) and healthy fats (such as avocado, coconut oil, olive oil, nuts, and seeds). The carbs from these whole foods are complex carbohydrates (the good carbs), not simple carbs.
- Fat + Fiber + Protein
Make sure this trio is part of each meal to keep your blood sugar balanced and to make you feel full longer, so you don’t continue to overeat. We are referring to good healthy fats here, of course. Think of quinoa salads/dishes, avocado smoothies, etc.
- Less is More
Using a smaller plate helps control the amount you eat. A great way to think about healthy portion sizes is to use the concept of the “divided plate.” Think of a plate divided into four equal sections:
- Use one of the 4 sections for protein e.g. fish or lean meat.
- Use another section for starch, preferably a whole grain (complex carb) like brown rice, quinoa, brown bee hoon, etc.
- Fill the remaining two sections with veggies (or fruit and veggies)
- Snack Right
Replace snacks laden with sugar or trans fats with a crunchy sweet apple , banana, dried fruits or nuts. You will be surprised how much you enjoy them, and how they provide feelings of satiety and satisfaction.
2. Drink Water or Unsweetened Tea
As we all know, sweetened drinks are a major source of calories. Substitute your carbonated or sweetened drinks with water or hot unsweetened tea. Drinking 2-3L water (8 -12 cups per day) will help our digestive system to flush out toxins and provide feelings of satiety (fullness). And drinking water before each meal helps with eating less during the meal.
3. Move It – 30 Minutes of Something
Find ways to keep your body up and about and off that chair. Burning calories doesn’t have to be hard at all, take up aerobic classes with your friends, take the stairs instead of the lift, or try jogging around your neighborhood. Get to the point where you can commit to at least 30 minutes a day of something that gets your heart rate going. Take little breaks in-between your working hours to walk around the office – this helps with productivity too! Instead of sitting in front of the TV, take 15-30 minutes to burn some calories with squats, push-ups, crunches while you watch your favourite shows.
The most important thing is to pace yourself and avoid rushing your weight loss regime just to see “quick instant results” as doing so usually leads to more harm than good for your body. Anything that sounds too good to be true, usually is. Take it one step at a time at a consistent rate and you’ll see positive changes in your body and mood along the way.
Cinthyana, L. (2018). How to Get Back to Healthy Eating After Chinese New Year (CNY) Feast. Retrieved from: http://indonesiatatler.com/wellness/how-to-get-back-to-healthy-eating-after-chinese-new-year-cny-feast#slide-4
Chung, E. (2017). 5 Best Ways To Lose Your Chinese New Year Calories. Retrieved
HealthHub. (2018). Stay Fit Tips for Chinese New Year. Retrieved from: https://www.healthhub.sg/live-healthy/893/stay-fit-tips-for-chinese-new-year
Lam, J. (2016). Top 5 Tips to Get Fit after Chinese New Year. Retrieved from: https://hk.asiatatler.com/style/top-5-tips-to-get-fit-after-chinese-new-year
Sass, C. (n.d.). 3 Steps To Get Back on Track, Post-Holiday Indulgence. Retrieved from: https://www.shape.com/blogs/weight-loss-coach/3-steps-get-back-track-post-holiday-indulgence