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CNA Lifestyle

How to enjoy Chinese New Year without gaining weight and feeling ill

It's that time of year when you'll be eating and slacking off. CNA Lifestyle gathered some pro tips to help you get through the festive season – and your fitness groove back.

It’s that time of the year again when the fervour to be more svelte than the rest of the extended fam peaks. But it's also that time of the year when the mere sight of bak kwa or pineapple tarts will melt any resolve you have to eat clean and hit the gym. 

So, what does it take to elicit, “Wah, you’re looking trimmer every year!” without being the party pooper, who turns down every offer of food and drink?

CNA Lifestyle caught up with some health and fitness experts for their tips.

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(Photo: Unsplash/Sharon McCutcheo)


Trainer and owner, Crossfit Fire City

"Sound out the family ahead of time to not prepare too much food. Less food on the table means fewer calories and less wastage. If you’re heading for a potluck, I recommend bringing enough to feed just 20 per cent to 30 per cent of the guests.

Organise activities away from the dining table. If your family’s up for something more active, go for a walk in the park, fly a kite, or cycle on the park connector. Or challenge the young ones to push-ups or sit-ups. After dinner, try karaoke, board games, or card games."

(Photo: Unsplash/Michal Parzuchowski)


Nutritionist, Pure Fitness

"When you’re picking from the buffet or reunion dinner spread, go for the lean protein sources first, then opt for the vegetables before filling your plate up with whatever else is available. Protein is a satiating macronutrient and stimulates the release of peptides in the gut that signal to your brain that you are full."

(Photo: Pixabay)


Ear, nose and throat surgeon, The ENT Clinic

"The sore throat you tend to have during CNY (because of all the goodies) may actually be due to laryngopharygeal reflux or LPR. This happens when acid from the stomach gets regurgitated up, which happens when you over-indulge, and reaches the throat where it inflames your larynx.

To minimise LPR, stop eating when you are half or three-quarter full. Also, don't eat or drink at least three to four hours before going to bed or lying down."

(Photo: Bee Cheng Hiang)


Trainer, Ritual Gym

"For at least 30 minutes a day, I make sure I'm moving my body. When I'm visiting my relatives during CNY, I always take the stairs. 

As for food, I eat whatever I want, whenever I feel like it. But before I start eating, I drink at least 200ml of warm water first. This gives my brain the false impression that I'm partially full, so I won’t over-eat even if I'm just snacking."

(Photo: Pexels)


Fitness manager, Virgin Active

"One way to keep your fitness foundation strong is to clock in at least 10 minutes of exercise daily. Personally, I do either some mobility exercises or a short HIIT (high intensity interval training) workout. You will be surprised what that 10 minutes can do for you."

(Photo: Unsplash/Chase Kinney)


Personal trainer, Pure Fitness

"It is ideal to be active despite being away from the gym. A quick home workout can be just push-ups, air squats and burpees – simple enough but they get the job done."

(Photo: Unsplash/Victor Freitas)


Fitness professional, Virgin Active

"Focus more on recovery-based activities like catching up on sleep, eating and drinking enough to maintain your energy levels, and do what you signed up for in the first place: Have fun!"


Master coach, Ritual Gym

"When returning back to the gym after CNY, the approach should be just like how you first started: Ease into it. Remember, pushing hard for the first few sessions will not burn all those excess calories and will, in fact, cause you to be more fatigued."

(Photo: Unsplash/Geroge Pagan)

"Scale things down for the first week. and once your body gets back into the groove, you can slowly progress from there."

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Source: CNA/bk