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Sweetening the Chinese New Year

During Chinese New Year, many people will opt away from whatever diets there are following and spending time devouring cookies, cakes, carbonated drinks, mandarin oranges, etc. Basically, it’s the only thing that seemed to be available in all households during that time. As most people had gone back to their hometowns, you will not be able to find many people in the gym.

sweetened Chinese drinks as taken from a local newspaper advertisement

sweetened Chinese drinks as taken from a local newspaper advertisement

On the second day of CNY, I passed by a very popular gym on my way to my grandma’s house and I could not see a single person exercising there. Admittedly, even we have nothing to do during the first few days of CNY, except to sit around, eat and watch TV, we would not want to be caught in the gym.

I remember years ago, as I accompanied my mom to a public recreational park during the third day of CNY (that time I have not joined the gym yet), I got many puzzled looks from the park goers there- as we seemed to be the only Chinese people around. But as the years go by, times have changed- many people don’t seemed to go back to their hometown often or long enough. The last two years when I was in the gym, I see that folks would rather spend time in gym during the first few days of Raya or CNY than to spend time mopping around at home. And no one gives much thought about- ‘what’s that poor thing doing all alone?’.

Still, we will have to deal with the aftermath of all festive feastings- the week after the CNY, starting from 2 February, gyms will get crowded once again. Well, if you are one of those who have feasted and gave your sweet tooth a free rein, here’s some proposed recovery steps:

1. For those with cravings for sweet food, slowly ease back by doing your best to cut down instant carbs such as white bread, bottled juice, carbonated drinks. When take lunch, try to eat more vegetables and cut down on the rice.

typical Thai diet- with low to medium GI levels

typical Thai diet- with low to medium GI levels

2. Resume your exercise routine as soon as you can. If you have not been exercising for almost or over 2 weeks, you will find that your fitness levels had probably reduce. No worries- it will take you probably about 3 sessions in the gym to regain your former stamina levels. Don’t forget to keep yourself hydrated.

3. Work may be slowly picking up after you get back- and so would the stress. You would really need to set aside time to exercise, probably waking up earlier in morning and hitting the gyms or doing your own set of exercises at home. If you sacrifice just a tiny bit of your sleeping hours and substitude it for workouts, it would do wonders for your stress levels. The important thing is that not to lose that exercise momentum.

4. If you still find that you have problem picking up the momentum, perhaps you can group around some friends to plan an exercise based social programme. Most people can exercise better in a group than alone.

Festive time is a time to enjoy and perhaps for a little bit of indulgence. After all, festive sessions like Christma, Hari Raya, Deepavali and Chinese New Year only happens once a year -in the case of a Malaysian, the average Malaysian will celebrate all 4 festivals and to overindulge in all four festivals :)

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