How to minimise Chinese New Year binging

Posted on Posted in sweatcircuit

With Chinese New Year around the corner, the upcoming week’s worth of affairs is enough to pause exercise routines and inflate appetites.

While we line up several house visits, awaiting us are smiley Uncles and Aunties preparing to shove into our mouths their most premium Kueh Bangkits and sugary Pineapple Tarts from that 5-star hotel so-and-so. And before you know it, you have packed your total calories for the day in just a single house visit, with  a few more to go.

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If you have already engraved the mindset of “ready to whack”, then your stomach’s agenda is all fired up and no man will stop you. But if you are wondering on how to negotiate with the internal conflicts when that buttery fragrance whiffs through your nostrils, read on.



This is especially for the new year “Get-Healthy” resolutionees feeling the upcoming sabotage to their plans. Not helping are the the rest of your friends whom are like “wait until chinese new year over then I start lah“.
So, below are a few tips to tackle the Chinese New Year binging.

Are you ready?……Honestly, it’s the same for any other usual day.


#1. Have your usual balanced meal just before you go visiting.


 What? Won’t I just eat even more.

No, the point is to not have a super hungry you going crazy in the presence of food galore.

When we intentionally starve ourselves because we know we are going to fill ourselves up with food, our minds psychologically becomes a zero-willpower beast.

By feeding ourselves then only can we keep this beast tamed and calm. Your “ready to whack” gets reduced to “test test here and there”. Our brain then allows us to exercise better decision-making, picking out the most “worthy” goodies left to fill up the remaining space.

So go ahead and have your usual meal. Or if you are visiting, approach the table of foods first and get your usual portions of vegetables and meats in first. After that, enjoy your remaining space with some snack delights!

Point to note — it’s easier to stop when you are ACTUALLY full compared to trying to resist finishing the whole TUB of pineapple tarts.

So the key thing to take away here is – aim for fullness on nutrient-dense stuff rather than restriction on nutrient-poor stuff.

Remember – starvation leads to way more food intake than what you actually would eat for the day. Unless of course if you literally enjoy the feeling of being gorged, then this doesn’t apply to you.

#2.  Fill yourself up with Veggies and Fruits

Steamboat for reunion dinners is actually a blessing in disguise compared to other occasional fares like Christmas.
In preparation for the family reunion, load up more on the veggies (and abalone). Kai Lan, Spinach, Seaweed, Fa Cai, you name it.


The fibre is sure to keep your saiety in check and curb your appetite. Instead of snacks, steer towards a whole mandarin orange first instead and then you decide again.


#3.  Eat slowly and savor.

In our culture, we have the habit of gobbling and wolving down our food as if an eternal war is going on. When it comes to buffets, we conceive that 8-month old food baby from a fullness rate of 150%.

If you can’t control the quantity, then one thing you can control is YOUR SPEED.


 So learn to eat SLOWLY. Listen to your appetite and hunger cues. The food is not going to disappear. When you eat slowly, you feel full on a lot less than you actually eat. Cos it takes some time before our body starts telling us we’re done.

I used to be eating 500 calories within 10 minutes and still feel like I want to eat a whole cow. Heck me and my girls even took pride in how much we could eat because it was so impressive to our relatives. It’s a vicious demultiplier to our health, and our internal organs were definitely not impressed.

So, having practised slow, mindful eating, I have found that the rate of me wanting to order another portion has reduced by half overtime. Simply because, by the time I’m done, my fullness cues have already set in.

Oh no. It’s impossible. I will still feel hungry.

I am a huge foodie with a very large appetite so yes, I will tell you it’s possible. If you haven’t tried it, you will never know.


#4. Aim for non-sugary drinks

Instead of the sugar-popping sodas, aim for iced water. Other soft drinks such as Oolong Tea and Heaven and Earth sugarless Green Tea will be great alternatives too if you have a wide selection from the beverage box.


Soft drinks are notorious for their sugar count and leads to an unwanted sugar spike. Combined with the binge baby, this is sure to leave you comatosed on your relative’s couch.

So with all that said, I hope now you have a better idea on going about your CNY portion control for each house visit. Nevertheless, relax, enjoy and have fun.


#5.  Eat from the hand. Not from the tub.

A lot of you may go meh at this point. And I can truly understand.

 ‘Shiok leh eat from the tub.’

Yes okay I know it’s shiok.
Unlimited supply of pineapple tarts.
Getting high on that  tub-frenzy spasm that swims through our bodies as we dig in.
But given that, we have no visual cue of our portion size. So what does this mean?

First, take a look at this quote by behavioral psychologist mark from

“Nobody eats one and a quarter apples, right? The unit is an apple. And so you eat an apple. And so you can apply that same sort of experimental logic to things like bags of chips. And you can actually make a bag of chips 20 percent bigger, and 20 percent smaller. And people still eat one bag of chips, and they eat until it’s done.”

So there you go, this year’s CNY, that unit is your hand, your palm size. Watch how you feel after 1 palm of serving.
Well, like I said, if you already have the agenda to go nuts, by all means. But if you’re keen on understanding how to go about in moderation, you can start by the palm rule. Indeed, Auntie may be disappointed that you aren’t finishing her good intentions. So just say no to her ang pao and she’ll feel better.
 Also, go for whole snacks such as almonds and cashews are the best option to go for as they are rich in  magnesium and good fats. They fill you up indefinitely.