Counting Calories With Each Bite

The Spring Festival is over, and the holiday season is coming to an end. How can you get your eating habits back under control?

It is inevitable for people to let loose on their eating habits during the Spring Festival.

“During the Spring Festival, many people are used to eating meat and drinking alcohol in large amounts and usually skip or eat very little staple foods. This will affect digestion, in serious scenarios, it can trigger cardiovascular diseases, acute cholecystitis, acute pancreatitis and gout,” Dr. Huang Xiaohua, from YYL Hospital’s Internal Medicine Department, said.

Traditional Chinese New Year (CNY) meals are always served in large quantities with various courses and dishes. Cantonese CNY special poon choi translates to “a basin of food,” containing seafood, chicken, pork skin, eggs and mixed vegetables.

To be honest, OCD and food tracking are not exactly best friends. I used to fixate on the number of calories in every bite of food, I even counted how many grains of rice I ate. I used to rinse off oil on stir-fried or hotpot vegetables while figuring out the number of sit-ups I needed to do to burn calories and balance it out.

It was exhausting.

Compulsively measuring food is not a healthy or happy way of living. However, after the holiday and gaining some weight, the obsession of losing it crawls back. How can we shed off the holiday weight in a healthier and more delightful way?

Not to satisfy compulsion, food tracking is meant to help people obtain a self- disciplined lifestyle. There are quite a few apps for this purpose. The best one I use is called Energy. You need to set a goal for how much weight you want to lose, then it generates a plan for you including breakfast, lunch and dinner suggestions as well as an exercise plan. The best part is the AI food tracking function. Take a photo of your food, upload it to the app, and Energy recognizes the food and shows the estimated calories.

There are a few small tips for not overeating, such as eating a piece of candy before a big meal, which raises your blood sugar and makes you feel less hungry. Another is chewing each bite 20 times before swallowing.

Studies show that feeling full is a complex concept. It combines the number of times you chew, the time you spend eating, the look of the food on the plate, as well as the actual amount of food you eat. It takes your stomach about 20 minutes to produce the hormones that tell your brain you are full. So slow down and feel full with less.

“People feel drained after a long holiday because of irregular holiday schedules and lack of exercise. A massage can help to relieve all the discomfort. You can use a fist to knock on the arms, shoulders, thighs, legs and other body parts. This can speed up the blood circulation and absorption of lactic acid in your body,” Dr. Huang said.

The numbers on your scale might be smaller after you have a proper massage.

Hopefully some of these little tricks will help shed the extra holdiay weight.