The multitude of public holidays in Malaysia has become a fond running joke for many of us. With Christmas and the New Year over, we can still look forward to Chinese New Year, Thaipusam and soon, Hari Raya – the festivities (and the feasting that accompanies it!) never seem to end.
Amidst packed holiday schedules, a multitude of get-togethers with family and friends, and celebratory work gatherings over lunch/tea/dinner, where does that leave our health and fitness routine ? The good news is that our health and fitness does not have to be completely abandoned. With just a few tweaks and adjustments, we can stay as fightingly fit as possible throughout the holiday season.
Here are 5 tips to help you stay fit and healthy during the holidays:
1. Move, move, move!
A great way to burn calories is by staying active and moving around. During the celebration season, obligations may mean that you may not be able to get to the gym, or do your favourite spin class. But do remember that every little bit counts. You can take the stairs instead of the lift, park further away from your destination, or choose to stand instead of sitting. These are the little things that will add up to keep you active during the holidays.
makchic Fit Tip: If you’re at a gathering, why not get a dance party started? Put on your favourite tunes, channel your inner Beyonce, burn calories and have a good time. Who knows, you may turn this party into one that your friends and family will never forget!
2. Make H20 your best friend
Try to drink as much water as you can. If you find it hard to drink just plain water, try adding some lemon or mint, if that can make you drink more. Cold or hot herbal teas are also another option. A healthy habit is to drink some water first thing in the morning and also if you feel hungry outside of mealtimes, as it helps make your stomach feel full.
makchic Fit Tip: When you arrive at a party or gathering, try to drink one or two cups of water or Chinese tea before you start eating.
3. Something is better than nothing
Do away with an all-or-nothing mindset. If you don’t have time to attend your workout class or go for your usual run, you can still do push-ups and a quick HIIT session at home. If your holiday meals during the day were devoid of fruit and vegetables, get hold of an apple at night. This way, you will still reap some positive benefits.
makchic Fit Tip: When you’re at a party, try to choose foods that are good for you (in addition to the yummy stuff). We recommend you fill your plate with the healthy foods that are good for you first (e.g. vegetables, lean meats) before adding on the not-as-healthy curry chicken with santan!
4. Be happy with half
It’s a well-known fact that Malaysians take their food uber seriously. At every get-together, there will surely be copious amounts of home-made mouth-watering cakes, cookies and goodies – plus, an aunty that will be thrusting food at you saying “This one, you must try one!”
Our advice is to stay calm and exercise control. For example, if it’s cake, see if you can cut it in half on the serving platter and savour that half piece slowly; if it’s a cupcake, share it with a friend.
makchic Fit Tip: A friend that we know absolutely loves peanut cookies (that delicious and addictive Chinese New Year must-have). She limits herself to 10 cookies per day. You may say it’s restrictive, but it’s better than finishing a whole tub in one sitting and regretting it as you feel awful, post-binge.
5. Make sleep a priority
We know it’s party season, but trying to get a good night’s sleep as much as you can plays a big role in your health and fitness. During the holidays, you may indulge in 2AM or 3AM late nights, catching up with friends and family. So either sleep in, or try to catch a nap during the day. Try to aim for a healthful eight or nine hours of sleep per night.
makchic Fit Tip: After the festive season, you may find that you’ve put on some weight, or feel sluggish and heavy. Don’t beat yourself up. Slowly and surely, get back into your fitness routine, get back to eating your normal diet, and keep a positive attitude. All will be good!
Most of all, remember to cherish the holiday season that is meant for fun and festivities, and for spending meaningful time, celebrating over great food and making memories with your loved ones. Happy holidays, #makchicmumsquad!
By Kim Boey
Kim Boey is an educator, writer, personal trainer and group fitness instructor who has been in the fitness industry since 1997. She’s the creator and teacher for the Training Pregnant and Postpartum Clients course at FITM, a fitness education centre, and is mum to two boys.