Feb 042011
Mini Spicy Shrimp Rolls by Su-Lin

Chinese New Year (CNY) is a big thing in Singapore. Apart from the red packets, there is always the food, which seems to come in endless supply. It would be easy to avoid overeating by if I could avoid temptation. Unfortunately, this is the time where we visit people or people come to visit to catch up. Now all good hosts know it is their sacred duty to provide CNY goodies. It is unthinkable to have no CNY goodies to serve the hungry guests. Thankfully, I am not that big on CNY goodies. Even so, I still have a few weaknesses that I cannot resist. The names of these criminals are pineapple tarts and dried shrimp rolls. Since I cannot avoid temptation, I have compiled a list of measures to deal with it.

1. Never Visit on an Empty Stomach

When I am hungry, I tend to eat without thinking. And you can imagine how it goes with the tarts and shrimp rolls. I can just keep popping them into my mouth like there is no tomorrow. In the space of an hour or less, I can easily finish a box. There goes my lunch or dinner. To avoid this lack of self-control, I fill my stomach with a light meal or snack before I visit. It does help if the light snack is not the tarts or shrimp rolls. If I start on an empty stomach, it will be hard for me to stop. Preferably, the meal is healthy and by doing so, I will be less inclined to eat so much CNY goodies.

2. Ration the Cravings

A man dying of thirst is likelier to kill himself by drinking too much water at the first opportunity. The same principle applies to overeating. If I allow my craving the build, the likelier it is that I will overeat. There are two ways to approach this. I could eat the tarts and shrimp rolls year round so that I am not that fond of them during CNY. Unfortunately, I did not have any for the whole of last year, so this method is out. It is a curious thing about CNY; I only crave the goodies during this period.

The other approach is to ration myself. If I have the jar of pineapple tarts in my hand, I am likelier to finish it by myself. Better to share the goodies with others so that I have less to eat. By controlling my intake in small portions, I am less likely to overeat.

3. Eat Slowly

My normal practice is to rush through a box of CNY goodies as if I would not get enough to eat. In the process of rushing, I do not really taste what I eat. To compound the problem, it takes time for the stomach to feel full. Often when I eat very quickly, I only realize later that I have overeaten when I feel bloated and suffer from indigestion. By the time my stomach catches up with me, it is too late. There is wisdom in chewing our food and eating slowly. By doing so, I give myself more time to digest my food and hence stop myself from overeating.

4. Drink Lots of Water

Drink lots of water. This is the mantra going through my head for this CNY. Normally, I drink a lot of water, at least 7-8 large glasses a day. Not only does water hydrate my body, it also helps with my digestion. When I eat CNY goodies without water, it is easy for me to eat to the point of indigestion. But eating and drinking water at the same time ensures that my stomach has less room for the goodies. This is turn prevents me from overeating.

5. Awareness and Reminders

It is easy for me to overeat if I do not know the true contents of my food. This awareness does help me to moderate myself because I am health conscious. For example, I used to like bak kwa when I was younger. But bak kwa is rather oily. Just eating one piece can get my fingers coated with oil, which is rather hard to come off. And so over the years, I slowly stopped eating it. As for the tarts and the shrimp rolls, just reading what goes into them is a good reminder for me not to overeat.

6. A Multi-Prong Approach

The bigger the problem is, the greater the need to tackle it from different angles. Each of the methods above may not be effective on its own for me. There is always the possibility that I would succumb to temptation. But by applying all of them together, each method can reinforce the others and stop me from overeating.

Smiling Pineapple Tarts by Loving Baking


If you are interested in learning how to make pineapple tarts and shrimp rolls, here are the recipes:

-Pineapple Tarts
-Mini Spicy Shrimp Rolls

Taking Action

Do you overeat when it comes to food? What ways and ideas do you have to prevent yourself from overeating? Do share your thoughts and comments below. :)

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  15 Responses to “How the Vizier Avoids Overeating During Chinese New Year”

  1. Hi Irving,

    Mouthwatering stuff! I love Chinese food, but I’m sure the versions of dishes we get here in UK restaurants are pale imitations of the authentic food.

    Your tips are great. A similar situation arises with me over Christmas. It tends to become an excuse to eat a lot for 2 weeks.

    I generally eat very healthy, following healthy eating advice. When it comes to treats or special occasions, I’ll enjoy what I want guilt-free. I stick to the principle of ‘everything in moderation’.

    If I do overeat, I don’t panic. Instead, I simply cut back the next day.

    Having lost 98 pounds a few years ago, consistent overeating is a no-no. No amount of food makes me feel as good as being healthier ;-)
    Scott McIntyre | Vivid Ways recently posted..Stop Trying to be Perfect Because Your Best is Good EnoughMy Profile

    • Hi Scott,

      Drop by Singapore one day and I’ll show you around for Chinese food. ;)

      I agree with you “everything in moderation” is a good principle to apply to all areas of life.

      I think it is amazing that you managed to lose 98 pounds a few years ago. Do keep it up and stay fit and healthy! :)

  2. I rarely do overeat but I don’t like dieting. I like a balance diet 3 times a day and some fruits and tea in between.
    This year I attend CNY in China Town on the invitation of one of my Chinese friend, Mr. Lee Hongda. I really enjoyed being there and eat a lot. My favorite Chinese food is Egg Fried Chinese Rice and Noodles.
    In the end, Thanks for writing about good eating habits.
    nazimwarriach recently posted..iContact Coupon CodeMy Profile

    • Hi Nazim,

      Like you, I also dislike dieting. I feel that it is better to eat normally in moderation because this is the easiest way to maintain a healthy weight and lifestyle.

      Oh I love fried rice. I try to avoid eating too much of it though. I am glad that you enjoy Chinese food as well. :)

      Thank you for your comments! :)

  3. Yum, I’m hungry just looking at the pictures! Having a daughter who grew up in China ensures that I get to celebrate New Year’s twice. I have been very lucky that weight and eating issues have never plagued me like they do many. For me, eating issues revolve more around things that trigger migraines, so I avoid those.

    Now I have to go get a snack!
    Galen Pearl recently posted..Flu BluesMy Profile

    • Hi Galen,

      It’s cool to be able to celebrate New Year twice. We could all use more celebration in our lives. :D

      Like you, I have never really had weight or eating issues. Even so, it is best for me to eat in moderation and to avoid food that doesn’t agree with me to have a healthier life in the long run.

      Thank you for your comments! :)

  4. Thank you for this post and this advice. I plan to follow all of it and I think we should all have an approach we can rely on to avoid over eating. The reality is that we are going to always be presented with temptations, but we can come prepared :) Thanks for all the great tips.
    Sibyl – alternaview recently posted..How to Grow Into The Person You Really Want to BeMy Profile

    • Hi Sibyl,

      I am glad you found my post useful.

      Being prepared is always the best way to deal with temptations. If we go in without knowing how to manage, it will be harder for us to overcome the temptations we face.

      Thank you for your comments! :)

  5. Oh those goodies, I miss Southeast Asia so much. Chinese New Year comes only once a month so for me I’d love to overeat LOL! I’ve never had those in years so the next time I’d get an opportunity I’d really prepare my tummy. :D
    But thanks for the forewarn, Vizier. I’ll try my best to keep it in mind. :)

    • Hi Anne,

      Yeah growing up with a huge variety of food here in Southeast Asia makes me take it for granted. If I were in your shoes, I would miss the food just as much.

      Thank you for your comments! :)

      • Sorry for the typo, I mean once a year not once a month. You bet, I’m always craving for them. Luckily there are lots of Asian shops in my city but it’s not the same having them in packs and tins.

        • Hi Anne,

          Thanks for the clarification. I figured it was a typo, but I couldn’t be sure.

          Yeah having them in packs and tins is just different and convenient. At least you have Asian shops in your city. :D

  6. those were some good tips to help us eat less and lose fats, thanks Vizier :)

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