Photo: South China Morning Post
Every kid looks forward to recess during their schooling days. You get a break from lessons, fill up on your favourite canteen foods, or maybe even squeeze in a quick game of futsal before heading back to class in a stinky and sweaty heap. Unless you were a part of the Trim and Fit (TAF) club back then (now the Holistic Health Framework) where you’d also end up stinky and sweaty, except you may not be enjoying the exercise so much.
But it may not seem so bad now compared to what a school in China has recently come up. In a recent report in the South China Morning Post, a school in Zhejiang is about to take student physical fitness to another level.
Students who put on more than 2kg over the Chinese New Year period will have to go for runs every day once they return back to school. For the entire term.
The teacher who came up with this idea, Chen Wei, said it was to help students understand the impact of gaining too much weight. “Recently as I was walking around a shopping mall with friends, I saw a weighing scale and suddenly had an idea: I wanted the students weighing themselves before the holidays and give them an awareness of the risks of putting on more weight later on,” he told the Qianjiang Evening News.
The teacher’s concerns are valid: China reportedly has the highest number of obese children in the world, and a 2017 study has warned that the number could rise to 50 million by 2030.
If you’re also worried about packing on a few extra kilos thanks to the new year goodies that you’ve undoubtedly stocked up, some cardio can definitely help. But you don’t necessarily have to resort to daily runs if you don’t derail your regular diet in the first place.
Rule #1: Eat High-Protein Breakfasts
Studies consistently show that having more protein in your breakfast leads you to feel fuller for longer. Adding eggs and milk to your morning meal could help you eat less during the massive reunion dinner with your entire extended family.
Rule #2: Sit Facing Away From the Food
Remember this when you’re doing your visiting and need help steering clear of bak kwa and love letters. A study in the journal Obesity reports that looking at the buffet spread makes you more tempted to refill your plate. The same idea applies to the abundant evil goodies on offer on the snack tray. If you have to snack, stick to the kua chees (melon seeds).
Rule #3: Always Choose Smaller Plates
Simple reason: If there’s less food on your plate, you’ll eat less. Studies show that when people are presented with a larger amount of food, it causes them to eat 81 per cent more. Smaller plates carry less food. Eating with chopsticks will also help you eat slower (see Rule #4).
Rule #4: Slow Down When Munching
Slow eaters eat 201 less calories a day, say researchers from the University of Rhode Island, US, since it takes 20 minutes for your brain to realise you’ve had enough. Besides, you’ll get to postpone explaining your unmarried status to busybody relatives for longer.
Rule #5: Keep A One-Drink-Limit
Hey, it’s the holidays. There’s no reason why you shouldn’t indulge in a little holiday spirit like everyone else. In fact, we even suggest you drink — just keep it to one glass a day. Studies show that men who averaged one daily alcoholic drink were 18 per cent less likely to see their waistlines increase than teetotalers. This doesn’t apply to those who drink more than that though.
Rule #6: Cardio
Just because it’s the holidays doesn’t mean you should abandon all exercise until the new year. Find the time to put in a workout or two in between the merry-making. Just do something. If nothing else, stand up while you’re dealing the cards at the blackjack table, or make the kiddies work for their ang baos by chasing you down while you run away as fast as you can.
By Gilbert Wong, Men’s Health Content Producer