Here's to good health

Time flies. We are already in the midst of sweet December. Shops and places beautifully decked out with red and green ornaments signal festive holidays are quickly approaching. And shopping at a supermarket now becomes an adventure. A stunning array of attractively packaged goodies is ready to buy and eat. Everywhere I go, there is somebody talking about a family reunion feast, a company party or a cosy New Year's Eve party with friends.

The holiday season means dinners, parties and festivities associated with a pile of sumptuous (yet unhealthy) foods and cool drinks waiting around every corner. A chocolate cake spread with caramel frosting beckons and the scent of freshly baked biscuits fills the air and gives us a desire to savour them. They are truly irresistible. It's understandable that we tend to forget about our health and diet and fall into bad habits of overindulgence. And it's easy to overindulge in Thailand where people are spoiled for choice.

Last year my friend and I lost control and overdid it and came down with ailments. My friend said that it's OK to fill our plates to overflowing with food and never be worried about weight and health when going to a party. She dismissed it with the excuse that festive holidays only happen once a year. We could compensate the overeating with compulsive exercise afterwards.

After having finishing the main course, she went back for a big chuck of fried chicken along with a cream-based cake. After that, she kept complaining about how she felt excessively full and bloated. But she continued eating and drinking at several parties. Then she spent the next week moaning about how much she ate. The overeating had given her an extra 2kg which she has been working hard to lose throughout the year.

I found myself feeling sick and having a sore throat the next morning after gorging on foods that I didn't know the ingredients of. French fries and chips and cool drinks were likely to blame for making me feel unwell.

One important thing I've learned from last year's celebration is if I allow myself to lose control completely, I tend to continue eating unhealthy foods long after the festive season finishes. Once I indulge in sweet treats, they will make me crave even more rich and sugary foods. But it's a bad habit that is hard to break.

So, we made our New Year's resolution to have a healthy diet and to lose weight.

This year, I will be sensible about my festivities but I won't torture myself by sticking only to vegetables and green things that may prevent me from enjoying the season. My approach is to spoil myself with a little bit of what I fancy, to keep eating in moderation and having regular workouts.

I plan to have low-calorie snacks during the day so that I won't arrive at a party feeling hungry and go overboard. Upon arrival, I'm going to survey the table laden with delicious food and then decide what kinds of treats I indulge in, and check out whether there are any brownies or almond chocolates, my favourite sweets. I'm going to skip cakes, ice cream, fried foods, chips and soft drinks that are available most of the year. I will also try to stay away from greasy and salty foods that may cause a sore throat and cough and then triggers my asthma. Instead I'm going to opt for soups and add more fruit to my plate.

I'm going to eat regularly at the same portion size I usually have. If I'm full, I will stop _ that's it. I'm going to stick to water to quench my thirst and limit myself to just one drink of alcohol for a party as drinking too much can quickly lead to swelling and weight gain. Importantly, I will try to be consistent in my exercise regime during the festive season to burn off the excess calories. So, I'm not going to go crazy with my workout to compensate for the eating binge.

If I'm not hungry, hopefully I'm strong enough to simply say no to people who offer me food and drinks. That may be rude for many of us. I will try not to let myself eat something I don't really want to.

I'm going to take control of my eating during this season to keep healthy. Are you going to do the same?

On top of that, I will have my mind focused on activities and having fun as the holidays are about family gatherings and reunions with friends.

Enjoy a healthy holiday!

Sukhumaporn Laiyok is a feature writer for the Bangkok Post.

About the author

Writer: Sukhumaporn Laiyok
Position: Life reporter