Mandarin Oranges for Abs

If you think January was a powerful test of your will in maintaining your fitness resolutions, wait till Chinese New Year comes along and shatters what’s left of it.

I’m not trying to be an ass, but most people set borderline insane fitness resolutions.

NEw Year Resolution.png

Going from 0 to 6 days a week of exercising, shaving 1 hour off your 5 hours of sleep to meal prep, avoiding rice- a Malaysian staple…

Acts like these are unnecessary in achieving any fitness goals, but i digress.

Back to the topic at hand.

To win the battle against an army of pineapple tarts, we consult the ancient Military Strategist – Lean Tzu.

Lao Tzu.jpg

Do you even 举重?

1. Caloric Defence

Most of my calorie intake during CNY comes at night, when the entire family sits down chatting away in the presence of a mystical mountain of cookies.

Minute by minute, piece by piece, 10 calories become 300 calories, 300 calories becomes 1000 calories, sedikit-sedikit lama lama bukit hilang.

biskutOh…misty eye of the mountain below…

Strategy: Caloric Buffer
In the event of an unavoidable feast: reunion dinner, the legendary Chinese military strategist advises: reduce calorie intake in earlier meals to create space for a larger dinner.

Low calories doesn’t mean starvation. Prioritize satiating foods to keep hunger at bay. High fiber and protein foods serve this purpose well, and don’t pack as much calories.


Acknowledge this: Shit happens.

Even if you end up going above your designated calorie intake, you would have effectively reduced the damage, cutting your losses (or gains to be exact) by half.

Lean Tzu: “It could be worse”.

2. Attack on Satiety

Life is anything but a lack of choices. Especially during CNY, where (over)abundance is a symbol of obesity prosperity.

No two foods are made equal; some snacks are indeed “better” than others.

5 pieces of Mandarin orange has the same amount of calories as 5 pieces of pineapple tart. You didn’t that read wrong.


Satiety is defense against death by pineapple tart. A fuller you = a you more in control of your mouth.

At 60 calorie per piece, mandarin oranges are the best food that comes to mind. Most CNY snacks are packed with fats and carbs (sugar).

The only other food i can think of is Kuachi (Sunflower seeds), decent nutritional value, and a pain in the ass to peel, which is a good thing. We homo sapiens are a lazy bunch, the more trouble involved in eating something, the less likely we are to eat it.

I’m not a fan of limiting food choices, but if limiting weight gain is that important to you during the festive season, you may want to identify the caloric content of foods beforehand. Eat less caloric dense foods, and reduce (or just avoid) those that pack a shit ton of calories.

If not…

3. Retreat

It’s Chinese New Year.


It’s an annual occasion which lasts for a week, a rare week where the rat race halts, allowing you to sit back, relax, spend time with loved ones.

If not needed, i tell dieting clients to let loose during this festive season. With the right mindset and attitude towards food, it’s not hard to uphold some discipline when celebrating the festive season. The moderate overeating won’t cause much damage.

Lean Tzu puts it best: “Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished!”

Blossom chinese new year rooster and background

Happy Chinese New Year. Have a Prosperous One!

Yes, the title was indeed a click bait.

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