Syawal is not completely over yet in this country but I've declared end of celebration (for me) after the 5th of Syawal. I still visit friends and relatives but I kept on reminding myself that festive mood has been turned off, just to discourage me from eating too much at those houses.
'Open house' is a term used widely in Malaysia for the usually small feast organized by families/corporate organization/school/departments/ministries so that their friends/relatives/work colleagues/customers/vendors would come and celebrate Syawal. Since eating is the favorite past time in this country, Open Houses are very popular and people will try their best to attend each invitation.
This year I decided to only attend a few Open Houses: my mom's, my customers' and my vendors'. It's a tough thing to do as I had to apologize profusely to those who invited me.
Well, that's one of the sacrifices I had to do to make sure I don't spoil my calorie intake plan. If I attend the Open Houses, I will surely eat. It's impossible to just stare at food while chatting with my friends. If I manage to avoid eating, I'd surely drink the sweet juices or have some desserts.
I did some rough calculations this afternoon. At one Open House serving briyani, curry mee, rendang, lemang, ketupat, satay, roasted lamb, desserts and sweet drinks, the total calories can come close to 1500 calories. Imagine, going to 5 Open Houses in one weekend. That's 7500 in just two days. Based on my weight and age, I only need 1600 calories A DAY. Imagine how much I have to burn if I decide to attend all the Open Houses I'm invited to.
Talking about briyani, I was having lunch with a few foreigners a few months ago. One of them was originally from Amsterdam and has been staying in Singapore for a few years. He told us how his cholesterol level shot up after just 12 months staying there just because he was addicted to briyani. When I checked in BLA website, a full plate of briyani complete with the kurma daging, ayam masak briyani, dalca and acar, the total calories is around 1200 calories! Well, that's almost equivalent to eating 2.5 of Mac Donald's Big Mac!! I can't imagine myself having almost 8 Big Mac in a week (if I choose to have briyani three times a week, that is)....
Only after joining the BLA club that I realized how important it is to count our calorie intake. Before this I just whacked whatever's served on the dining table without even a pinch of guilt. I would only feel sorry once I got on the scale and saw that I've gained 3 kg (usually that's what happened to me during Syawal!).
Oh, by the way... post Syawal I've been to the gym twice.... two days in a row. Hooray! Congrats to me!