Weight-loss – it’s not just for Christmas.

Weight-loss at Christmas is something of a nightmare. Someone told me the other day that in order to burn off the calories gained by eating just one mince pie you would have to complete about 25 minutes of Burpees.
Now, if you have ever tried to do a burpee you will know that this is not something you want to spend time on over Christmas.
The thing about a calorie control diet is that it focusses on just that one thing – calories. Our thinking around calories tends to be:

calories in = bad; calories burned = good

If you’re a fan, as I am – the fact that a mince pie is a gorgeous hit of spicy fruity sweetness and we are saying ‘hello’ to a potentially lovely time of year when we have our first one, doesn’t enter into the equation.
In our minds it probably looks more like this:

mince pie = (calories in x pleasure) + (guilt x new year burpees)

If you are currently committed to a healthy eating regime, then you may well be making some choices about how you will celebrate Christmas– and good on you.
Some of us are freaking out about all the eating and drinking we are going to be doing and the potential effect on our jean size.
Christmas may be just the wrong time to be thinking about losing weight. On top of the multiple work and social Christmas Lunches (I have 3 this week!) ’tis the season when we see those Great Aunts who make unhelpful comments like ‘You were always a good eater’, or ‘still struggling with your weight dear – you’re just like your mother’.
Christmas is often the time of year when all those people who helped create those negative beliefs about ourselves are around to reinforce them.
Frankly I suggest that for many of us, the diet can weight (see what I did there).

Let your unconscious tell you how to enjoy Christmas

Trying to achieve any level of weight-loss at Christmas is a huge mental challenge and sadly a real distraction from the main task of the season, which is arguably:

  • caring for others
  • celebrating your faith
  • giving
  • reconnecting with loved ones
  • having fun.

How would it be if we just engaged with these things for now, and dealt with our weight-loss issues after Christmas. If you are thinking constantly about how much you are eating, how big you are, what others are thinking or how unhealthy it all is, then it is difficult to see how any of those thoughts can connect to the task at hand.

Why not spend your Christmas just paying attention?

How would it be if at Christmas you were to just listen to your unconscious mind. Just watch what goes on around you. Be aware of what you feel, think and do.
Just take time to ask yourself questions like:

  • am I enjoying this?
  • am I full now?
  • is xxx having a good time?
  • how can I help?
  • how can I care?
  • how else can I celebrate?
  • what can I give?
  • are we connecting?
  • am I having fun?
  • are they having fun?
  • how best can I remember this wonderful time?

Write them down if it helps and leave them around the house on post-it notes. Hang them on your Christmas tree even.

Christmas is a time for others. Save yourself for the New Year!

Robert Sanders is a therapist and life coach, supporting people in their present and helping them create their future.

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