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Psychology: Coping with stress at Christmas

December 17, 2013 - Psychology

christmas stressAre you looking forward to the holiday cheer? Or is it more like holiday fear? While we all love being around the family at Christmas time, the stresses that can come with it can become quite a strain – especially when you’re trying to lose weight. Here, we give you answers to a few common scenarios to help you keep your stress levels down and your weight loss journey on track…

Scenario: I’m on LighterLife Total and it’s my turn to host the Christmas Day lunch this year, and I’m really excited to see the family. However, most of them haven’t seen me in a while and will notice that I’ve lost weight. How will I explain to them why I’m not eating the traditional Christmas lunch?

Answer: Be honest with them, let them know how it used to be for you and how you’re much happier losing weight – paint a mental before and after picture. Let them know how unhappy you were before LighterLife. Tell them how you now feel confident; you speak up for yourself, you go out more. And that it’s not just about wearing fashionable clothes, it’s about living a more fulfilling life. The chances are, they’ll admire your honesty and support you.

Scenario: I’ve explained to my family that I’m on LighterLife, but surprise surprise, cousin Trudy is still trying to force a glass of wine and a mince pie down my neck. How do I calmly tell her no?

Answer: Be assertive! Don’t let others make you feel bad. If you used to take the back seat when you were bigger, don’t go back to your old ways. Before LighterLife, you probably would have accepted the glass of wine and mince pie out of politeness, regardless if you were hungry or not. But you know that your happiness is worth a lot more than a mince pie and vino. So speak up and stand up for yourself! Ask her why it’s important to her that you eat and drink. Maybe it’s a case of her feeling low about herself? If this is the case then compliment her, boost her confidence.

Scenario: It’s the week before Christmas. I’ve been to three parties in one week, and I still have the presents to wrap and the turkey to stuff. It’s getting too much! Apart from having no energy to do things I normally do without batting a lash, I feel irritable, pessimistic, and depressive.

Answer: An inability to shake off the blues is a warning sign that stress is getting to you. You may feel like giving up and reaching for the red wine. Just stop everything and take some time out for you. Ask your friend, partner, or sister to help you wrap the presents. Don’t suffer in silence. The less stressed you are the more focused you will be on your weight loss journey. Sit down and take an hour to write down on paper how you’re feeling. Once you’ve recharged, you’ll be ready to face the festivities head-on.

Scenario: I’ve lost weight and feel fantastic. I went to my Christmas party recently and everyone congratulated me on how great I looked – except one friend. All she said was: ‘You’ve lost too much weight’. Why is she being this way?

Answer: If you have always been the largest person in your circle of friends, relatives or colleagues, and you’ve lost weight, someone could be taking your place as ‘the fat one’, and they don’t like it! The fact that your appearance is changing may indeed cause jealousy. They’re probably used to you being the one they could have that little bit of control over because of your insecurities. Before you joined LighterLife, they may have justified their own weight by thinking, ‘At least I’m thinner than them’, relying on you as a safety net. They may be finding it hard to support you right now because your success has reminded them of their own failures in life, and are therefore unfairly taking it out on you. Ask yourself; do you really want to stay friends with this person? Are they the person you thought?

Never mind how stressful Christmas can be, just remember, it only comes once a year! Relax, have fun and stay focused on your goals.