Weight loss transitions: The challenges of Christmas and how to stay positive

November 28, 2013 - Psychology

147334957It’s supposed to be ‘the most wonderful time of the year’ but if you’re unhappy with your size or are currently in weight loss, Christmas can be difficult. Here, we look at how to deal with those difficulties and stay on track.

Whether you celebrate or not, Christmas is inescapable, and while it’s about far more than food, it can sometimes seem that way, especially when the shops start stocking mince pies months in advance.

So it’s little wonder that the average person puts on 5-10lb between November and January. But you’re not the average person – you’re a LighterLife member, and you’ve got the skills to ensure that you don’t become part of this statistic. Here are some more tips to help you have a merrier Christmas this year – as well as sticking to your goals.

Take a hike

While it can be a joyful time, Christmas brings with it a heap of emotional pressures on individuals and relationships that don’t exist in the same forms at other times of year. Everyone is expected to be jolly, and this mismatch between you feeling a bit down and the rest of the world seemingly being happy can make you feel isolated. Regular exercise has been shown to help with depression. It doesn’t have to mean a trip to the gym – a long walk in the local park can help alleviate pressure.

Coping strategies

If you’re worried or overwhelmed by a family event, think ahead and plan how you’ll cope. Perhaps you could go for a short time, or perhaps there’s someone you can talk to who can help you through the occasion. Remember that you don’t have to go to everything – book only what you think you can manage and politely decline the rest.

Positive visualisation

Imaging waking up one morning in January. The celebrations are over. Are you pleased with your food choices over the Christmas period? Do you wish you’d eaten more? Or do you wish you’d eaten less? Spend some time doing this visualisation before Christmas happens, before you make those choices. Do this visualisation before you make your festive plan in order to help you decide how you want to be feeling in January and what you need to do to achieve your goals.

Get your wingman

What and who can support you? Discuss your goals with whoever you’re spending Christmas with and explain to them why you’re on the LighterLife programme and what it means to you. Ask them to provide that extra bit of support if you need over the festive season. Think of ways they can help you, then tell them – they won’t know unless you’re clear with your needs.

Avoid alcohol

Remember that while alcohol may take the edge off anxiety, it’s also a depressant and can make the symptoms of depression worse – so if you’re feeling depressed, alcohol is probably best avoided.

Identify your triggers

Ask yourself what you’ve learned in your LighterLife group about how you deal with situations like Christmas. Where have you been most vulnerable to making poor choices in the past and what can you do differently now with your new LighterLife skills.

Plan it out

If you are including food in your Christmas eating plan, or you’re cooking for others, plan your menus and food shopping in advance to ensure you don’t overbuy or indulge in things that are off-plan.

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