Anytime from November onwards, our TV screens are filled with tempting images of delicious Christmas fayre laid out on groaning tables. From glistening turkeys to sumptuous puddings, our collective tastebuds are assaulted on every level!
Of course, that doesn’t mean that you are obliged to eat as though every day were Christmas Day. Despite this, if you are someone who is trying to shift a few pounds, then this constant assault makes the struggle harder.
If you allow it to.
Recognising the self-sabotaging mindset
That’s the thing about getting fit and healthy – it is all a mindset, and believe it or not, you can choose to allow yourself to be affected. Or you can choose to ignore the noise around you and simply concentrate on your own goals.
Whether it is Christmas, birthdays, high days and holidays, or simply days with a ‘d’ in them, there will always be a reason or excuse not to put that effort in and work towards making the changes towards a healthier lifestyle.
How many times have you told yourself that you’ll start again on a Monday – that you may as well enjoy the next few days and eat every bad thing you can possibly get your hands on because you won’t be able to next week?! That prevailing sense of procrastination derails every good intention and only serves to make the whole process even more difficult in the long run.
The problem is there is always going to be an excuse, a party, a meal out, a birthday – an excuse to completely stop putting in any effort at all and kick the can further down the street.
Welcome life into your life
Guess what – life happens, and it is there to be lived. If losing weight and concentrating on getting fit and healthy means that you have to opt-out of life and stop enjoying yourself, then what incentive do you have to push through the hard times? What kind of miserable existence are you setting yourself up for if you deny yourself going out with friends on a Friday night or enjoying Sunday lunch with your family?
Take Christmas – this should be a time for relaxing with your loved ones and catching up with relatives you may only ever see once a year. You can choose to approach Christmas in one of two ways:
- EITHER, you resent the temptations on offer, spend the whole time fretting that every mouthful you put into your body is being redirected straight to your waistline, spend every moment feeling equally guilty, then dismiss it with a ‘F@$%K IT’ mentality, only for the guilt to immediately seep back through.
- OR you can enjoy the time that you have, make sensible, healthy choices for yourself, and stop spiralling into negative self-loathing, which will only undermine all future attempts to shed weight and get fit.
Shift your mindset to thinking more powerfully
When you are constantly looking to hang your lack of progression or consistency on the influence of external events, then you have what psychologists term an ‘external locus of control’. What this means is that you consider events or influences that happen outside of you to have power and control over your actions. This can be incredibly disempowering when you are trying to make big changes.
For example, if you say to yourself that you cannot possibly contemplate getting fit and healthy in the run-up to Christmas simply because there is so much temptation everywhere, then this is a very ‘external’ way of thinking because you are blaming Christmas for your inability to make healthier decisions for yourself.
The good news is that it is quite simple to shift your way of thinking from external to internal, which is a much more powerful way of thinking.
Instead, acknowledge that temptation is all around, but that by not listening to the ‘noise’ and simply focusing on making a healthier choice for yourself, you can maintain a positive path towards a healthier lifestyle.
As human beings, we are primed to follow the path of least resistance. Often putting the onus on a third party, such as Christmas, gives us the excuse that we need not devolve ourselves of any responsibility. Unfortunately, there is no easy shortcut, and effort needs to be made whatever the circumstances. Any external ‘googlies’ are simply an indication that a little more effort needs to be exerted during those times.
So, when it comes to eating and drinking at Christmas, a better approach is to acknowledge the additional temptations that this time of year can bring and approach them with the mindset that whether you succumb or not, it is because you have made a conscious decision, rather than being at the mercy of external forces. From this, you are building up a great internal sense of power and control over your decisions, which will lead to a much longer-term source of strength as you follow your journey back to health and fitness. If you would like to understand more about how Be You can support you in this journey, contact movement coach Ben Cuthbert for a one-on-one chat.