Saturday 4 December 2010

How NOT to put 10lbs on over Christmas

Sarah Turner, from Strategic Therapy, who came on our Professional Training Course in September sent us this article which she wrote for her blog. It is a great introduction to the Beyond Chocolate approach and a gentle reminder on how to approach Christmas without falling into the diet mentality trap.

With still a few weeks to go until the seasons ‘big event’, you might be wondering why I am writing this blog now and not wait until a week or so before. Well because there is a very good reason for that and actually the key to NOT putting on excess weight over Christmas actually starts now.

I’ll explain why…

How many times have you heard yourself or others say, around this time of year: ‘right, I’m going on a diet, I need to lose weight for Christmas’? And its no wonder, you just have to type into Google: ‘Drop a Dress Size for Christmas’ and The Mirror, The Sun, The Daily Mail and Tescos are all at it, suggesting this would be a very good idea. In fact, I just spent 20 minutes reading through a very long thread on a well known forum for mums starting on the 1st November where the members were all gearing themselves up to lose anywhere from 7 pounds to 2 stone *for* Christmas. What was incredible was the real sense of determination and motivation that was oozing out of these posts with declarations of how much each person was going to lose and exactly *how* they were going to do it – *before* Christmas.

So what’s wrong with this?

Well we human beings are interesting creatures and when we tell ourselves we cannot have something: ‘I’m going to cut out all bread’ or ‘I’m not going to give in to any snack cravings’ it works!....for a while. Absolutely it works, otherwise people wouldn’t do it right? But what if I was to suggest, that it’s the very fact that it does ‘work’ whether it be for 2 months, 2 weeks or just 2 days that is the reason people put on MORE weight than they did BEFORE they started the diet – and many do! Because what we are really talking about when we mention diets is…deprivation.

So here’s how deprivation does it job…

…you go on the diet, the diet works, you lose weight, (it was hard work but you did it), you manage to get into that dress for Christmas, (yes!), people comment ‘wow - you’ve done so well!’, you feel proud, very proud of yourself, you did it, you really stuck to it – ok you didn’t see your friends so much but it was worth it, you’ve lost the weight. You tell yourself you deserve a treat for all that, a reward for being so good, ah yes Christmas Day is just round the corner so you can eat whatever you want then, yes but not too much? But you’ve done so well and 1 day won’t matter, you deserve it right? Then Christmas Day is over and there is so much food left over – well it needs eating and I can’t let it go to waste, ugh now I’ve eaten too much, Oh well its Christmas, that’s what Christmas is all about right? AND I only went on a diet *for* Christmas, remember? Actually, that diet feels like long time ago now – OMG, I’ve put on weight, how did that happen? Oh well, I’ve blown it now, I’ll wait until the New Year – that’s what New Years Resolutions are for right..?

Exhausting isn’t it?

Actually, there is another way…

You could NOT go on that diet from now until Christmas because if there is no going *on* a diet then there is no coming *off*a diet.

It’s about improving your *relationship* with food and eating…

What would it be like to start to take certain foods off that deprivation list and instead eat the foods you really enjoy, but find you eat them when you are honestly, physically hungry for them AND stop when you are truly satisfied. This might sound very different from what you are used to but you were actually born with the ability to eat when you are hungry and stop when you are satisfied. What would it be like to re-learn that again? Not in 3 or 4 weeks perhaps, but over time, and in a way that suits the way *you* work….and that ‘drop a dress size’ happens… not for Christmas but on a random Tuesday afternoon in June or March or September, it just…well happened and when it did, it was a welcome, happy side effect of having a healthy, more relaxed and enjoyable relationship with food.

Now there’s a thought…

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