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My Top Ten Tips for Managing Weight this Christmas

Learn to use the language of psychology to change your relationship to food. Correction, relationship with food.

At least three of our participants on the 4-day Yoga & Psychology Retreat lost around 4kgs each. They did this through self-connection, belonging, healthy routine and deep psychology.

Seeing these results has given me the confidence to share my FIRST EVER weight management article.

I hope to do justice to the new paradigm.

Please, let me know.

  1. If you struggle with weight, remember, it's not your fault

This does NOT mean "nothing you can do". Quite the opposite.

Like Alcoholic Anonymous' 12-Step Program, the first step is to know you are the result of structural influences OUTSIDE your control. This includes the family you were born to and even the country you were born in. Accepting structural influences helps identify what is within our circle of influence.

For anyone who has tried losing weight through diet alone, you'll know it is rarely sustainable.

Population-level statistics have also debunked the myth of will-power. Public health research has demonstrated that most of our choices - especially around culture and ritual - are inherited, meaning you are not to blame for having struggled with weight loss. The thinking that "will-power alone is the way to lose weight" has been proved flatly wrong.

There is no shortage of information about nutrition. There is no shortage of recipes or advice. The problem is not lack of knowledge. The problem lies in our psychology.

The fitness, weight loss and advertising industries have been built on the premise that we are solely responsible for our body weight. This "Fat shaming" stops us from moving beyond self blame to address health issues at the actual cause.

2. Focus on Connection

This is by a mile, my number one tip for weight management this Christmas. List all the things you love about Christmas....

Your list may look like: The frangipanis. The warm morning sun. The birds song. A cool drink.

Or it may be more like: The atmosphere, the hum of family gathering, the pretty lights and sparkles, the belonging, the being known and getting to know further.

These are all examples of connection. They offer meaning, ritual, sense of place and the passing of time. The focus on what's around us offers a deep nourishment, beyond the transient avoidance of indulgence.

3. Notice when your body says "No"

We all have one. It's the same No as touching something hot. The same No as stepping in front of a bus. It's protective and reliable. Learn to read and trust your No.

You may like to prepare your No's ahead of time:

No thanks. The second dessert is never as good as the first.

No, but I would love a little more of that stunning salad.

Not for me thanks!

4. Gratitude is the antidote to Greed

Gratitude is the practice of enough. It's a shift from "never enough" thinking which places us in scarcity and stress, to I have so much I can reflect on how wonderful it is.

Again, practice writing authentic gratitude before social events:

I'm grateful I have enough that I'm able to extend to others this Christmas.

I'm thankful I've never in my life been short of food.

I'm privileged to have the friends, community, family that I have.

5. Lean to Green

Fill your plate with gorgeous greens.

This tip alone will add years of youthful vitality to your life.

Aim to see that 2/3 of your plate comes pulled from the ground or plucked from a tree.

6. Less really is More

When it comes to "special foods" such as your Mum's version of Nigella Lawson's Pudding, ritualise-the-f$#% out of it. You heard me! Talk it up..starting now. Dream about it. Imagine the juiciness of the rum-soaked raisins, the moisture multiplied by cream. Visualise the jet black raisins against the supremely creamy cream. Fantasise about swimming in the creamy lake - with your mouth open - and sliding yourself from the lake to the rich earthy pud.

Then, on the day, sit and look around at everyones faces while they drink in their own versions of pure bliss-filled happiness. All united by the same busty Mama.

7. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate

The number one rule for energy. Think of the difference between your garden pre-sprinkling and post-sprinkling. That's right. Vitality. Keeping the kidneys flowing is like keeping your ferns moist... it's a no brainer. Ask anyone who's had a kidney stone, and they'll tell you no amount of pethidine made that pain worthwhile. This Christmas, let's all hydrate, hydrate, hydrate.

8. Do the Work

My wonderful teacher and business partner, Dr Rachel Hannam, has taught me that all behaviour is an attempt to meet a need. Eating, for example, may be an attempt to meet a need for security, or calm, or satisfaction, or attachment.

Doing the work means verbally, physically, intellectually and emotionally processing our human experiences. Journalling is the most direct way to do this because it doesn't rely on anybody else, and requires no special time or cost.

For guidance, see our latest launch "The Brainy Body - The Psychology of Nutrition for Kind and Lasting Weight Management"

9. Regulate your Emotions

Working with Dr Rachel Hannam and Non Violent Communication has taught me that underlying every one of our choices is a very valuable need. If I am acting in a way which is distracted ie substances, reactive communication or overeating, it is a manifestation of something truly important to me.

For example, when I have felt at my most vulnerable, I acted defensively because I needed security and loyalty. We all need each other to coregulate at times. Enough that we can be calm enough to identify our underlying needs.

Regulating our emotions is to use them for their valuable insight. For example, if I feel lonely, it may believe it is because I need company, but after some reflective journalling, I may notice the need for self expression.

By taking the time to identify our emotions, we can connect with the need we are trying to meet.

10. Let your hair down and let your inner child out

Ever noticed you take a sharp breath in when a car races in front of you?

Ever found yourself holding your breath when reaching a deadline?

These are examples of the way we take "IN" and "UP" when under stress, and a major clue of what we need to release stress, tension and uptightness ie letting / breathing "OUT" and "DOWN".

Sharing ourselves has the same effect on the psyche. Free flowing thoughts, open conversation, spontaneous movement and release of ideas all facilitate letting down and letting out.

Try it this Christmas! I recommend Sia's Christmas Album for that singalong or disco you know you want.

Book your Initial Consultation to discuss the psychology of your nutrition today.


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