How to enjoy christmas without gaining the extra pounds

Dear Helga

Now, the month I dread the most is approaching.  Christmas should be a time of joy and celebration, but for me it is filled with feelings of worry and frustration. For years, I haven’t been able to truly enjoy Christmas because I worry too much about gaining weight. I almost cancelled my trip home last Christmas due to this issue. This might sound a bit extreme, but somehow I always put on 3-4 kg over Christmas and those kgs are there to stay. Here in Dubai I usually take care of my diet, so my weight is stable, but when I’m home surrounded with delicious gourmet food it is hard to resist. This has made me slowly gain weight over the years.  

For me, this is a huge problem because as much as I would like to, I cant enjoy Christmas. My feelings of guilt, anger and frustrations are not only affecting me, but my whole family as well. I’m sick and tired of this vicious circle, and I would love to find a way out. Can you help??

Best regards julia

Dear julia

Thank you for your question, and I believe that you are not alone in this situation. In fact most of my clients dread putting on weight over the holidays.

To start with, your feelings of frustrations, anger and worry all contribute to your weight gain. When you feel this way, stress hormones are secreted into your bloodstream. These hormones are in fact interfering with your metabolism and your fat burning as well as increasing your appetite for high sugary- high fat food. So just worrying about gaining weight is actually contributing to your weight gain. Apart from that, it is a well known fact that what you focus on is what you crave. So the more you focus on the FORBIDDEN FOODS, the more you crave them.  While in the craving mood you have 2 choices, either to give in to the food or resisting it. The first choice leaves you with a feeling of guilt and the second choice makes you feel deprived. Both are negative feelings that only add to the stress that you are already experiencing. There are many ways of dealing with cravings, and I won’t go into details here. For now, I would like you to understand that it is your mind that creates the craving, and the more you focus on the food you crave, the more you want it.  I have written below few suggestions that I hope can help you.

Below are my suggestions:

  1. My first advice is “Go home and enjoy Christmas”. By following my suggestions below you will not put on weight so there is nothing to worry about. When you are happy you speed up your metabolic rate. You release positive hormones that not only help speeding up your metabolic rate but they also help balancing and harmonizing your body.
  2. Use visualization to reinforce different feelings associated to your Christmas holiday. See yourself in your imagination enjoying Christmas without indulging on food, spending quality time with your family and friends.
  3. While you are on holiday decide that no food is forbidden and that you have the CHOICE to eat whatever you feel like.
  4. Direct your focus towards healthy food (think about healthy food that you enjoy eating), so whenever you have a chance, eat healthy.
  5. Use the “make up for it” method. It simply means that when you choose to eat something unhealthy make up for that unhealthy meal by reducing your kcal intake in following meal/ meals. I suggest that you use following strategy:

a)     If you eat unhealthy lunch you can make up for it by eating smaller snack and dinner.  Do not skip meals as it slows down your metabolic rate.

b)    Christmas day is usually a day where both lunch and dinner are heavy. In that case you can enjoy the gourmet food on Christmas day and then have 5 small and healthy meals 2 days after (reduce your kcal intake below what you normally eat).

c)     If you eat heavy or unhealthily food for 2 days in a row, make up for it by reducing your intake of food for 3-4 days after. Again remember small and frequent meals

I recommend that you choose food high in nutrients, non processed and food low in carbohydrates after your “free day/days”. Having raw veggies with little bit of protein, and healthy fats is a good way to clean out toxins, and burn the excess fat you have taken in. Eating unhealthily for more than 2 days in a row is going to tax your system too much, and I don’t recommend it. You can repeat this cycle throughout Christmas, and when you return to Dubai you  will see that you aren’t a pound heavier, but left with a memory of the good spirit, the good food and the precious family time.

In your everyday life you can use the same method, but be sensible. For example you might choose to have a chocolate bar in the afternoon one day, and then you make up for it by having a smaller dinner. I don’t recommend that you go to the extreme of overeating, and under eating as you harm your body in numerous ways by doing so. 

            I do believe that if you get into the habit of eating healthily you won’t miss the sweets and the gourmet food you are talking about. So if you are truly committed to eat healthy here in Dubai, you should be able to maintain that in your country even over Christmas. It is really your mind playing tricks on you, and it is your mindset that is the true cause of your experience.

Written by:

Helga Marin

Health Mind and Body

Tel Dubai 00971 50 5518482

Tel Iceland 00354 8458174


Helga Bergsteinsdottir


About healthmindbody

Helga Marin hails from Iceland and has over twenty years experience in fitness and health. She has been living in Dubai for the last 10 years where she conducted numerous workshops and seminars helping people to improve their health and general well being. She is the co founder of the successful weight loss programme “8 weeks to a new you” and she is also the founder of the New “Health Mind and Body” programmes that promote both Physical and mental Health through nutrition education, NLP/behavior modification and exercises. Prior to starting her own company, Helga worked for seven years at the GMC associated Clinics. Helga’s qualifications 1. Sport and Nutrition degree from the University of Sport in Stockholm, Sweden 2. BA in Psychology from University of Stockholm 3. NLP Master Practitioner certified by Paul McKenna and Richard Bandler (founder of NLP) 4. CTI Life coach level 1 5. Certified Personal Trainer 6. Certified Fitness and aerobics Instructor 7. Certified in Pilates lev.el 1 8. Certified Massage Therapist Contact details: Helga Marin Tel Dubai 050 8490198 Tel Iceland 050 8458174
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One Response to How to enjoy christmas without gaining the extra pounds

  1. Pingback: Christmas tips and motivational advice « QA Biggest Losers 2011-12

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