Psychologist tips for surviving the silly season eat-a-thon – By Kate Swann

Kate Swann is a Melbourne Psychologist in private practice in Hawthorn, and the author of the book Do You Really Want to Lose Weight? I met with Kate just over a week ago as her area of expertise fascinates me and as I am in to helping people change behaviour, psychology plays a massive part. She especially wrote this article for Just In Time Personal Training clients.

Visit Kate’s website to find out more:

Dieters dread Christmas.

The Christmas period has the potential to stack on five or even ten kilos. We resolve faithfully on January 1 to lose that weight as quickly as we can, and spend the rest of the year battling with it. With varied levels of success.

Until Christmas, when all our best intentions fly out the window, we eat and drink, eat and drink, eat and drink, and on goes the weight. So how do you get through Christmas without gaining weight? How do you Christmas-proof your diet?

Here’s some thoughts I put together to help you get Christmas and Christmas eating back in perspective.

Christmas is but one day

That’s right folks. One day a year, not one month a year. Try looking at Christmas Day as an indulgent eating period that starts and finishes in a 24 hour period.

So in 365 days in the year, if you overeat one of those days, it’s not going to make that much difference to your weight. Especially if you eat lightly for a few days after.

It’s the eating we do around Christmas Day that’s the real problem. It’s like come December 1, we give ourselves permission to eat everything we see when we’re out socially, and continue that habit when we’re at home.

And then after Christmas Day, we need to polish off the leftovers and all those yummy treats you’d never buy, but have somehow made it into your pantry.

The answer? Stop treating Christmas Day as a month-long eat-a-thon, and start thinking about it as a day to indulge and enjoy yourself. Get your eating around Christmas into perspective and maintain the course and heading you set at the beginning of the year.

Maintain your exercise routine

When December rolls around and the social engagements step up, the first thing off the must-do list is exercise.


If we value our health and fitness, and we value our desire to maintain our weight, why do we drop the most important part of our well-being?

Prioritize yourself and your needs over the busy festive period, and keep to your scheduled exercise routine. As well as sending you into Christmas in better shape (physically as well as mentally) sticking to your exercise plan will help you start the New Year on the right note.

No excuses, just do it!

Limit treats to one a day

Just because Christmas is coming, there’s no need to eat, drink and make merry every moment of the day.

Have a stern word to yourself, and make sure you restrict your treats to one a day.

Don’t eat if you’re not hungry

This is a pretty radical concept at this time of year, but remember you can say ‘no’ politely and firmly to food, if you’re not hungry.

Sure, it may be floating past your nose on a laden tray, or Auntie Mildred’s been baking all day just for your visit. But remember you have the option of saying ‘no’ as often as you like. There’s no rule that if it’s there, you have to eat it.

Be prepared

Learn to think like a boy scout and always be prepared.

Be prepared with a line or two so you can refuse food you don’t want.

Be prepared with how much you’re going to eat when you get to a social gathering, and stick to it.

Be prepared for those parties where there will be lots of high fat food, by eating before you go so you’re not faced with feeling starving and downing all the snacks (which won’t fill you up, anyway).

Decide how much you’re going to drink before you go to that party, and stick to it.


With a little bit of thought and preparation, the Christmas period doesn’t need to spell disaster for your waistline.

Merry Christmas, and enjoy yourself!

  • Many thanks to Kate for this blog post!

Justin Moran

0411 798 934