Pressure: another ‘P’ word and one to put on the list to avoid. (I think there could be a theme here).

Today I thought to myself, there are four weeks to Christmas and ‘oh no, I need to lose a stone by then’.

Why do we do this to ourselves? It’s not impossible, but to lose a stone in a month heaps enough pressure on myself to make me run the other way and bury my head in ice cream.

It’s good to have goals; they keep me focussed.

I still want to compete in our local sprint triathlon in May next year, but short-term goals include continuing with my bike rides – really trying to get out at least once a week over the winter, keep up the strength training too and watch what I am eating.

This is not purely for weight loss (although that goes hand in hand with being fitter and healthier) but I know eating the right foods – high protein, low carbs – makes me feel stronger and healthier too.

Putting myself under pressure is totally and utterly pointless. It sets me up to fail. ‘Do this by this date or you can’t do it at all’ is completely futile.

The disappointment I go on to feel when I haven’t achieved by that deadline is huge and weighs me down and it starts a cycle of decline.

But by changing my thoughts to consistent little efforts things start to look better. I do squeeze in that bike ride; I do drink more water, or lose a few more pounds.

For the first time losing weight is not just about seeing a dramatic loss on the scales; now it’s about manageable, long-term changes. Ones that I want to stick to for the rest of my life.

There are going to be treats: chocolate oranges over the festive period; the odd glass of sherry (how old am I?); but I also hope there will be lots more Christmases of feeling strong and healthy. That will be the best present I could give myself.

So, if you feel like you are slipping over the next few weeks, take the pressure off. It’s not ‘all or nothing’ here.


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