Christmas means it’s time to venture out to parties and social events. But if your confidence is wobbly, it can be tempting to hide away indoors. You might even have developed FOGO (that’s fear of going out!). Follow our expert advice for getting out there and having fun from Weight Watchers magazine psychologist Honey Langcaster-James. Eggnog, anyone?
If you're thinking: 'I'm trying to be confident but just don't believe I look good'
‘You may be stuck in an old way of thinking about your appearance,’ says Honey. ‘Make a mental decision: regardless of how you feel, you’re going to go out and have fun. How we feel about our appearance often depends on who we compare ourselves to. Try instead to compare yourself to how you looked before you started on your weight-loss journey. Look through old photographs of yourself – doing so may help you to feel more confident about your appearance and how it currently compares. However, remember that, even if you don’t like the way you look, the truth is, it’s your attitude, personality and smile that count the most.’
If you're thinking: 'I feel as if people are watching or judging me around food'
Feel your mother raising an eyebrow if you help yourself to a mince pie? Whether it’s people giving you advice, or not offering you a canapé, Christmas can be hard. ‘Everyone thinks they know what you should or shouldn’t be drinking or eating and it can be infuriating,’ says Honey. ‘If anyone tries to advise you or makes unwelcome comments, you need to be assertive, but fair. Simply say: “I appreciate your concern, but I’m now a Weight Watchers member and it’s going really well, thanks.” If someone really is judging you instead of being supportive, all you can do is change the subject, avoid them if possible, or ask them to leave you to it.’
If you're thinking: 'I find it so hard to talk to new people'
‘If you’ve been concerned about your weight for some time, you may have become a little insular and unused to getting out and about,’ says Honey. ‘But even the most sociable person can find chatting to new people a little intimidating and stressful. When you’re in a social situation, it helps to remember that the person you’re talking to is probably as anxious as you are but trying desperately not to show it.’ Try asking lots of questions about them and really focus on what they say, instead of how nervous you feel. ‘Also, ask yourself, what is the worst that can happen, really?’ Honey advises. ‘Even if you do embarrass yourself, you can just walk away, start over and chat to someone else.’
If you're thinking: 'I feel self-conscious when people comment on my changing body'
Dropping a dress size can shine a spotlight on you that may feel uncomfortable. ‘Change often makes us feel anxious, and even positive change can lead to anxiety,’ says Honey. ‘When you’re not used to compliments, it can leave you feeling awkward. Don’t rebuff positive comments or minimise how well you’re doing. Practice accepting compliments, as they’re an important form of social affirmation and can help to keep you going. Just say: “Thank you, that’s kind of you.” Don’t downplay the comment or try to offer positive words in return.’ For more advice on confidence and happiness, read the latest issue of Weight Watchers magazine.