14/12/2011 19:01 GMT | Updated 13/02/2012 05:12 GMT

Overindulgence? Or Perhaps a Healthier Christmas for 2011?

Christmas is coming, and it might not just be the geese that are getting fat. Studies show that the average British person eats an incredible 7000 calories on Christmas Day. That's equivalent to around 37 croissants for all you health conscious folk out there, and the problem is that it's not just on Christmas day that we overindulge. There are the office Christmas parties, after work drinks with friends, and all the New Year's Eve celebrations too. It's no wonder that gyms see their membership rising in January as we have a collective panic over our waistlines.

I visited my local supermarket on Saturday and, as you might expect (as it's been that way since October), the shelves were filled with Christmas treats. However there was already that slightly hysterical note in the air as people bulk bought food as if the shops were about to close for a month and their lives depended on it. Here's a newsflash for the people of North London - that particular large supermarket is only closed for one day - Christmas Day!

So why does this collective overindulgence happen? Not so long ago it was the norm to have a naughtily indulgent, but not excessive Christmas. What has changed? Perhaps part of the reason is that more and more in our society, food and alcohol equal love and fun and unconsciously we pick up these messages all the time through advertising and the press. We are deeply programmed to be motivated towards things that make us feel good, so our unconscious minds are often encouraging us to consume more, and more often, as these messages get increasingly mixed up.

How can you begin to re-educate our unconscious minds and ensure that that food is just that - food? To be enjoyed absolutely, but not in place of love, not for comfort and not as a poor substitute for fun. You can start to make a change by being more conscious of how this might happen for you, and by doing more of what is healthy to satisfy your needs. There are some great techniques that us Cognitive Hypnotherapists use, some derived from Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP). These techniques unhook that connection and clients often find that quite easily they are able to re-direct their unconscious processes as a result of their Hypnotherapy sessions.

I also find that watching my young children is a great way to learn how to enjoy the simple things for what they are. How they get so much pleasure out of dancing or singing, or just having a good old giggle is so inspiring to me.

Over the holiday season perhaps have a think about other ways to treat yourself. What might you do to pamper yourself? How else would it be possible to have lots of fun? Perhaps you could post up a suggestion of what works for you and see if we can get a really inspiring list of things to do over the holiday season. How would it be to try a different way this year?