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Why Why Why Why Why?

We're nearly there. The house is stuffed with mince pies and festive cheer. Clients have called off with colds and Christmas parties but I'm not worried because they'll all be back in January!

This article is for the people who are determined to stick to their weight management guns over Christmas. If you've got 10 days of parties and feasting ahead and plan to party your way to 2017 then do it, enjoy it, be safe, have fun and don't guilt yourself over it. Don't read this article. It's not for you.

If, however, you've been working towards an important health goal and you're determined to make it through Christmas without a back slide, read on.

Firstly, if you've been working hard at your weight management goals this year - well done. If your goal is weight loss, take a moment to think about how you dropped the last half kilo or lb. What did you do and how long did it take?

Recent research suggests that weight gain over the winter is roughly 1lb or half a kilo which is probably much less than you'd expect. Here's a great article about it. It's reassuring to know that you're probably not going to slip too much and this gives you the perfect opportunity to fine tune your long term food related decision making skills.

With all the temptation around, here's your method to managing Christmas. Practise it today and take it with you to next year.

We're going all technological with the 5 why's. This method of problem solving was invented by Sakichi Toyoda who developed the technique in the 1930s. He was an industrialist, inventor and founder of Toyota Industries. His technique became popular in the 1970s and Toyota still uses it to solve problems today.

The theory is that when you encounter a problem you ask why, why, why, why, why?

Here's a famous industrial example for when a machine stopped working in the Toyota factory:

Resetting the overload trip wouldn't have helped, nor oiling the the shaft, replacing the pump or its drive shaft. The oil filter would still have blocked again and the problem would have recurred.

We don't need to be technical geniuses to translate this to our world. Here's a slightly more fatuous but perhaps more relevant example:

The solution here is clearly to throttle Cameron, or perhaps for Charlie to buy milk.

Charlie could also lighten up and have some toast in the morning, prepare meals the night before, eat lunch at lunchtime like a grown up or have a stack of better quality goodies to snack on in the future.

The point is that seeking the root cause of a disaster is key to making long term change. Charlie clearly needs to plan better to avoid temptation.

The greatest benefit of the 5 why's is that it forces us to be accountable for our slip ups. It allows us to quickly investigate the tiny underlying action which, with the flutter of the butterfly's wings, creates chaos in another area of our lives.

It's hard to take that level of accountability in our day but with practice it becomes easier and eventually second nature. Try it with something simple now. Just think back on a time when you know you made a bad call. Run through the 5 why's and find the solution. Then bring it to the present and run it through your day. Then, as with the Christmas Carol, take it forward and plan out your prevention strategies for the next 10 days. Take a mental note of your "5 Why's of Christmas Yet to Come".

No-one is expecting you to get it right first or every time but you'll get plenty of opportunities to try this out over the next few weeks. Remaining conscious of your long term goals will help you get back to routine quicker, too.

There's no newsletter next week so have a great festive season and I'll catch up with you in January.

Enjoy Good Cheer!

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