Take a leaf out of Jedward’s book and you won’t be led astray by friends and colleagues this festive season

As The X Factor draws to a close, Ireland’s sole entry has since departed amid jeers and boos. The twin brothers from Lucan, John and Edward Grimes, known as Jedward, were on the receiving end of some harsh criticism every week on the show. At one stage Simon Cowell labelled the pair “cocky”.

If this sounds familiar, you might recall the now famous first public appearance of a certain Irish boyband called Boyzone on the Late Late Show way back when. Questions were raised about their singing ability at that stage but as millions of record sales later proved, they had the last laugh.

Both Boyzone and Jedward had unwavering self-belief in themselves in spite of all the criticism directed at them.

The young brothers showed tremendous courage in the face of adversity. Each week, they received endless taunts as they stepped into the cauldron of a live X Factor audience and millions of TV viewers to live out their dream.

They maintained a positive mental attitude to work hard every week. Jedward’s singing ability may be questionable but they took their chances and continued to improve, performing and inspiring many other young people to dream big.

As children, we dream big. There are no limits to what you can achieve. You can be a professional soccer or rugby player, a doctor or even an astronaut. It is your dream and no one can take it away from you — unless you let them, that is.

And that is what happens. As we get older, we make a decision to change our lifestyle, lose weight and increase our health and vitality. Then Christmas arrives and our spouses, friends and co-workers start to push their beliefs upon us so that we align with theirs.

They overwhelm us with their limiting beliefs that we cannot succeed and increase the pressure on our shoulders until we feel the weight overpower us and we abdicate our nutrition and training programmes.

This means that our friends and colleagues can therefore place a huge influence on what body shape and weight we become.

Nicholas A Christakis, of Harvard Medical School, published the results of a 12,000-person study in the New England Journal of Medicine, which showed that social networks can play a surprisingly powerful role in determining an individual’s chances of gaining weight.

Researchers found that as one spouse became obese, the other spouse was 37pc more likely to become obese within two to four years. The risk escalated more rapidly among friends, especially if they considered themselves mutual friends, by 57pc to 171pc, regardless of how far they lived apart.

So what should you do to stay on track with your fitness regime around Christmas? You certainly shouldn’t sever relationships with friends who have different values. Friendships have many positive health effects.

There will be times when people tempt you into a situation that will set you up for failure. However, it isn’t done with any malicious intent. They are unaware that they are sabotaging your efforts so you may need to tell people why a healthy lifestyle is so important to you. Take comfort in doing what’s right for you.

I remind my clients of this regularly with the crabs story. When a fisherman fishes for crabs, he puts them in a bucket with no lid.

This is because as one crab tries to make a break for it, another crab will grab him by the legs and pull him back in. If you want to maintain your body shape on the countdown to Christmas you may need to kick your legs free and make a run for it.

So over the festive season, if you want to change your body shape, stick to your guns as you can’t soar like an eagle if you surround yourself with the other turkeys!

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