Very soon we'll be at that time of year when exercise , diets , calorie counting and being sensible goes out of the window for a few weeks leading to slimming clubs and gyms getting massive surges of members in January as we haul our overweight frames through the doors.

But does it have to be like that ?

Of course not. Weight gain over the holidays is normally down to three things ; eating too much, drinking too much and not exercising enough and it's possible to enjoy the festive season without piling on the pounds and here are a few tips on how to do it.


Have a large glass of water before going out.

Drinking water before going out partying will make you feel slightly more full so you won't be as tempted to overindulge on the food.It's an easy tip that is based on research. A 2010 study in the journal 'Obesity' found that adults who drank water before a meal ate less at the meal and lost more weight over 12 weeks than those who didn't drink water before eating.

Have your dinners on a smaller plate

By eating off a smaller plate you will still be able to take part in everything with friends just on a smaller scale. Your calorie intake will also be decreased so if you do happen to drink more the effect won't be quite so bad on your waistline.

Eat sitting down rather than standing

Sitting down to eat helps you consume less food and fewer calories, because you tend to eat more slowly and pay attention to what you put into your mouth. A 2007 study published in 'The Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics' found that total calorie consumption was lower in those who ate slowly , compared to those who ate more quickly.

Alternate your alcoholic drink with water

Not only will alternating your alcoholic drink with water have an impact on your waistline as you'll be drinking fewer 'empty' calories it will also dilute the Alcohol you do drink so you won't get so drunk and won't be suffering the next day.

At buffets go for the healthy option

Sounds obvious I know but if you're like me you can't wait to get hold of the cakes.

At a lot of parties you'll find yourself faced with a buffet rather than a formal sit down meal. You don't need to deny yourself everything but try and fill yourself up on healthier options like vegetables and cooked meats before diving into the cream cakes.

Offer to be the designated driver occasionally

Not only will this go a significant way towards keeping the extra pounds off , it will also get you seriously into your friends' good books. And who knows , you might even find that going out on the town and not drinking is quite enjoyable once in a while.

Do your 10,000 steps each day

With so much to do over the festive period one of the first casualties is organised exercise. This gets put on the back burner as there are just too many other things to do.

It's easy to fit your recommended 10,000 steps into a normal day and still do all the other things that need doing like shopping , wrapping gifts , visiting family and so on. Try and chunk your 10,000 steps into manageable 10 or 15 minute sections so you don't become too daunted by having to do 10,000 in one hit. Most iphones now will have a step counter on them as standard , if not then invest in a cheap pedometer for as little as £3.99.10,000 steps

Christmas is a time for fun and family. It's natural that we let our normal fitness goals slip a little but if you can follow all or some or the tips above there's no reason why you shouldn't look forward to returning to your normal routine in the New Year and avoid the dreaded New Year's Resolution of 'This year , I will lose the weight I put on over Christmas.'