Christmas can be a difficult time if you're trying to lose weight. It's all the parties, the mince pies, the chocolates and of course alcohol which make it so hard to stay on track. The usual response is to think "I'll just deal with my weight after Christmas".
But do you really want to get to New Year's day, step on the scales and see that they're up five pounds? Of course not.
What you need is a way to enjoy Christmas but still manage your weight. And so here's 10 tips to show you exactly how you can do that.
1. Have something before the party
You know what happens when you turn up to a party starving? You eat anything they give you! Hunger sabotages your resolve.
To prevent yourself turning up hungry, have a light snack (80 calories or so) beforehand.
2. Focus only on the things you like
Humans love variety. And so when you're faced with a buffet situation or a drinks party with canapés, it's only natural to want to sample every single one.
Don't do it! As you will know from past experience, there's usually only a few things that you will really like. So, don't fill yourself up trying everything, just focus on eating the foods that you will really enjoy.
3. Plate up
When you're in a buffet situation, instead of going back for seconds, thirds or sixths, put everything that you want to eat on a plate once. And stick to it.
This will make it much easier to know how much you've eaten. And you won't leave the party feeling guilty or remorseful (or nauseated) that you ate too much.
4. Balance things off
I call this balanced indulgence. If you've ever met someone slim who seems to eat a lot when you go out for a meal then this is how they do it. They compensate for the bigger meal by eating less either before or after.
So if you're going out for a heavy dinner, have a lighter lunch. If you have a heavy lunch, then you can eat lighter for dinner.
5. Try and cut down serving size
If you're given a certain size slice of cake, you will tend to eat all of it. But if someone cuts you a slice that is 50% bigger you will still eat all of it. You're unduly influenced by whatever the serving size is.
Try and cut down your serving size of food and also alcohol (smaller glasses) and it will lead to you eating and drinking less.
6. Have a "quality quota"
If you like a particular food, for example, mince pies, decide how many you're going to have for the entire Christmas period and stick to it. It could be three, five or even seven pies.
You pick the number, but stick to it. And when you have a mince pie it has to be a good one, you have to eat it slowly and enjoy it without any guilt.
7. Delay stocking the house up with food for a few days.
You can still have a house brimming with food at Christmas, but just put off that "stocking up" for a few days. If you delay even a few days, it means less time that you're surrounded by temptation. Seems like a trivial step, but it does make a difference.
Sharing is the best way to sample foods you like without having to eat the whole thing.
9. Delay don't deny
Children hate being told "no". But adults also hate saying "no" to themselves. As soon as you deny yourself something you feel an increased desire to have it.
Get around this by "delaying not denying". You want that piece of chocolate cake? Sure. Just say you'll have a piece after you've checked your email or watched that TV show. You'll be surprised by how many times you end up not eating it after the delay.
10. Don't let setbacks set you back
Things will go wrong over Christmas, but that's ok. Don't let one over-eating incident put you off or make you discouraged.
The worst thing you can do is over-eat, feel discouraged and then over-eat some more.
Even people who've been slim for years still trip up every now and then. But the skill you need to learn is getting right back on track as soon as possible. That makes all the difference.
For more behavioural tips click here