Seven tips to avoid weight gain this festive season!

With the Christmas party season already well on the way, every occasion is a worthwhile opportunity for good food and glasses of Prosecco.

With so much over-indulging, it can be easy to go up a few pounds without even noticing.

If you're worried that you'll fall off the healthy eating wagon over the next few weeks, take note of these tips. Christmas can still be as fun-filled as usual, but with a few tweaks you won't be terrified to step on the scales come New Year's Day!

1. Be realistic
December is not the time to launch into a brand new diet plan. If you're trying to lose weight, let the festive season be about maintaining your weight and not making any gains. If you're too strict with yourself, you're more likely to give in and over-eat. Don't deprive yourself!

2. Avoid mindless snacking
There's always going to be a cheeky box of Celebrations or bag of crisps lying around as Christmas draws nearer. Save your indulgences for things you'll actually savour, like a mince pie after dinner or a cocktail with the girls. You'd be surprised how quickly the calories can pile up when you keep reaching into that box of Roses for "just the one."

3. Eat before the party
If you're going to an event that you know will be full of tempting food, fuel up on something healthy and filling beforehand. Arriving at a party with a rumbling stomach means you have no choice but to dig into all the finger food on offer.

4. Don't be afraid to say "no"
We're all guilty of stuffing an extra slice of Christmas cake into us because Nana would hate to see us go hungry. But if you're genuinely full, just say "no thanks." Its not going to hurt anyone's feelings – you're the only one who notices!

5. Don't have the one too many
Alcohol not only lashes extra calories onto our daily intake, but we're more likely to relax our eating when we've had a few. Unless it's a big night out, stick to one or two drinks and opt for sparkling or still water between every alcoholic drink.

6. Try not to go back for seconds
Sometimes a second helping is just too good to resist, but keep it small and limit yourself to one food type rather than filling your plate up again with an entire dinner. Start off with a reasonably full plate first time around, so that you'll be satisfied enough to resist going back for more.

7. Get some exercise in
It can be hard to fit in exercise if it's raining or icy outside, but do your best when you can. Even a brisk walk around the shops or a stroll after dinner will do your diet the world of good.