Laura Williams: How to Avoid Gaining a Dress Size Over Christmas

Laura Williams is a former couch potato who has revamped her lifestyle to become one of the UK's leading personal trainers. As someone who used to eat chocolate for breakfast, Laura knows only to well that resisting temptation is never easy but assures us that you can have a wonderful Christmas without it resulting in extra pounds. Hurrah! Follow her top tips to avoid that dreaded weight gain over Christmas.

Laura Williams: How to Avoid Gaining a Dress Size Over Chris

As the calorie finale of the year approaches it’s easy to resign yourself to the fact that your clothes will be that much tighter come January 1st. But you actually can have your cake and eat it over the festive season with a little bit of planning and damage limitation

Try and resist the temptation to buy too many Christmas tasties in the run up to the big day. Reduced price tins of chocolates, packets of mince pies and tubs of peanuts will be calling you after a long hard day. And if you’re cold and tired, willpower alone might not do it. Put off stockpiling them for as long as you can, or stash treats in the car or even in the garden shed – this will make them trickier to access when cravings come calling.

Have some sort of Christmas fitness plan. Pledge to just 15 minutes a day over the holidays to get your heartbeat raised. You don’t even need to lace up your trainers – a game of Twister could burn quite a few cals in a relatively short space of time, while a longish post-lunch walk (45-60 mins) with the family will burn off a small helping of Christmas pud.

Check your gym or leisure centre’s Christmas opening hours and then plan in advance. You might have to make do with some incidental exercise (see above) to tide you over but it’s good to plan a couple of structured exercise sessions into the Christmas period to make a dent in all that eating and drinking.

Try and curb your big eating days to just 2-3 over the Christmas period: give yourself a green light to eat what you like on, say, Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve and for the other days, try and practise damage limitation, e.g. say no to a mince pie and have a satsuma instead; swap a handful of peanuts for a handful of olives; instead of going for the Big Purple One in the Quality Street, have an After Eight...and so on.

The best Christmas alcohol tip is to take a leaf out of the celebs’ book and sip the bubbly stuff. Not only does it come in smaller glasses to start with, champagne is also marginally less calorific than wine – in fact, pink champagne has just 75 calories per glass. Mulled wine seems like a good choice over lager or cider but it actually spells disaster for your good intentions. For every glass of mulled wine you have, you could drink two large glasses of white wine for the same number of calories.

Make savvy Christmas Swaps!

Whether you’re at a party or trying to make the best choice on Christmas Day, downsizing your treats can make all the difference.

Instead of/go for...

Cream or oil-based dips - Yoghurt, tomato-based dips, pureed sweet peppers

4 small roast potatoes - 2 large potatoes, (they soak up less oil)

Cauliflower cheese - Steamed broccoli with grated cheese

Brandy butter - Crème fraiche or low fat custard

Full fat gravy - Gravy with sieved meat juices or gravy granules

Sausagemeat stuffing - Chestnut stuffing

Shortcrust/puff pastry - Filo pastry

Crisps & nuts - Pickled onions, gherkins, olives

Toffee/fudge/nut chocolate creams - Turkish Delight, marshmallows.

To find out more, you can visit Laura's website HERE .