Now I’m no bah-humbug, well, OK I am a bit, now I’m older and Christmas is more of a massive to do list than endless parties.

But if you’re going to be using it as an excuse to gorge on carbs, you’re going to have a pretty nasty shock when you hit the scales come January.

I know Christmas is a time for celebrating – who can resist a few mince pies, some mulled wine and fizz, several Christmas lunches, some gingerbread lattes (oh go on, stick some gingerbread syrup in there, its Christmas) and some Christmas pud (am I the only one who even likes it??).

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We’re talking a massive Carb Fest! And it’s not just Christmas Day any more, it seems to last the whole month (and isn’t November nearly Christmas?).

And why does everyone go on about carbs so much anyway? Well the evidence is clear that our high carb Western diet is a major factor behind the obesity epidemic (as well as our skyrocketing levels of diabetes, heart disease and cancer).

I’m not bashing all carbs by the way – fruit, veg, beans, pulses and some whole grains are good sources of carbs. But we aren’t eating too many of this kind, it’s the refined carbs that we are gorging on that are doing all the damage.

So Christmas can be a disaster for your waist and hips. And if you’re already challenged in that area, the extra damage can almost seem irreversible come January.

But if you are bit savvy, there are some ways you can avoid the big carb pile up and not have a mountain to climb in January.

Here are my 11 tips to beat the bloat:

1. Eat before you party. Make sure you have a healthy meal before you get to the party so you can avoid the carby canapés and snacks. Lots of veggies, some good protein and some healthy fats should fill you up and give you plenty of nutrients so your hunger hormones stay quiet.

2. Prioritise 1 or 2 events you want to indulge at – that way you won’t overdo at every event in December (just because its near Christmas!).

3. Be the driver – that way you have to stay off the booze. Alcohol is part of your carb intake due to its sugar content and disastrous effect it has on your will power.

4. Don’t stock up on Christmas food – buy what you need, and keep the treats to a minimum (for kids or guests!). The more temptation in the cupboards the more you’ll indulge.Cutting-carbs-over-Christmas-is-it-worth-the-effort-and-what-to-do-instead_2.jpg5. Stay off the cocktails – they are loaded with sugar. Try red wine, which has less sugar and has some nutrients to offset the alcohol. You are unlikely to drink as much either.

6. Drink plenty of water, especially when drinking alcohol. Try and drink one glass of water between each drink. It will reduce the dehydration and help your liver detoxify.

7. Choose quality over quantitydon’t binge on Iceland’s 10 for a pound party ‘food’ – if you’re going to indulge, choose fewer good quality snacks and enjoy them.

8. Eat really healthily in between gatherings – plenty of vegetables, good quality protein, healthy fats and low glycaemic carbs – should keep you on track and able to handle the odd indulgence.

9. Stick with the programme – don’t let up on your exercise or classes just because it’s Christmas. Burning off those excess carbs will help minimise any weight gain.

10. Relax – it can be a very stressful time, and when we’re stressed we crave foods high in sugar and carbs, so make sure you schedule in some relaxation – yoga, pilates, meditation, relax tapes, music, walking in nature, massage, Epsom Salt baths – whatever keeps you chilled.

11. Don’t write off the Christmas period and leave it to January to sort out! Classic mistake because when January comes around, the task will be so much bigger than it could have been.

Easier said than done I know, it is Christmas after all – but if you try a few of these tips out, you might be surprised you can still do up your jeans post the binge season.

Make a great present to yourself this Christmas – grab an expert-designed diet and workout plan and kick start your health and weight loss in 2014!

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