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You can enjoy Christmas - and you can still eat plenty of chocolates! - without having to face the bulge in the New Year. Learn how to indulge without having to worry about the bulge with our guide.

Recent research by tech giant MSN found that on average, people gain between 5 and 7lb over the four-week Christmas period - and this can take an astonishing three months to come back off. The research also found that on average, we eat between 2500 and 3500 calories at our Christmas dinner - not to mention the buttery, rich breakfast, the booze, the champagne cocktails, the Christmas pud and the late afternoon snacks. It's little surprise that we gain so much weight over Christmas, but how can it be avoided? It's the one time of year that you want to kick back and relax with your family - and it's the one time of year that it's okay to overindulge. But if you don't want to gain weight, all is not lost - you can indulge over Christmas without packing on the pounds. It just takes a little planning.

The Key is Moderation

You probably hear this all the time. But the key to maintaining your weight - or even losing a little bit over Christmas is to eat the foods you love in moderation. Mulled wine? Pass me a cup. Spiced gingerbread? Yes please! Chocolate truffles? Oh, go on then! You can enjoy all of these things and more, but the key is to remember that you can enjoy these things in moderation. For example, a cup of mulled wine is plenty. Half a slice of gingerbread is more than a taste and two chocolate truffles is just enough to feel like you've indulged without going over the top. 

Enjoy Your Food

We all have a tendency to overeat at Christmas because that's just what you doBut it doesn't have to be. Just because people usually have lots of parties, eat lots of food, drink lots of beer, eat lots of cake and wake up on Boxing Day still too full up from the day before to eat breakfast doesn't mean that that is the way it has to be. We eat so much that we forget to enjoy what we're eating and to really taste our food. Whenever you eat something that's a treat, or that you restrict your intake of over Christmas, eat it with pleasure! Really savor the flavors in your mouth and let them tingle on your tongue. Once you've eaten a bite or two - or once you've finished the plate of food, sit back and think to yourself, "Do I really need another bite? Or am I happy and satiated with what I just ate?" Taking the time to enjoy the food that you're eating is really important when it comes to resisting that next mouthful.

Not only that, but research has also shown that if you eat with pleasure and really enjoy the foods that you're eating, you actually absorb more nutrients from your food!

Tuck into your Christmas meal with abandon and make sure you enjoy yourself - after all, it's probably the meal that you take the most care over out of the whole year.

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