01 Chocalate flavour Christmas cake feature for 'Angela Day' Picture: Antoine de Ras .28/10/2010

Durban - If you are weight watching this Christmas, when everyone else is sure to be indulging, it might help to have a game plan. So if you want to keep your figure, be a bit of a food snob rather than feed your face.


Activity compensates for extra calories – Give yourself the gift of 30 minutes exercise a day. As well as burning calories, exercise helps to relieve tension – so you are less likely to eat to control holiday stress.

H20, H20, H20 – A little water goes a long way – small sips throughout the day are a smart way to keep well hydrated. It acts as a shock absorber and joint lubricant, helps to transport nutrients and eliminate waste, and works in regulating body temperature. Water has no fat, no calories and no cholesterol.

Be a food snob – Don’t waste precious calories on everyday chips or biscuits. Be selective and choose only the foods you really love, or that you associate with the season.

Bundle flavours – Variety might be the spice of life, but it is a recipe for overeating. Bundle similar flavours. For instance, put only salty (or meaty) foods on your plate at once. You will grow tired of that specific flavour more quickly and end up feeling satisfied on fewer calories.

Pare down those portions – Try to keep your portions small and make only one visit to the table. Choose the smallest plate. Pile greens on your plate first, leaving just a little room for those high-calorie treats like sweets and cheeses. Eat small, lower-calorie meals during the day so you can enjoy a special treat later but make sure you do not starve yourself for the party and overeat later.

Step away from the table – If you don’t put your choices on a plate, you have no idea how much you are really eating. The worst thing you can do at a party is stand around the table dipping into the bowl.

Drink slimmer – Alcohol is a double whammy during the holidays. It tends to weaken your resistance when it comes to eating, and the calories in drinks add up quickly. Sip on a glass of water between cocktails.

“I paid for it, so I’m going to eat it” – Don’t feel as if you need to clean your plate just because you paid for it. Portion sizes in restaurants can be two to three times the amount you need. Instead of the usual starch and vegetable sides, skip the starch and double the veggies instead. Stop eating as soon as you begin to feel full.

Zen – Holidays can be stressful. Keep expectations for the holiday season manageable. Organise your time and make a list and prioritise the important activities. Be realistic about what you can and cannot do. And don’t forget to schedule some down time to relax.

Slip, don’t slide – If you eat three helpings of roast potatoes or dessert, all is not lost. Learn from your slip-up. Next time, eat a salad first, start a conversation, and park yourself far from the danger zone. - The Mercury


* Gratton is the vice-president of medical affairs at global nutrition and direct-selling company Herbalife.