Most people love the Christmas season but hate the weight gain that often accompanies it

I certainly love this time of year, even more so this season as it's our first Christmas with our daughter Carys.

And I allow myself to enjoy the parties and dinners guilt-free by using a few easy-to-implement tips.

Here are 10 tips to help you enjoy yourself during the holidays without packing on the pounds.

1. Stick to your exercise schedule no matter what

I know it's a busy time of year but this is no reason to ditch your workouts. With all the eating and drinking you need to keep your metabolism up and exercise to burn those extra calories. Keep your workouts to a time-efficient 30 to 45 minutes three times per week. Do your strength training first and intervals afterward.

2. Set and commit to next year's fitness goals now

This may sound weird but you'll be more likely to stick to your exercise plan if you know what you're working toward. Waiting until January 1 to set your resolutions makes it psychologically easier to miss your workouts now and let yourself eat and drink all you want. It's like letting yourself go wild with a credit card and then having a massive credit card bill in January. Having your goals outlined for next year is setting your Christmas fitness budget.

3. Pick a couple of key dinners or parties where you let yourself go

While I advocate showing some restraint at most holiday functions, you also have to let loose sometimes. Choose a party or two you're most looking forward to and throw all the other tips out the window. Have fun: eat, drink, be merry, and don't feel guilty about it. The next day get back on track (if you had a really good time maybe it'll be a couple of days).

4. Eat a healthy snack at home before going out to a party

Fuel your body with some good nutrition at home and you'll be less likely to overconsume on junk while you're out. Eat a small portion of my big fat salad (recipe is at the bottom of the page). The veggies provide nutrients while the healthy fats help fill you up.

5. Drink a glass of water for every alcoholic beverage you consume

Alternate between water and alcohol with each round. It'll keep you from making an ass out of yourself at the office Christmas party and cut back on the calories. Plus you'll avoid or minimize any hangover.

6. Use a blue-coloured plate if possible

This has been shown to cut down on how much you eat. Avoid red and yellow plates as those colours may increase appetite.

7. Wait 20 minutes before getting seconds

It takes that long for your brain to register that you're full. Unless you're competing in a food-eating contest, take your time and enjoy a leisurely meal.

The next three tips come from nutrition expert Dr. Chris Mohr.

8. Don't let the foods on your plate touch

You'll serve up less food meaning less calories. Simple but effective.

9. Eat with your non-dominant hand

Ever try doing anything with your "other" hand? Takes a lot longer doesn't it? Ties in nicely with tip #7. You'll eat slower and your brain will be better able to let you know when you're full.

10. Wear your skinny clothes

Choose that figure hugging dress or your skinny jeans and you'll find out how hard it is to overeat. Fitted clothing makes you more conscious of how much you're putting past your lips. You'll look great and avoid overeating! 

Happy Holidays!