Greetings everyone. The festive season (aka silly season) is upon us once again, and for most people it is typically a period of over indulgence.

Also, around this time of year (although not exclusively) you may also be getting bombarded by articles, blogs, tweets or Facebook messages from commentators in the health and fitness industry, with titles like “The ... (any number) foods you shouldn’t eat at Christmas” insisting you should avoid said random foods at all costs, otherwise you may keel over and die.

Given I’m a nutrition coach, you may well expect me to be that kind of person too. A killjoy who will tell you to avoid all the treats that surround you at this time of year. Far from it.

A little blow out on the odd occasion rarely does any long-term harm. Also, the type of approach highlighted above is dogmatic and is a poor tactic. I don’t believe that type of approach works for most people. Most dieters will know that the more they are denied something they like, the more they are likely to crave it.

Of course, while people want to have a good time during the festive period, many also want to avoid unwanted fat gain.

You can have your cake and eat it, but this doesn’t mean you can also just go mad for a week or two either and expect there to be no consequences, and not just to your pocket.

So, for those looking to survive the festive season, but most of all enjoy it with minimal weight gain, then here are some tips to help get you through it.

As I said you don’t have to avoid any particular foods, but try and be conscious of how much you are eating and drinking, to avoid over doing it.

If you are going to a party, especially if you’re planning to drink, then don’t go feeling hungry as this can quickly lead to things getting out of hand and before you know it, you’ve had a bit of a binge.

Try and eat as normally as possible throughout most of the period, while it’s OK to have the odd indulgence, be careful to not let it get out of hand.

In terms of alcohol, lower strength beers, white wine and spirits without sugary mixers are the best options in terms of calorific damage.

If you get given lots of presents that involve all manner of sweet things, remember you don’t need to eat them. If you don’t want to just throw them away, share them widely or alternatively you could pass them on to your nearest food bank.

Try and maintain some form of exercise throughout the period. If you can’t make it to the gym or your regular exercise activity, then try and fit in some long walks or some body weight exercises in the house to keep you going until things return to normal.

Most of all eat, drink (but not too much) and be merry.

A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you all.