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How to control Xmas party damage

THE revelry of the Christmas season always carries the same sting in its tail: hangovers, weight gain and liver strain. On average, people gain five pounds over the four-week period, the result of consuming 500 extra calories a day (a few handful of crisps, a mini sausage roll, a couple of glasses of wine and you&rsquo;re there).<br /><br />Striving for damage limitation is not only prudent health-wise, it&rsquo;s a good move professionally, at a time when jobs are not as secure as they once were. Do you really need those splitting headaches when you might have to work &ndash; even on the weekend? Do you really need that trail of gossip in the office on Monday, or the extra lovehandles that make your suit look cheaper than it is? Thought not.<br /><br />Here is how to control weight gain and liver damage &ndash; as well as the gossip mill &ndash; this season. <br /><br />Make this the year you swan into January feeling fit and fine. <br /><br /><strong>Tips from Dr Laura Wyness, Senior Nutrition Scientist at The British Nutrition Foundation</strong><br /><br /><strong>1 Strategise</strong><br />Remind yourself of the temptations you&rsquo;ll face and decide in advance to steer clear of the mince pies, for example, while filling up on the sushi or the healthiest savoury snacks going (veggie sticks and dip, anyone?). <br /><br /><strong>2 Face the facts</strong><br />&ldquo;High fat nibbles and party food can be disastrous &ndash; you can easily consume the equivalent of a whole meal by nibbling canapes,&rdquo; says Wyness. Chances are, you&rsquo;re eating more calories than you know &ndash; for example, a small glass of red wine contains 85 of the little pests. Ask yourself if you&rsquo;re really hungry or if you&rsquo;re just eating because its there. Try to stay with your natural appetite and don&rsquo;t automatically say yes to a second helping of pudding or another mince pie &ndash; the fact is, your body doesn&rsquo;t want it. <br /><br /><strong>3 Get out and about</strong><br />Be generous with invigorating strolls &ndash; the air is fresh and chilly, and works wonders between courses or halfway though a party to clear the mind and burn a few calories. &ldquo;The holidays are a great chance for taking long walks and having fun outside the house,&rdquo; says Wyness. &ldquo;Only half an hour of walking can burn off 200 calories.&rdquo; Then there&rsquo;s that attractive red flush from the cold air. <br /><br /><strong>4 Curb your booze intake</strong><br />Nobody expects you to abstain, but you can still feel like you&rsquo;re having a whale of a time by following a few steps.<br /><br />&bull; Never drink on an empty stomach, the presence of food in the stomach will help delay the absorption of alcohol into the blood and stop you getting drunk very quickly.<br /><br />&bull; Alternate alcoholic drinks with soft drinks or glasses of water to limit alcohol intake.<br /><br />&bull; Don&rsquo;t top up your glass before you have finished a drink so you can keep an eye on exactly how much you are drinking.<br />