Step away from the mince pie and put down that pudding! It takes THREE MONTHS to lose excess festive weight

A bite of a mince pie here, an extra helping of pudding there… It all seems so innocent at the time.

But as the calorific Christmas extravaganza continues apace, it might be worth bearing in mind that any extra helpings could still be clinging to your thighs and tummy in March.

A study has found that extra pounds we pile on over the festive period will take a depressing three months to shift.

The average Briton consumes 2,300 calories from their Christmas lunch alone - that

Excessive: The average Briton consumes 2,300 calories in their Christmas lunch alone – that”s 115% of a woman”s RDA and 92% for a man

According to research by MSN, for Christmas lunch alone the average Brit feasted on two to three servings, consuming 2,300 calories across one meal.

That accounts for 115 per cent of the recommended daily intake for women, and 92 per cent for men – and that”s before taking into account the nuts, chocolates and alcohol we consume.

According to the MSN survey, three quarters of those polled admit they over-indulge with abandon at Christmas, knowing they will suffer the consequences later as their waistbands begin to bulge.

Nutritionist Dora Walsh said the key to not putting on weight over Christmas might be to eat slowly.

Keep moving over the festive season to prevent too much weight gain

Keep moving over the festive season to prevent too much weight gain

She said: “You can still enjoy your food at Christmas without going overboard and gaining weight.

“They key is to eat slowly and enjoy what you are eating without over filling, and also stay active over the Christmas period to help burn off any excess calories.

“It”s about moderation, which will help avoid the extremes of gorging at Christmas and starving after.

“Any post-Christmas diet plan needs to be sensible and balanced because crash diets don”t work and quick fixes won”t last.”

Office worker Rachel Taylor told how she knows she will pile on the pounds thanks to festive excess – and that it will be a while before she manages to slim down again.

The 27-year-old, of Southampton, said: “I like to keep trim but I”m not obsessive and I do make an exception for Christmas.

“Overindulging usually means I put on a few pounds and, because I don”t believe in crash diets, it usually takes a month or two for me to lose it all.”

One portion of Christmas pudding comes in at 400 calories

One portion of Christmas pudding comes in at 400 calories

One portion of Christmas pudding with a dash of cream comes in at 450 calories. Those delicious little Celebrations or Heroes chocolates – so small they don”t count, right – tot up to 400 calories for just ten chocs.

Here”s how to burn off the calories the easy way:

Get a pedometer: The average person can burn 400 calories a day by walking 10,000 steps – that”s about the same as one portion of Christmas pudding with a dash of cream. If you have a sedentary lifestyle, you may be surprised by7 how few steps you manage in a day – an office worker averages under 3,000. A pedometer will show you just how many you are managing – and encourage you to move more.

Get dancing: New Year”s eve is fast approaching, and with it the perfect opportunity to burn off some of the festive spread. Just one and a half hours of energetic disco dancing burns off 450 calories. So hit the dancefloor hard this Saturday night – and remember to ask for a slimline tonic with that gin.

Hit the sales: A reasonably paced shopping trip – that means pounding the High Street, trying on clothes and carrying bags, not sipping coffee on a shopping precinct bench – burns up to 180 calories an hour. The more you buy, the heavier your bags become and the more you burn (that”s cash, as well as weight!). In two and a half hours you will have burned off your Christmas pudding.

Join in the childrens” games: Assembling toys, bending, getting up and down, picking up children – it all adds up. An hour of light child”s play burns around 120 calories an hour. So just two hours of fun will rid you of that pud.