Post-Christmas shrunken clothes?

With so many tasty treats at Christmas time, it doesn't take a lot for us to find a little bulge has developed around our stomach areas come January.

Some of us might try to blame the washing machine, but if that argument comes up short and you're looking to lose a few pounds, don't look to a crash diet. You're extremely likely to put that weight straight back on again when you stop - and possibly a little more as well.

Although cutting back on sugar and fatty foods can make a big difference to weight loss, incorporating complex carbohydrates into your diet can also help to stave off hunger and help you to lose weight. Try replacing foods that are high in simple carbohydrates - such as cakes and biscuits - with less-refined complex carbohydrates, including brown bread, pasta, rice, grains, legumes and starchy root vegetables such as carrots and potatoes.

When you've identified your target weight, you might want to follow these ten simple steps to help you cut calories, lose excess weight safely and keep it off too.

Ten simple steps to a slimmer body

Keep your goals realistic. Aim to lose no more than one or two pounds a week

Slowly, slowly. Making simple changes like your five-a-day portions of fruit and veg is a great start. You should then look to find replacements for foods you eat which are high in fat and sugar

• Try to eat light, regular meals and snack healthily in between meals if you need to

Drink plenty of water - it's easy to mistake thirst for hunger so next time you feel tempted to snack, drink a glass of water first. It will also increase your feeling of fullness which may help you to eat less

Take ten minutes out. When there's an urge to snack, you should try to distract yourself for ten minutes, which might help you forget about the urges. Go for a quick walk, have a chat with a friend or colleague, or carry out an errand

Limit how much alcohol you drink - it's high in empty calories - there are around 150 calories in a large glass of wine or a pint of beer

• Include regular exercise in your lifestyle. As well as burning up extra calories, it will help you feel more positive about yourself and the weight you're trying to lose

Eat smaller portions - you might find that using a smaller plate will help with this

Spice up your meals. Replace high-fat mayonnaise dressings and cheese sauces with salsa, pesto and other tasty, lower-fat sauces

Give yourself a break. Most people give into temptation from time to time. Don't lose heart, this is normal - just pick yourself up and start afresh. Focus on your overall goal - not the small lapses on the way.


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