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Diet and exercise tips

Women in a supermarket

If you want to lose weight and make a long term change to your health, take a look at these diet and exercise tips.

Be food wise

No more signing up to the latest diet craze or food fad. If you want to separate food fact from food fiction then head to Government approved portals like NHS LiveWell, the British Nutrition Foundation, and the British Dietetic Association.

Don't eat the ads!

Get up and leave the room during the TV ad breaks  not only will you be staying active and burning calories but you'll be avoiding the food and drink adverts that could cause you to overeat later.

Be a smart shopper

Plan exactly what you're going eat for a week and create a shopping list. Be strict about sticking to it  if it's not on the list then it's not getting in! That way you won't give into those tempting BOGOF offers.

Size does matter

Don't be tempted to buy better value larger packs as you'll only end up eating more. If you do, then keep portion sizes the same so if you open a surpersize bag of crisps take one portion out and save the rest.

Track what you eat

By keeping track of what you eat and how much you exercise you're more likely to lose weight. Try smart phone apps like MyFitnessPal (free from itunes) to record your food intake and energy expenditure to stay on top of your diet. Or simply write it down!

Eat calories  don't drink them

We can get thirst confused with hunger. So if you don't feel satisfied after a meal or snack try having a low calorie drink or even a cup of tea or coffee, without sugar of course, to see if you were in fact thirsty. Don't forget sugary drinks are a source of empty calories, choose sugar free varieties and save your calories for food.

Get yourself a gym buddy

Going to the gym or a class with a friend is a great way of increasing commitment as you're more likely to show up if you know a friend is waiting for you. So rope in a friend, colleague or neighbour and agree to a regular class or gym session.

Unchain yourself from the desk

Get active in the office  instead of sending endless emails get up and walk to a colleague's desk and have a chat. And volunteer for the office coffee run, you'll get outside and burn calories on the way.

Don't use being busy as an excuse

Why not combine exercise with work, childcare, and daily chores? Run, cycle or walk part or all of the way to work, take the kids to nursery on the bike, do a power shopping session on foot or simply get off the bus a stop earlier and walk part of your journey. Being more active in day to day life is the first step to being more physically fitter.

Create a wish list of rewards

Rather than reaching for the chocolate or wine as a treat, write a non food related list of luxury rewards. It could be anything from an aromatherapy bath to treating yourself to the cinema, theatre or annual subscription to your favourite magazine.

Find an online weight-loss community

Instead of boring friends and family with your weight loss perils, look for diet support forums and weight-loss communities online. You'll find others in exactly the same boat as you happy to offer the support and encouragement you need to stay on track and you can share in each others successes.

Always consult your GP before beginning any diet.