When it comes to losing weight, the internet is awash with advice, tips, articles and opinions on what works and what does not work, as well as myths, facts and quick fixes to shed pounds. Read our hints and tips on healthy and sustainable ways to lose weight.

Whilst it is tempting to try a crash diet or follow the latest weight loss trend, it is unlikely that you will see the long-term results you desire the most.

Crash or fad diets do not work, and in some cases they are dangerous to your health. Crash or fad diets are basically a short-term and restrictive means of weight loss, which will involve you severely reducing your calorie intake to between 500 and 1000 calories per day. In some cases, you will include juice cleanses, protein shakes or meal replacement drinks, as well as diuretics. 

Your body will be shocked into starvation mode due to the severe lack of food. Your crash or fad diet may appear to work in the first few days. However, your body will soon start to burn fat for fuel, as well as your stores of carbohydrates. Your body will be deprived of essential vitamins, minerals and nutrients as you are not eating a sensible and well-balanced diet. And your body’s metabolism will slow quite dramatically so as to conserve energy until normal food and nutrition supplies are restored. This means that all of a sudden any weight loss will stop, your weight will plateau, and as soon as you start eating normally again then the weight will pile back on – plus a bit extra for good measure.

Losing weight successfully is not an enigma. However, you need to approach your weight loss journey with patience, knowledge and determination. So following the festive excesses, we are certain you will be keen to get back into shape. Here are some sensible tips on healthy and sustainable ways to lose weight:

1. Make healthy eating a way of life. Start your day with breakfast to kick start your metabolism. However, be sugar aware! Choose porridge over ‘healthy’ cereals which are normally high in sugar and salt. Add a chopped banana and a little natural yogurt for one of the healthiest and most nutritious breakfasts possible. Alternatively, a 2-egg omelette with some smoked salmon is very healthy. Or keep it simple with some granary toast and low fat spread.

2. Lunches and dinners should always include the main food groups – protein, carbohydrates and at least 2 of your 5-a-day of vegetables and fruits. Good protein choices include turkey, chicken, fish and seafood, tofu, nuts, eggs and quinoa. Good carbohydrate choices include brown rice, wholemeal pasta, jacket potatoes, pulses and legumes, and other natural grains. And make certain you include healthy morning and afternoon snacks, too, so that your metabolism works at its optimum.

3. Keep a watchful eye on your calorie intake. Women should have no more than 2000 calories per day and for men it is 2500 calories per day. You do not need to religiously count every calorie, but be mindful of what you are eating and remember to include drinks as well as food. Furthermore, portion control is essential to losing weight. Be sensible with how much you serve up and eat consciously, rather than in front of the TV. Research has found that you eat less when you concentrate on eating, as opposed to being distracted.

4. Make sensible snack swaps. Get rid of the crisps and choose unsalted nuts instead. Go for fruit rather than chocolate, or choose dark chocolate and enjoy in moderation. Remember to watch hidden calories. Health food snack bars are often full of sugar and fats. Your favourite latte or cappuccino contains an eye watering calorie content – and it is even worse if you add a shot of syrup. And alcohol contains zero nutrition but plenty of sugars and calories.

5. You don’t have to give up your favourite takeaway or stop eating out with friends and family. However, have a takeaway once a month as a treat instead of it being a regular meal option. And choose healthier dishes if you are visiting a restaurant. Many restaurants now list calorie content on the menu or indicate healthier dishes.