Fad diets, celebrity diets and crash diets often have one thing in common - when the hard work's over, the weight goes straight back on.
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But if you've managed to shed those extra pounds, staying that way doesn't have to be hard work. It's just a matter of sticking to a few simple, healthy food rules. So if you are determined to keep the weight off once it's gone, here are our top tips for staying slim.
Maintain the balance
A healthy balanced diet (combined with regular exercise) is widely-regarded as the best way to lose weight. And it's also the best way to maintain a healthy weight.
That means keeping a keen eye on what you're putting on your plate. The Foods Standards Agency provides a helpful tool to ensure you are getting the right balance of nutrients in your daily diet. The 'eatwell plate' breaks your diet down into a pie chart, where fruit and veg, and healthy carbs (including plenty of wholegrain) are the majority influence, while proteins such as meat, fish, eggs and pulses, dairy produce and fatty or sugary foods make up the rest.
At the end of a hard-fought battle with your weight, extra spuds and sneaky treats can quickly creep in, and even with a well-balanced diet, portion control is essential if you are to stay trim.
To ensure you are not overdoing it, a good rule of thumb is to create meals where veggies occupy half the plate, while carbs and proteins fill the remainder. And if you have a tendency to overeat invest in some smaller plates - psychologically a full, small plate will look a good deal more tempting than a sparsely occupied big plate.
Keep it regular
It might offer fast results initially, but meal skipping is no way to stay healthy or slim. In fact, a breakfast missed is far more likely to have you reaching for an unhealthy snack boost come mid morning.
Whether you prefer to eat little and often or opt for the traditional three-meals-a-day routine, keep it regular. Those who eat regularly keep their energy levels up, the tummies full and are far less likely to turn to the crisps or chocolate for help.
We're supposed to eat when we're hungry - the problem is, too many of us eat when we're not. Snacks and fast food are now so readily available that we're often tempted to reach for sustenance at the slightest hunger pang.
In order to stay slim for life, it is essential to listen to and understand what your body is trying to tell you. After all, just thinking about food doesn't mean it's time to tuck in. Learn to recognise when your belly is ready for a meal and try not to delay when you get the signal - leave it too long and you're likely to overdo things.
The same goes for the act of eating itself. Take your time and allow your body to digest. Even if you still feel hungry immediately after a healthy meal, take a break from the table. In 20 minutes time you will more than likely find that your body is, in fact, entirely satisfied.
Sorry guys and girls... there's just no getting away from it. You needed regular exercise to lose the weight and you'll need regular exercise to keep it off. That doesn't necessarily mean you should be heading for the gym after work every day. As long as you are eating a healthy, balanced diet, just 30 minutes a day is all that's required - and that can include anything from a walk in the countryside to a spot of gardening or housework.
Remember - if you've lost weight, you've already done the hard part. Stick to these simple rules and you should be able to ditch those diets for good.
Have you lost weight and kept it off? Let us know how you did it below...