Most of us want to lose a few pounds in January, following the excess of Christmas, but it’s often easier said than done.
While fad diets may work in the short term, you often regain the weight you’ve lost and then some.
With so many remedies, work out regimes and diets being thrown at us, it’s hard to know what to do to drop the pounds and live a healthier lifestyle in the long term.
But who better to ask than those who’ve done it? We spoke to some of Merseyside’s most impressive slimmers to find out their top weight loss tips.
1. Keep a Food Diary
Jennifer Ginley lost an incredible 9st 9lbs in just over a year and slimmed down from a size 24/26 to a size 8/10.
She credits her weight loss in part to keeping a food diary.
Keeping a diary enables you to see what exactly you’re eating and lets you see any shortchanged food groups that could be potentially depriving you of important nutrients.
It also helps make you accountable – would you really eat that chocolate biscuit if you had to write it down?
2. Eat Breakfast
Lots of people who are overweight fail to eat breakfast, but as we’re all taught this is the most important meal of the day.
Breakfast kickstarts your metabolism and if you miss it, you often overeat later to compensate.
Lots of our slimmers missed breakfast, but now all make sure they have a healthy meal to start the day, such as fruit and yoghurt or poached eggs.
3. Plan ahead
As the old adage goes, fail to prepare, prepare to fail.
When you’re trying to lose weight convenience options such as store bought sandwiches are not your friend.
Often these grab and go foods contain hundreds of hidden calories and sugars – leading to an energy slump later in the day.
Jennifer says that planning ahead was key to her weight loss.
As when you’ve got a home made lunch and healthy snacks on hand you’re much less likely to be tempted by naughty treats.
It seems like we spend most of our lives on social media these days – so it makes sense that more and more people are using it for weight loss.
Jennifer’s instagram account has over 75,000 followers and the support she received from her fans on the social media network really spurred her on.
Through the use of hashtags you can find lots of weight loss tips and recipies, as well as connecting with a community of people in your situation.
It also helps keep you accountable as people are keen to see your latest updates.
5. Get support from family or friends
Lots of our slimmers started their weight loss journey with a friend or family member.
Losing weight with someone close to you can give you the confidence boost you need, as you support each other through the highs and lows of your weight loss.
Often food can be a very social thing, so having someone to enjoy healthy options with is a big deal.
Many of our slimmers also joined weight loss groups such as Slimming World or Weight Watchers.
Joanne Hallmark, 45, went from 20st 4.5lbs to 10st 7.5lbs after she started attending her local West Derby Slimming World group.
Joanne credits the support of her group leader as being the main reason she lost weight.
6. Ditch the booze
Sadly alcohol has lots of hidden sugar, fat and calories, meaning it’s easy to put weight on, if you enjoy a drink.
Joanne used to drink lager “like it was lemonade” leading to her large size.
Wine, beer and cider are the main offenders when it comes to piling on the pounds, but even clearer spirits such as gin and vodka contain excess calories.
Alcohol also lowers our inhibitions, making that late night kebab a more likely prospect.
Add in the hangover the next day and experts estimate you can consume over 2,000 calories as a result of a night on the sauce.
7. Get active
It seems obvious but upping your exercise intake will inevitably help you drop the pounds.
Brooke Ferns lost eight stone after she went to a training session at her local park. She said: “I couldn’t walk afterwards but I decided to stick with it. I started to train even more and I lost a lot of weight quite quickly.”
Obviously going to the gym five times a week will reap rewards, but even upping your activity levels by a small amount can have massive health benefits.
Start slowly with brisk walking, or taking an extra flight of stairs and you’ll be surprised with how much your fitness and waistline changes.
8. Reduce portion sizes
Often people gain weight because they are simply eating far too much food.
Tori White, who went from 16st to 8.5-9st and is now a size 8, said something “clicked in her head” and she began reducing portion sizes.
Top tips for helping to reduce your portion sizes include using smaller plates when dishing up food, eating slowly, filling a third of your plate with veg or salad and making sure you freeze leftovers immediately – so your’re not tempted to go back for more.
9. Don’t snack
Tori also stopped snacking completely and concentrated on eating three healthy and filling meals a day.
Often we snack because we’re bored, not because we’re hungry – leading to unneccesary weight gain.
Also people tend to eat unhealthy snacks, and then eat a normal sized breakfasts lunches and dinners, which results in overconsumption and weight gain.
But obviously if you’re genuinely hungry between meals you should eat – just maybe go for a carrot stick rather than a chocolate bar!