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How to beat the diet blues

You're in food purgatory, paying for your diet sins over the past few weeks. And, frankly, you've had enough of all this self-inflicted suffering, and are thinking of throwing in the towel. Well don't, as now is the time to lose the pounds put on from the turkey and pudding.

Research shows that if we don't lose the extra pounds we gain at this time of the year pretty swiftly, then we are likely to carry the extra flab into the summer. So instead of ditching the diet, perhaps what you need to do is ask yourself if the diet you are on is the best one for you?

And instead of despairing over ever losing two pounds a week, maybe you need to ask if one pound every seven days is a more realistic weight-loss goal for you.

1 Choose a diet suited to you

You need to choose a diet that fits into your lifestyle and is easy for you to follow. Ask yourself how much time you have for weighing food stuffs or counting calories, carbohydrates, fats or fibre. You'll feel a better sense of control and less deprived if you are following a diet suited to your needs.

So if you're struggling to keep up with your current diet, maybe it's time to ditch it and find a more appropriate one.

If you really don't know which diet suits you best, you can always give a few diets a two-week test drive then choose which one you want to follow.

2 Set realistic goals

As with everything in life, we are more likely to throw in the towel when challenged if we set ourselves unrealistic goals. If we don't see results immediately, we tend to view ourselves as a failure, and lose heart.

Yet instead we need to be realistic about setting diet goals. Don't put unrealistic pressure on yourself to make huge changes over night.

Think about changing from fattening food to healthy food, and ways you can do it on a day-to-day basis.

And if you eat a bag of crisps every lunch time, it might be time to give them up forever.

But keep your goals reasonable, and you can have the satisfaction of meeting them eventually.

3 Choose a tracking device

How many of us remember exactly what we eat every day of the week? It's so easy to put tasty food into our mouths, and so often we eat mindlessly and only realise when we look down to pick up some food that we have eaten it all already.

But it helps to keep track of the calories we eat each day when dieting. In order to keep track of foods eaten, write them all down in a food diary. Keeping track of a diet will help keep you motivated, and gives a realistic idea of how much unhealthy food you are eating.

4 Get a diet buddy

It's hard work dieting when everyone around you is eating to their heart's delight. Dieting can be tough when you do it alone, so get some company.

Find someone to go on a diet with you, who you know you can trust to give it their best shot. Another option is to join a weightloss association, also known as a 'fat club'. Here, you are surrounded by like-minded people who will cheer you on when you lose a few pounds, and who will support you at the times you are struggling to get the fat off.

5 Keep notes on why you want to dieT

And stick them around your bedroom or kitchen when you feel you are losing morale, because it's good to remember the reasons you are on a diet in the first place. So you can fit back into last year's clothes, for example. So you won't have to get rid of additional weight when it's time to go on holiday.

Also, gather up some of your favourite diet quotes and print them out on little pieces of paper to keep in your purse for when you are walking around a supermarket and faced with your worst temptations.

6 Choose new comfort foods

Our moods have a major impact on how our diets are going. When having a bad day, it's not unusual to reach for the first sugary thing which comes to hand.

It's easy to go home and to dial a pizza as opposed to having a healthy dinner with vegetables.

It's all too easy to slump in front of the telly making your way through a box of chocolates.

So it could be time to change what you consider as comfort food, and to encourage your taste buds to look forward to healthy foods than, say, chocolate.

A medium-sized banana has 86 calories, an average cup portion of kiwi fruit has 108 calories, while an average cup portion of plums has 66 calories.

7 Be kind to yourself

We all weaken now and then. We all lose willpower and give in to the lure of a large potion of hot apple cake and cream, or a takeaway for dinner. But if you fall off the diet wagon, whatever you do, do not beat yourself up. Remind yourself that you are human, and humour your guilty feelings by telling yourself that you will do better at the next meal, and that a healthy diet is a lifelong job as opposed to just one bad meal. Feeling bad will only lead you to wanting comfort food.

8 Get fit

Exercise doesn't only help you lose weight, it also makes you feel good about yourself. And the better you feel, the more you will be motivated to stay on a diet. You don't have to pay expensive gym subscriptions, as a simple walk each evening is enough to boost your fitness, and your self-image.