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I need to lose half a stone in 14 days

qI am off on a girlie holiday in two weeks' time and I am dreading getting into a bikini - do you have any tips on how to drop half-a-stone in that space of time?

I know it's better to do it through eating healthily and working out, and that is what I have been doing for the past month - I even go to a personal trainer to make sure I am not slacking off in the gym.

I find it hard to avoid eating sweet treats and I have no great love for salads, vegetables or porridge which is what everyone advises you eat to stay full for longer. I just want to enjoy my break because I've worked 
hard in every sense to earn it - financially and in the gym.

aI certainly don't advocate crash diets because they're so bad for your body and it's inevitable that you will put on the weight you lost plus more.

They also slow down your metabolism and reduce levels of lean muscle mass, which are crucial for burning fat. You have been doing the right thing by working hard in the gym, but weight loss is almost completely about diet.

Realistically, you won't lose a huge amount of fat in a fortnight, but you will be able to flatten your stomach and get rid of any excess water weight around your muscles.

My advice is to stay away from caffeine, alcohol, sugar, salt and fried and processed foods. Whether you like them or not, vegetables, salads, fruit and lean proteins are the best way to reduce weight while getting enough nutrients.

Check out healthy cookbooks and nutrition blogs for tasty but low-calorie salad dressings and other nutritious meal ideas. Don't eat less, eat wholesome, natural foods.

qI am kind of stuck in a rut in my workplace. The money is good but I see no future in the whole thing as I have no job satisfaction - on the other hand, it's steady work and I have a big mortgage.

I've never really thought clearly about what I would like to do in an ideal world - a career that would make my spirit soar.

I know this sounds ridiculous, but when I read about people who clearly love their work it speaks to me.

There must be a way of getting job satisfaction and keeping the wolf from the door, but I just don't know what that ideal job is or how to go about getting it. Can you point me to the starting line at least?

aYou're certainly not in an unusual position in your life and career. It must be very difficult to think about leaving a solid and comfortable job that pays for your mortgage for the unknown.

But on the flip side we only have one life and it's so important to be happy to reach your full potential in all areas of your life. I feel that your drive to find a job that makes your soul happy will only become stronger and stronger.

My advice is to choose which area you are most passionate about and begin to look at ways of creating a career out of it.

Do as much research as you can, speak to 
professionals in your chosen area, look at all aspects of a potential business plan and begin to work on it in your spare time until you feel confident enough to be able to leave your current job and go out on your own. Preparation is key.

qMy boyfriend is hard to read. Sometimes I think he's very keen on me, but there are other times when it feels like the shutters just come down.

We're only together eight months and there's no rush for clarity as I have a full life and 
believe you can't depend on other people for your own happiness, but I have to be honest and say that the whole second-guessing nature of our relationship is becoming tiresome.

When we're apart and I'm wondering when I'll next see him, I promise myself that 
I'll bring the subject up and 
have what men dread - a 

But then when we meet up 
I chicken out and just drift 
along going with the flow. Is it time for me to ask the hard questions? I know I might not like the answers.

aYou certainly have the right attitude in believing that it's important to be independent and autonomous, wanting to spend time with your boyfriend without being over-reliant on him.

But it sounds like he's playing games with your head and I 
can understand why you're starting to feel a 
little insecure about the 

However, it could also be that he knows he's beginning to really fall for you and is frightened of his feelings towards you.

But rather than guessing, I would definitely urge you to speak to him about it. Many couples speak about where their 
relationship is going, so it's completely normal to want to both be in the same frame of mind about your future together. It's time to be honest and up-front with him.