Our body shape and size are influenced by a range of factors not just what and how much we eat. There are other factors such as the dominance of certain endocrine glands which can influence body shape and cravings, emotional issues influencing how much we eat, our habits, our lifestyles and even how we feel about ourselves.

The more we understand about ourselves the easier it is to achieve our desired weight and maintain that. Of course professional help is often of great benefit but here are some tips to help you make a start.

1) Be honest with yourself (even if you don't tell anyone else). Many of us kid ourselves about how much we are eating and what kinds of foods we mostly eat. Keep a food diary, write down anything and everything that you eat or drink. This is a great starting point because knowing your current eating habits makes it easier to figure out what changes to make. Also, research from the States suggested that people ate less when asked to recall their last meal.

2) Find out what is healthy and what isn't so you can make informed choices about what you eat. One of my clients recently commented that it's hard to know what's junk and what isn't because the press/media seem to suggest everything is bad for you. I offer clients a food list, using a traffic light system to indicate which foods are great to eat, which should be eaten in moderation and which should be avoided or eaten only rarely. Of course there are also lots of books available on the subject. Also, only eat things that your Granny (or someone's Granny) would have eaten. In other words, if it wasn't being eaten somewhere on the planet a couple of generations back then it probably isn't good food! Get in the habit of reading the ingredient labels and if you can't pronounce most of the ingredients you can bet Granny wouldn't have eaten that either!

3) Hungry or thirsty? Many people do not drink enough. In addition, the body's thirst signals can often be mistaken for hunger signals. So rather than reaching for a snack try drinking a glass of water and waiting 15 minutes or so. If you are still hungry go ahead and eat something healthy.

4) Eating can make you slim. Starving yourself, fad diets and missing meals do not work. Evidence suggests that this actually makes you fatter than if you'd never dieted at all. Without regular meals your body thinks you are starving and slows metabolic rate and stores whatever it can for the future in order to survive the famine. The result is that you put on more weight and cause stress on your body which can lead to illness. The key is to eat small amounts of healthy foods at regular intervals.

5) The 80 / 20 rule. If you eat healthily 80% of the time your body can handle a little of the less healthy stuff. But remember tip no. 1 .... be honest with yourself or you'll soon be over the 20% mark.

6) The truth about low fat. We are always being told fat is bad but this simply is not true. Some types of fat are bad but others are not only good they are essential for our bodies to function properly and can even help weight loss. In addition, many 'low fat' foods actually contain more sugar and more calories than the regular alternative! In a nutshell, avoid processed fats such as margarine and butter-like substitutes, hydrogenated fats (found in cakes and pastries) and fat or oil that is rancid. Cut the fat off your meat and don't cook with lard. DO eat good quality oils such as hemp oil, virgin olive oil, raw nuts and seeds, avocados & oily fish. If you want to spread something on your bread use real butter but very sparingly (a scraping) or better still try making your own spreadable by beating butter with a little olive oil or hemp oil. You could dip your bread in a little olive oil and there are also nut and seed butters available, such as pumpkin seed butter or try using humus or mashed avocado - these are great with chicken for example.

7) Exercise. Taking regular exercise not only helps our hearts, joints, muscles and lungs to stay healthy but also is believed to speed up metabolism. This means that someone who exercises burns more calories, even when they are asleep, than someone who doesn't. Try brisk walking, don't overdo it. It is better to be able to do a little each day than injure yourself and have to rest for a fortnight!

8) It's as wasted on your thighs as it is in the bin. Keep an eye on portion size. Do you really need that much? Some people find using a smaller plate helps. And stop eating before you are completely full.

9) Motivation for eating. People overeat for a number of reasons, examples include... to reward themselves, to compensate for a bad day, because they are unhappy with themselves, because they feel denied if they can't have whatever it is, because they feel they should have their fair share, because they don't deserve to be thin/attractive etc, because they believe it isn't possible to lose weight. There are as many reasons as there are people. Unfortunately if you don't deal with your particular reasons the weight tends to go back on. You may find that understanding your own motivation is enough to make a difference and jump start your weight loss. If not, there are techniques that can be used to overcome these challenges, with the result that appetite reduces and cravings diminish ...and once learned you can use them yourself any time you need to. (For more information contact me via www.optimumbeing.co.uk)

10) Have a goal. Make it clear and measurable and something you can achieve if you push yourself. Be realistic and aim for healthy i.e. don't have a goal to weigh 9 stone if you are 5'10" or to be a size 8 if you are naturally bigger boned! If your goal is to be able to wear a certain outfit, take your camera to the shop, take a picture of the outfit and stick it on the fridge. If you want to weigh X , imagine yourself weighing that and how great it will be. A big goal might need to be broken down into more manageable mini goals. Goals should be inspiring not overwhelming.

If you who would like one-to-one help with weight management or healthy eating, please get in touch. I can be contacted on 01285 867176 or via www.optimumbeing.co.uk.

Author's Bio: 

Sue Trotter BSc DSH MARH MAC is a Registered Homeopath and Life Coach, focusing on improving health through natural methods and empowering people to achieve their life goals. Sue can be contacted via optimumbeing.co.uk.