Anna Magee , Daily Telegraph Health Editor, says:
Every day seems to deliver a new miracle cure or fad diet promising to shift the extra pounds that seem to creep on out of nowhere.
But if you are serious about losing weight, there is no need for drastic measures, since research shows that it is the small, sustainable changes to our lifestyles that can make all the difference.Mind over matter
Your brain is probably your most useful weight-loss tool, especially if comfort eating tends to lead you to make food choices you may regret later.
Emotional eating is common and research published in 2013 in the journal Appetite found stress was a key factor for women when it came to overeating the wrong foods.
Each time you want to eat, ask yourself: "Why am I eating this?" If the answer is anything other than "I am hungry" you may be eating for the wrong reasons.
Try calling a friend or taking a walk: distraction has been shown to help in diverting attention from food cravings.Track it
Writing down what you eat each day in a food diary can have an enormous impact on your weight-loss efforts.
A study in the Journal of Preventive Medicine on 1,700 people who dieted and exercised for six months found those who kept food diaries lost twice the amount of weight than those who did not. Apps such as MyFitnessPal make food and calorie tracking easy.
Wearable fitness trackers such as the FitBit Alta offer motivating feedback.Walk it off
A study at Indiana University found that taking a brisk 45-minute walk after eating a high-fat meal could lower fat absorption by 10 per cent.
Another from the London School of Economics found that people who regularly walked briskly for half an hour or more had smaller waists than those who went to the gym or did tougher sports such as jogging and rugby.Do a programme with a friend
Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine enrolled 344 women in a weight-loss regimen for two years. Those who lost the most weight were the ones who attended with a friend.Keeping hunger at bay
Ongoing studies at the Rowett Institute of Nutrition and Health in Aberdeen found that people put on diets with 30 per cent protein, 30 per cent fat (such as olive oils, avocado, nuts) and 40 per cent carbohydrates (potatoes, rice, bread, cereal, whole grains) at each meal, lost weight and kept it off for up to six months.
That protein can come from lean meat, fish, dairy, eggs, poultry, plant sources such as tofu, lentils, pulses and beans.What works to keep it off
Since 1994, the US National Weight Control Registry has monitored 5,000 people who have lost 30-300lb and kept it off for at least a year.
The most effective measures were eating breakfast, weighing themselves daily, watching fewer than 10 hours of TV a week and exercising moderately - not hard - for an hour most days.
Angela Chalmers, Boots pharmacist, says:
Losing weight and then keeping it off are two of the most popular topics I get asked about as a pharmacist. With 24 per cent of adults in England being obese and another 36 per cent overweight, its an important subject.
Your local pharmacist can recommend small changes to your lifestyle that will make losing weight feel less of a challenge.
When I give advice, I first ask why someone wants to lose weight. Once we know the motivation we can offer specific guidance and products and help set achievable goals for gradual, sustainable weight loss - for many people about l-2lb a week - and discuss how small changes to lifestyle and diet can make a big difference.
We can offer helpful tips on sports nutrition, weight-management products and wearable tech. Whether youre after meal replacement products to help you manage your calorie intake or another type of weight loss product we can point you in the right direction.
Boots also offers fitness bracelets that can monitor everything from steps taken and distance travelled to calories burnt and even sleep quality. You can also use Boots in-store weighing machines, available in selected stores, that measure your weight, height, BMI and even body-fat percentage.
Vicky Pennington, Boots nutritionist, says:
Losing weight can seem like an uphill struggle but it can be made much easier if you have the right advice.
The NHS Choices weight-loss plan recommends 1,400 calories a day for women and 1,900 a day for men trying to lose weight, which means you can allow yourself an occasional treat.
Keep treats to 100 calories or under; try a Boots Shapers bar (85 cals), a fun-size chocolate bar (80 cals) or a chocolate digestive (84 cals).
If you have a lot of weight to lose, start by aiming to lose five to 10 per cent of your current weight and keeping a food diary for a week, as most people eat more than they think. Identify what foods you can swap, maybe an apple instead of crisps at lunchtime.
When shopping choose foods that are lower in calories but still filling, such as pulses, beans, eggs, fish, chicken and turkey. Substitute white bread for wholegrain breads, brown rice and wholewheat pasta to stay fuller for longer.
Losing weight is often the easy part, but then comes keeping it off. Stick with your healthy food swaps and these will soon become a habit.
Once youve felt the positives of being a healthy weight, youll want to stick with it.
Theres nothing like having more energy for friends and family and the confidence that comes with feeling and looking good.
For more information, ask your local Boots pharmacist or visit boots.com