Have you kept your new year’s resolution to lose weight and eat healthily?

Are you ready to don that bikini after May 24?

Can you fit into your summer clothes?

Many people use the holiday period to overindulge and expand their waistlines. It does not need to be this way; however, unfortunately it often is.

As New Year arrives, pledges are made to take control, lose weight, drink less, move more and become more healthy. Simple, right? Wrong.

Making lasting changes is rarely easy as it can take a lot of time, effort, commitment, focus, determination and even emotion.

“If you have made mistakes, there is always another chance for you. You may have a fresh start any moment you choose, for this thing we call ‘failure’ is not the falling down, but the staying down,” said Mary Pickford.

If you have fallen off track or become discouraged with slow progress, then this is the time to rethink and reevaluate your plans.

The key to remaining motivated is to focus on your goals.

Take another look and review your goals. Are they sensible and achievable and challenging?

For example, if you aim to lose 10lbs each week, you will feel like a failure as it is unrealistic to sustain this.

If you aim to lose 1lb a month, you may lose interest.

A rational aim would be to lose ½ -2lbs a week and to ensure your diet is healthy and balanced.

Now spend some time planning how you are going to achieve this goal. The key to success is in the planning. Think about a few things:

-What do you like to eat?

-Where do you eat?

-Do you take your lunch to work or school or do you buy foods from supermarkets and restaurants?

-What do you drink?

-What are your go-to snacks?

-And most importantly, what changes are you prepared to make?

How should we eat?

Most people need to eat three meals each day plus one to two low calorie snacks (if needed).

A healthy balanced meal can fit on an eight-inch plate and consists of three main food groups: protein, starches and fruits, vegetables or salads.

Aim to have one protein, one starch and two vegetables, salad or fruits at each meal.

Try to keep the overall fat content low by choosing lean, unprocessed meats/poultry, fish, beans, eggs, tofu or nuts.

Avoid adding extra animal fats such as butter, cheese and cream.

Use healthy fats such as avocado, olive oil and nuts but remember these are still high in calories.

Choose wholegrain starches where possible such as brown rice, wholewheat breads, pastas, pitas, pizza bases, wraps and leave the skins on potatoes.

Remember that sweet potatoes, squash and corn are starches too.

Make sure you choose only one starch per meal.

Fruits, vegetables and salads are a vital component of our diets.

Choose a variety of colours for the best mixture of vitamins.

Fresh or frozen are the best choices in Bermuda.

Shop locally whenever possible for the freshest produce.

Good snack choices include fresh fruits, ‘light’ yoghurts, a small handful of nuts or dried fruits, certain cereal bars (check labels), fruit cups in juice, an 8oz glass of skimmed milk or plain popcorn.

Ensure your foods are bursting with flavour without using fats, salts or sugars.

Try adding herbs and spices to your foods such as cayenne pepper, garlic, onions, rosemary, thyme, lemon or lime juices, basil, ginger or paprika.

There is no excuse for your meals to be bland and boring!

When should we eat?

Eat only when you are hungry.

Always sit down to eat meals; eat at a table if possible and always turn the television off!

Do not eat simply because you are bored; find something else to do.

Monitor your progress. Keep a food diary for a week or two.

Write down what you eat and drink including when, where and why.

Were you peckish, really hungry, bored, upset, angry?

You can keep the food diary for as long as you find it helpful. You can always track for a few days here and there to help you stay focused and reflect upon your eating habits.

If things haven’t gone to plan, don’t beat yourself up about it. Stop, reevaluate, refocus and get going again. Remember, doing more of what doesn’t work won’t make it any better.