Despite popular belief, losing weight is not about quick, dramatic diets. In fact, yo-yo dieting has been proven to be both dangerous and ineffective.

"To keep weight off you must adopt a healthy diet that you can maintain long-term… you need to be thinking about a diet and healthy lifestyle that you can realistically continue permanently," explained Alison Wetton, founder and CEO of All About Weight.

Nutritionists advise a few simple life changes to help you lose weight and keep it off.

Plan your menu

One of the main pitfalls when it comes to putting on weight is eating on the go.

Not only is this more expensive, a lack of planning means that you'll go for quick and easy food which is often the unhealthiest.

Make a plan of your weekly meals, get the shop in, and then eating badly is simply off the cards!

Introduce exercise

Burning off more calories than you put in is the essence of dieting, making exercise absolutely vital in the weight loss process.

However, instead of indulging in huge amounts of exercise on a daily basis, which may be difficult to keep up long-term, simply add short walks to your routine or change driving somewhere local to a walk.

"By walking for five, ten or 15 minutes a day, you'll be able to lose eight pounds in a year without making any other changes," advised Ursula James, author and visiting teaching fellow at Oxford University Medical School.

Don't eat after 8pm

A really easy way to avoid putting on weight is to stop eating after 8pm.

Research suggests that the body is less capable of burning calories later in the day. This combined with the fact that we normally sit and relax in the evening, makes late night eating a bad idea.

If you get home late from work and are unable to avoid eating past that time, make sure the meal is a light one and that you have an afternoon snack to compensate.

Posted by Matilda Jones