02/09/2010 12:08 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 10:12 BST

How To Lose Those Last Few Pounds

Flickr: blueyedrican

Want to lose half a stone? Sometimes it seems that those annoying few pounds are the hardest to tackle. Find out the best ways to accelerate your weight loss and get yourself into those skinnies.

No sugar
Replace sweet snacks with savoury alternatives, rather than cutting them out altogether. You'll be less likely to binge on a packet of biscuits if you substitute your treats with rye bread and cottage cheese.

Bin the booze
If you're serious about losing weight, put down that glass of wine and hide the beer. Alcohol can contain huge amounts of calories - two pints of lager add up to almost 500 calories - so switch to water instead.

Soup first
Try having a cup of miso or leek soup before eating your main meal - it can help you to eat less when you get to your main course.

Up your fibre intake

If the food you eat is sitting in your digestive tract, you can end up feeling bloated and heavy, so ensure you're eating enough fibre. Try bran flakes for breakfast, lentil soup for lunch, and wholemeal pasta for dinner.

Green tea
Swap coffee for green tea, as it has a mild effect on raising the metabolism and can burn an extra 70-80 calories a day. You'll also avoid the extra calories that come in a cup of milky coffee - green tea has no calories at all!

Fruit fix
If you get bored eating fruit as a substitute for sweet things, make it more exciting. Bake a banana and serve it with plain yoghurt as an alternative dessert or try freezing grapes for a refreshing summer snack.

You may find yourself reaching for food when you're feeling stressed. Try to find other ways of relaxing instead – have a bath or sit down with a cup of peppermint tea and a good book instead.

Drink up
If you're feeling peckish, check that you're not actually thirsty instead. Try a big glass of water and wait 20 minutes before you eat - being dehydrated can cause hunger pangs.

No carbs after 7
Eat a simple supper of protein and vegetables in the evening - such as chicken and spinach or tofu stir-fry - rather than loading up on rice and bread. It's easier for your body to digest and you'll be less likely to over-eat.

Check your portion sizes
Even the best-intentioned diet will stall if your portion sizes are too generous. A serving of rice should be the equivalent of half a cup, a serving of cheese should be around the size of a matchbox and 100g of meat has the same dimensions as a deck of cards.

Eat enough
It may sound silly, but if you're eating too little you could be ruining your chances of dropping that last half a stone. Your body will go into emergency mode and slow your metabolism down, making it difficult to lose weight. Make sure you're eating three meals and two healthy snacks a day.