22/09/2015 06:38 BST | Updated 22/09/2015 06:59 BST

How To Think Yourself Slim: Four Tips From NHS Weight Loss Consultant

We know that cutting back on poor quality, processed foods and packing our diets full of nutritionally rich fruit and veg may help us lose weight.

But sticking to a healthy eating regime can be easier said than done.

There are certain situations or times when we may not even think about food. Then, there are others where we'll dive into a packet of chocolate biscuits without a moment’s hesitation.

Dr Sally Norton, NHS weight loss consultant and surgeon and founder of Vavista and Vavista Awards, believes if we can identify our "danger areas", we may be able to avoid the inevitable response.

black woman happy outside

Below, Dr Norton talks us through the four simple things we need to think about for a successful weight loss journey. The key, she says, is being mindful of the four Ws:

Who:

There is often a certain person around whom you eat much less healthily. It could be that they have a habit of suggesting you get another bottle of wine, or order a dessert. Or perhaps they’re the person in the office who always brings in irresistible cakes and biscuits that you struggle to say no to.

Try to get them on board with your healthier eating too – otherwise, be forewarned and avoid.

Where:

Is there a certain place where your healthy eating habits are most tested?

A coffee shop on the way to work? Re-route. Going out to restaurants? Check the menu online in advance and plan your choices so you are less swayed by temptation when you’re there. The staff canteen where the stodgy option is the cheapest? Take a healthy but delicious lunch to work with you.

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Why:

Far too many of us simply don’t pay any attention to the reasons why we eat – are we actually hungry? Or is it that we’re stressed, bored, angry?

Taking a moment to stop and ask yourself that question before you tuck in may help you understand your eating patterns a bit more – and perhaps you can find a different way to deal with the emotion.

When:

Finally, when are your danger times for giving in to those less than healthy cravings?

Do you find yourself reaching for a sugary treat at work at around 2/3pm – otherwise known as the mid-afternoon slump? More than likely you have had a sugary or processed lunch and sent your sugar levels awry. Opt instead for slow release energy from protein, wholegrains, healthy fats and veg.

Have you eaten enough during the day or do you come home ravenous? Have a snack mid-afternoon to avoid those fridge raids as you walk in the door.

Do you tend to pick in the evenings after your meal? Find a means of distraction – or start getting to bed earlier and get a really good night’s sleep which will help you make healthier choices the next day too.

It’s all pretty obvious when you think about it, but so many people think they can just cut back on food and rely on willpower to lose weight. Unless you understand your "who, where, why and when" weak spots, your willpower will fail you – guaranteed.

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