21/02/2014 12:59 GMT | Updated 23/04/2014 06:59 BST

Overweight? Find Your Fatness Type and Beat Your Pals at Slimming

You may well be no fatter than your friends and even slimmer than some of them, but you have measured your body mass index and now grudgingly accept that you are overweight and are heading towards being obese. Scary!

You know that you eat too much, but you really have no idea why you do it. A fun way to shed light on your relationship with food is to find your fatness type by identifying with a particular animal.

Work out which one of these six animals you resonate with, then when tempted by that cold pint of beer or warm chocolate brownie mutter the relevant affirmation.

The Bear

In winter you find it hard to get out of bed. All you want to do is turn over and go back to sleep. You rarely think about your size and are unlikely to diet unless your partner forces you to look at yourself in a full length mirror. Blissful ignorance is your motto.

I choose to wake up and deal with my excess weight

The Cat

You hate having your routine upset. You know what foods you like and you like what you know. When you go out for a meal, you always pick the same dishes and are reluctant to try anything new. You don't intend to change your habits of a lifetime even if it means staying fat.

I choose to welcome new eating habits

The Pig

Scoffing is your middle name. You are known to polish off a 100g bar of chocolate in one sitting. You like nothing better than all-you-can-eat buffets. Foods high in sugar and fat are your foods of preference and you never turn down seconds. Doing without is not your style.

I choose to behave like a human being rather than a pig

The Ostrich

You finish your meal before your companions have started. You always wipe your plate clean, load your shopping basket with crisps and desserts, snack all day and raid the fridge at night. Although everyone else can see why you are fat, you can't. What you don't see can't harm you, can it?

I choose to see my fattening eating habits

The Dog

You have no idea what to eat or how much. When shopping for food, you buy on impulse. If it smells good or the pack looks attractive it goes in your basket. Nutrition labels are there to be ignored, and even if a ready meal says it serves three you eat it all yourself. When you eat out you always pick the most fattening dish on the menu.

I choose to hear what my body wants me to eat and when it tells me to stop

The Monkey

You are out of your comfort zone or have had a row with your partner or children. You eat fatty snacks to quell the unease and your favourite fruit are bananas because they are sweet. You feel bad so you prefer rubbish.

I am special and deserve the best

Recognise yourself in one of these? Now you are ready to start losing weight, but don't just leap into the latest celebrity diet with the dreaded prospect of rebound weight gain.

In my lifestyle diet book Can I Have Chips? I recommend ditching excessive alcohol, fast foods, snacks, desserts and soft drinks (including fruit juice), and replacing them with three protein rich meals a day low in added sugar and fat. This creates an energy deficit resulting in weight loss.

Eating more protein compensates for the natural increase in hunger triggered by losing weight, and including starchy foods such as heavy bread or a few fat chips with your meals means you avoid the food cravings that sabotage carb free diets.

Simple, realistic, affordable and it works. Regular eating habits and an agreeable food plan help you stick to the diet - the key to long term weight loss.

Start your day with a boiled egg and toast, or some natural yoghurt and a few nuts. For lunch on the run, buy a salmon, ham, tuna or cheese sandwich on wholegrain bread (no more than 10g fat per pack) and in the evening eat some freshly prepared meat, fish or pulses with rice, pasta or potatoes, and vegetables. For dessert have a piece of fresh fruit.

Soon you'll be well on your way to beating your pals at slimming, and a trip to the zoo will never be quite the same.