JANUARY is the time for resolutions, many of which include losing weight.
If you're in that category, then it might feel like an uphill battle, with adverts constantly selling us new plans or fads.
However, rather than completely overhauling your life with a new exercise plan and diet, research has shown that making small changes to your daily habits could be more effective.
Psychologist Henrietta Graham from Loughborough University said we’re also less likely to fail when making small changes, which may help motivate us to make bigger ones over time.
Writing in The Conversation, she said if you want to give this approach a try, there are two things you should ask yourself each day.
The first is: "What changes can I make to reduce the calories I eat and/or burn by just 100-200 kcal each day."
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This could make a huge difference to your weight loss goals, shaving off up to 1,400 calories off your meals a week, from just cutting out small items alone.
The second thing, is to be honest with yourself, Henrietta said.
She added that you should ask yourself: "Will I be able to achieve these changes even when my motivation is low."
The expert said that small changes designed by you are more likely to fit into your everyday life and therefore might be easier to sustain over time.
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However, if you're struggling to come up with these yourself, Henrietta gave some simple ideas as to how you could start.
If you're trying to shave off those extra calories and make yourself accountable for your goals, Henrietta said you could go for a walk and talk at the same time.
"Whether it’s a phone call with colleagues or a catch-up with friends, adding an extra 20-30 minutes of walking into your day can help you burn up to 100 calories," she said.
The expert added that you could even fit small bursts of exercise in during your down time.
She said that if you're watching TV you could try and do, squats, lunges or crunches during the commercial breaks.
"During an hour-long programme with three ad breaks, you could burn up to 100 calories," she said.
Another way to cut down is to stop adding things to your meals, she said.
This could be anything from extra cheese, butter, mayonnaise or ketchup, as these contain a lot more calories than many of us realise, the expert said.
"For instance, as little as 30g of cheese (about the size of a small matchbox) is 100 calories, while 30g of mayonnaise (about two spoonfuls) is close to 200 calories.
"Limiting portions, or cutting them out entirely, can make a big difference in the long term," Henrietta said.
Lastly, you should try and avoid falling into a trap when it comes to hot drinks.
"Hot drinks such as lattes, cappuccinos and hot chocolate can be more calorific than you think.
"You could reduce your calorie intake by about 100-200 calories by cutting them out," Henrietta said.
But if you can’t bear to go without your day’s coffee, consider getting a smaller size or drinking it black, she said.
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"Watching your weight doesn’t have to be complicated.
"Making small changes to your diet and lifestyle can add up over time and make all the difference, as the small change approach shows," she said.
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