The Healthy Food Guide team believe that making small diet and lifestyle changes brings the best long-term gains. We look at the science behind the headlines and promote a balanced way of eating.

Are you trying to lose weight but finding it tough? Spot the familiar but easy-to-make mistakes you’re making below, and find out how to overcome them…

Lack of variety

‘It’s easy to get into the routine of eating the same thing day in, day out. If this sounds like you, chances are you’re missing out on valuable nutrients because you’re not eating a varied enough diet,’ says HFG nutritionist Amanda Ursell. ‘Plan ahead and shop with a list so it’s easier to have plenty of different meals over the week.’

Leaving it to chance

‘Men tend to leave for work with just their wallet, keys and phone. Then at lunchtime they buy whatever’s convenient – likely to be a pasty from the local shop, lasagne in the canteen or a high-calorie sandwich,’ says HFG expert Professor David Haslam, chair of the National Obesity Forum. ‘If they thought ahead and considered there may not be healthy options nearby, they could make a nutritious packed lunch at home.’

See food, eat it!

‘Some men eat whatever they’re served,’ says Amanda. ‘If they order a large pizza and get a free side of fries, they’ll eat it all, hungry or not.’

Exceeding the coffee quota

It’s not so much the coffee that’s the problem but rather the extra calories from milk and sugar that sneak into your daily intake.

Too little fibre

‘Constipation is a common complaint in men who don’t eat nearly enough fruit, veg, wholegrains and other fibre-rich foods, such as beans and other pulses,’ says Amanda. ‘Not getting enough fibre will hinder your weight-loss efforts, too, because fibre-rich foods keep you fuller.’

Drinking it in

‘Drinking lots of soft drinks, energy drinks, sports drinks or alcohol is another common way men take in excess calories without realising,’ says David. One pint of (ABV 4%) lager has around 180kcal and a typical sports drink has around 140kcal – have one of these every day and you’re looking at gaining over 1st a year.


*Weight-loss results will vary and are down to your individual circumstances and the amount of weight you have to lose.