A member of the British Dietetic Association, Juliette Kellow has worked in the NHS and for the food industry, and is the former editor of magazines Slimming and Top Santé. She's also the former editorial...

It’s simple: take in more calories than you burn and the excess are stored as fat, which is distributed all over your body, including your belly. It doesn’t matter where those extra calories come from – it’s simply the excess that piles on the pounds – and this has an impact on your future health. Here are five things you should know…

To lose 1lb a week, you need to cut 3,500 calories a week from your diet*

All the Healthy Food Guide recipes you’ll find on this site are nutritious, well balanced and calorie counted. Stick to around 1,500 calories a day and you should be able to lose 1lb a week*. Add in the recommended 150 minutes of exercise a week and each week you could lose an additional 1lb*.

Skipping meals leads to energy slumps

These make you more likely to reach for an unhealthy quick fix such as biscuits or cake. Plan to eat a healthy breakfast, lunch and supper and you’ll be more likely to stick with it.

Portion sizes are key

Sizes of many packaged foods have grown in the past 20 to 30 years, from bulky ready meals to supersize fizzy drinks. One of the main problems of being constantly faced with larger portions is that it completely distorts our view of what a ‘normal’ portion should be. Become familiar with recommended serving sizes, then resist tucking into seconds by getting into the habit of freezing leftovers. Check our portion guide.

Using large plates encourages us to eat more

Numerous studies have shown the more we put on our plates, the more we eat. Indeed, one study found adults ate 34% more pasta when served a large portion than when given a smaller bowlful. This equates to a third more calories.

Nibbling throughout the day makes it harder

‘Hidden’ calories (a few sweets here, a biscuit there) quickly mount up. Instead, treat yourself to two 100-calorie snacks a day, such as a banana, a scoop of reduced-fat ice cream or a 125g pot fat-free yogurt.

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