It’s a truth universally acknowledged that British women struggle to lose weight.

Almost a third of UK women are fighting a losing battle against the bulge, experiencing three or more ‘bad diet days’ every single week.

A quarter of women think the perfect weight for a woman is between 9 and 9-and-a-half stone, around two stone less than the national average of 11 stone.

But don’t abandon all hope of ever shedding those extra pounds – there are ways to give your diet a greater chance of success. Dietician and Lineaslim expert, Helen Bond shares the most commonly recognised traits among successful dieters…

They exercise - a lot
Exercise (even simple activities such as walking, jogging, or swimming) is part of their daily routine.

The successful dieter understands that daily activity is critical to weight loss and weight maintenance. They are committed to exercising almost every day for the rest of their lives. It's not a chore and can be a very enjoyable part of your day.

They don't fall for the latest 'fad' diet
Successful 'losers' know that their weight loss will take time. They're not obsessively looking for short cuts to shed the pounds.

They know that the only way to lose weight is to eat a nutritionally balanced and varied diet with appropriately sized portions and to burn off more calories than they eat. 

They eat lots of veg
Successful dieters realise that their body functions best and is at its most healthy when it's getting the naturally healthy stuff... fruits, veggies, and whole grains – full of  vitamins, minerals and satiating fibre that fills them up

They eat breakfast every day
Eating breakfast helps to jumpstart your body’s metabolism after the overnight fast, making it easier to burn calories throughout the day. So mum was right - the old adage 'breakfast is the most important meal of the day' is true after all.

They don't watch much TV
According to a recent study, people who know how to lose weight usually don't watch more than 10 hours of television during a week. Plus don't eat while watching TV - it distracts people from listening to their ‘internal satiety cues’ which tell them that they’ve eaten enough.

They think positively
Successful dieters focus on all the wonderful delicious, nutritious and seasonal foods that they can enjoy as part of their meals and snacks, rather than all of the ones they need to cut back on.  

They realise that slow and steady is best for long-term weight loss
It’s probably taken years to accumulate the extra weight - so taking a year or so to lose it is completely reasonable. Research shows it’s far healthier and safer to lose weight slowly and steadily - around 1 to 2lb each week is sensible, and you shouldn’t lose more than 2lb a week.

They eat slowly
Good dieters focus more on how they eat, not just what they eat. Remember eat slowly and stop when you’re full. It takes 20 minutes for your brain to register that you have had enough to eat, which is why lots of us eat too much.

Also successful dieters understand that it is OK to feel hungry. You don’t need to eat something every time your stomach grumbles - just try a glass of water before you reach for food.

They treat every day the same
The saint-or-sinner mentality is not really helpful for losing weight and overall health and wellbeing.

Successful long-term weight loss is achieved by people who are consistent about their eating habits and don’t abandon them on weekends and holidays – in other words they eat healthily most of the time.

They get enough weekend sleep
Research shows that people who have less than six hours’ sleep a night are more likely to have bigger waistlines because too little sleep affects our brain hormones.

Levels of leptin, which tells the brain when we’re full, drop and trigger hunger while levels of grehlin increase, telling the brain we need to eat.