I've been writing about diet, health and weight loss for about 40 years now and in that time I've seen many more ridiculous tips on how to speed up weight loss than I care to think.
But now here we are heading to the end of January, by which time every year around 80% of us will have already given up on the New Year's dieting attempts and are back to scoffing and quaffing. So anything that might help, costs little and won't do you any harm can be nothing but a good idea.
If you read my last blog you'll know my tips for the best diet books and plans around this season – indeed, I'm following my own advice and trying a mix of 80% sirtfoods diet and 20% Davina's good carbs, and it really is quite easy to stick to as hunger isn't a problem.
Related: The Sirt food diet – does it work?
But a few extra boosts to any weight loss plan don't go amiss so this week I'm giving you some tips, some of which may sound strange to you, but all are backed with proper evidence.
Vitamin D to boost energy and aid weight loss
We all know that increasing your activity levels can help burn off the calories and boost weight loss – but for many of us, tiredness and lack of energy mean we ignore this equation.
Around a quarter of adults in the UK are short of vitamin D – and many of these are likely to be older people, especially those who don't get outdoors much (sunlight produces vitamin D in our bodies).
Now new research shows that taking a vitamin D3 supplement can increase your stamina, reduce tiredness and boost your energy levels. A 25mcg daily dose is therefore worth a try.
Related: Find out what you need to know about Vitamin D deficiency and what to do about it
Related: Find out more about Vitamin D
Drink more water to curb your appetite
Here's an old trick that fell out of favour but now studies show a glass of water before every meal really does work to help reduce your appetite and the amount you eat.
Regularly drinking water also appears to increase your metabolic rate and will help your digestive and elimination system work well. It has masses of other benefits and as it’s free (tap water is fine), and calorie free – give it a go!
Related: How much water do we really need to drink?
How green tea helps you burn fat
I love my regular cups of tea but I'm prepared to try green tea instead most of the time because reliable research shows that it is great at helping your body to burn fat and once you've lost weight, helps you avoid putting it all back on again.
Related: How tea and coffee affect your health
Related: A guide to fat-burning foods
Why staying calm helps your midriff
There's a good body of evidence to show that regularly feeling stressed is linked with having too much fat around your middle and too much around your internal organs too.
So work on the causes of your stress and you should find it easier to get rid of that midriff. Don't forget that exercise is a great stress reducer.
Related: What stress does to your health
Related: How to get rid of belly fat
Sleep more to boost your metabolism
For years it was thought that people who get by on minimal sleep will burn up more calories than us 'lazy' people who enjoy a full eight hours.
Now we know that not getting enough sleep can actually contribute to becoming overweight and make it hard to lose weight too – because not enough shut-eye causes a big drop in your metabolic rate, meaning your body burns fewer calories.
And oh, by the way – exercise is a great way to help you sleep better!
So there we are – you have the diet recommendations and the diet boosters. All we need now is longer days and less rain and snow, and life will be perfect!
Related: 10 reasons to get a better night's sleep