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Q: I’ve eaten far too much again this Christmas! I’d like to shed a few pounds – is there anything you can recommend?

A: The whole of the UK may well be diet-crazy at the moment but I’m afraid there really are no instant solutions when it comes to losing weight sensibly.

The key to a healthy lifestyle is exercise. It increases the rate at which the body breaks down foods, so less of your food intake is stored as fat reserves.

Try to exercise for at least 20 minutes a day and as your fitness levels rise, increase your activity accordingly.

Your routine could include swimming, cycling or aerobics, all of which will help to improve circulation as well as burn off those extra calories.

Even walking will help you to lose those extra pounds and save on bus fare or petrol!

A healthy diet is also essential for successful weight loss. You should try to avoid foods with a high fat content, such as red meat, full fat dairy produce and most processed foods.

Chicken and fish are good substitutes as they are low in fat and high in protein.

If cravings are your biggest downfall the herbal remedy Jerusalem artichoke may help.

A member of the sunflower family, it contains substances called fructans which help the body to metabolise sugars and starches more effectively.

Ask at your local health shop.