How to stay fit and fabulous all summer

Shedding layers of clothes for summer is easy, but when it comes to shedding those unwanted winter wobbly bits there is no quick or easy solution.

Whether it is lemon detoxing, cookie crunching, Dukan dieting or other celebrity-endorsed rapid weight-loss schemes, the proof is in the pudding. If it comes back as quickly as you lost it, then chances are it's a gimmick.

We asked a psychologist and dietician, a personal trainer and a nutritionist about dieting success.

According to the experts, just like the hype surrounding fad diets, the success is often short-lived. There is no secret to achieving lasting results, but motivation, proper planning and hard work are key to slimming down.

The personal trainer

Health and wellness coach Kirsty Welsh trained Mel B to shift her baby weight and knows that results don't come from sitting on the couch:

"We are a society driven by body image and looking good, rather than feeling good. If it were the other way around, people would not be so focused on the quick-fix solution.

''I feel we psychologically link the word 'diet' to a short-term way of eating that will achieve results quickly, but is not necessarily healthy or sustainable. Short-term eating creates short-term weight loss and can really mess with our internal balance and healthy functioning, creating secondary healthy problems down the track.

''Exercise regularly. Change your routine. Include both cardio and strength training in your week and get outdoors. Try a boxing class and have fun with it. Eat clean and lean foods and drink plenty of water.

''I've often heard health professionals quote 70:30 as food-to-exercise importance for weight loss. As a general rule for the average Aussie, I'd agree. By eating healthy foods in smaller portions and exercising consistently, this is the best way to lose body fat and keep it off."

Kirsty's tip: "Really, it's about being healthy and happy to me. Just be consistent and enjoy a healthy, balanced lifestyle."

The nutritionist

Susie Burrell is one of Australia's leading nutritionists. She believes we need to be in tune with what we eat because it affects our physical, mental and emotional state and in the initial stages it is more important than exercise:

"What we know about diets is that they do not tend to work long-term, simply because human beings find it difficult to stick to a strict diet. We also know that it doesn't matter what type of diet people follow: low carb, low fat, high protein. They all work to the same extent if they are followed.

''There are some tricks which support quick weight loss but it needs to be said that these techniques are often only fluid loss, not fat, and that they should only be followed for one to two weeks at most. These include using a meal replacement shake or bar to replace 1-2 meals a day; swap a meal for a rich vegetable soup and eat 4-5 cups of salad or vegetables every day. Go off all caffeine drinks. Sleep 8-9 hours and no processed food and you will lose 2-3kg quickly and safely.

''The only dietary model I find that works and is sustainable long- term, is a reduced-carb, high-protein approach, which has been well researched and published by CSIRO in the Total Wellbeing Diet. Commit and accept that exercise and eating well is something most of us will have to do every day for the rest of our lives."

Susie's tip: My No. 1 trick is having a bowl of rich vegetable soup each day to get all your vegetables, keep regular, keep full and help prevent overeating when out at functions. Always carry a protein-rich snack with you so you are not left hungry and a victim of your food environment, and drop the all-or-nothing approach - if you eat too much, get straight back on track the next meal and do some extra exercise.

The psychologist

Psychologist and dietician Anita Cochrane is doing a PhD on a multicomponent multidisciplinary approach to obesity:

"Most people go on a diet to go off it. What is needed is a lifestyle change.

Set a realistic goal for your weight loss (0.35-0.5kg per week for women; 0.5-1 kg per week for men) and reinforce this with a range of complementary intentions that will support your weight loss targets - including physical activity, personal growth, and other lifestyle choices (for example, reducing alcohol, getting to bed earlier and spending fewer than two hours daily in front of a screen for leisure.)

''Identify the barriers to achieving these goals and use problem solving strategies to come up with logical, do-able and realistic solutions, making sure you include all the excuses you have used to justify self-sabotage in the past. Engage professionals who can provide expert advice and support in the areas of nutrition, psychology and exercise, and maintain an ongoing relationship with the person you know will help keep you on track.

Anita's tip: ''A combination of diet and exercise, as well as other biopsychosocial strategies. Don't make it about weight loss only. Make it about personal growth or healthy lifestyle changes so your weight-changes are in a bigger game plan."

This story How to stay fit and fabulous all summer first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.