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IT'S been three months of hard work. You joined the gym again, went back to Weight Watchers and cancelled all social gatherings to avoid temptation.

But it was all worth it, as that half a stone of Christmas excess has all gone and your body now feels like it belongs to you again.

So why does everyone insist on force-feeding you chocolate and hot cross buns for most of March and April and ruining all that hard work!? The saintliness that was the first three months of the year somehow makes you feel like you deserve a treat or two - or three - but that's where it can all go horribly wrong and lead to the world of yo-yo dieting, which really is the road to nowhere.

The answer is 'balance'. The changes that you make in January and February should fit into your lifestyle and not feel like you're depriving yourself.

That way, you get results but still feel that you can go out socially - and rightly so, it is a part of your life.

It may mean that you have two glasses of wine rather than six glasses or, if your willpower is such, a lime and soda instead.

As long as you're being better than you normally would be, then you're doing brilliantly and will see the results.

Rather than doing three hours of gym every night in January so that you end up hating the sight of it and with injuries due to overuse, a better idea would be to find a variety of exercise that fits in with you and that you enjoy; three to four times a week is enough to get results, along with a healthy diet.

Variety of exercise really is the key not only to stop boredom but to get results.

Here are some ideas of variety: Maybe if you have joint problems or are new to exercise - walking, swimming, pilates classes.

If you love the gym but always do the same routine, vary it up and try a personal training session or do some classes.

If you go road running, then try running to a park and do an exercise circuit with benches etc.

Maybe you hate gyms but love dancing - so find a dancing class to join.

If you want to have a hot cross bun or an Easter egg, have it, but it's a nice feeling knowing that due to having the right balance of lifestyle you don't have to spend the next week feeling guilty about it.

And remember: "yo-yo is a no-no" - if you go on a diet of mostly chocolate eggs and rebel against exercise for two months, you will find that you will fall back into the cycle of the extreme dieting, exercising every spare hour and negative feeling about yourself in order to get into shape for your summer holiday and then it all starts again...

Get the balance right and not only will you survive Easter without putting on the extra weight, but will continue looking and feeling great so that you really enjoy the summer holiday treats and look great on the beach!!

Enjoy your Easter egg - and remember: "yo- yo is a no-no..!"


Louisa puts a client through her paces
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Date:Mar 26, 2011
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