Hi Doc, I am a 22 year old girl and I want to reduce my weight by 10kg over the next 4 months. How can I go about this successfully and should I take any medications or follow any diet plans? -

Losing weight has never been more popular than at the moment. Social media is littered with all manner of fitness advice. Many of these platforms suggest quick-weight loss suggestions and diet fads. These may help a certain group of people but may not necessarily benefit you. Here are few tips I believe will help you achieve your goal.

1. In order to lose weight and keep it off permanently, it is vital that you change your mindset, improve your lifestyle and stay motivated. Losing the weight and keeping it off is not just a physical process but a mental one too. Visualise yourself in the next 4 months as a slimmer version of yourself. Tell yourself that you are ready to get rid of the habits that made you gain weight in the first place. Once this step is well cemented and executed, we are ready for step two.

2. The best way to go about weight loss comes from some good old-fashioned advice: Exercise and eat well. This is actually the best way to lose weight that will stick around for a long time to come. Burning more calories than you eat everyday will get you weight loss results you can be proud of. You need to do at least two to three cardio sessions a week combined with two weight training sessions. Your body will create a fat burning machine this way and you will lose more weight. Do cardio workouts for 30 to 60 minutes per day and these can include swimming, cycling, running, brisk walking or a cardio workout in the gym. Remember that variation and creativity is key to keep you interested and motivated.

3. Get a weight loss buddy. This person need not necessarily be a professional physical trainer but anyone dedicated to the achievement of your weight loss goals. You will need that extra help on those days you just don't feel like getting out of bed to go for your morning jog!

4. Change your eating habits to healthier low calorie foods that are rich in nutrients. Ditch junk food and incorporate more fruits, vegetables and whole grains in your diet. Reduce or better still avoid sugar and sugary foods as much as possible. Beware of processed foods too as they pack many hidden calories. If it is within your means, seek expert advice from a dietician. One more advice, watch your portion sizes. Nothing ruins a healthy meal than eating too much of it!

5. Take a keen interest in the foods you eat and try to constantly learn other healthy foods you can eat daily. Try putting pen to paper by jotting down the foods you eat and drinks you take. You will be surprised at how many unhealthy foods and drinks you consume daily. Doing this will help you to stay focused on changing your eating habits and you will know exactly which foods are making you fat.

6. Lastly, do something about your weight today. Most people will try all means possible to find an excuse not to start a weight loss plan. The longer you put it off, the more you will continue eating unhealthy foods and the more weight you will gain. Start a weight loss plan today and set your goals.

7. I highly recommend avoiding the use of weight loss supplements as many of these products are just ways to cash in on the clamour for slim and sleek bodies among the youth. Many of these products may not be approved by the Food & Drugs Board, and may even have harmful side effects. The only healthy and sustainable way to lose weight is to eat well and exercise.