A Harrow doctor is encouraging people to ditch fad diets in favour of year round healthy eating.

Weight loss expert Shaw Somers, who works at BMI Clementine Churchill Hospital in Sudbury Hill has carried out research which showed that in Harrow 69 per cent of people are obese or know someone who is.

He also discovered that 64 per cent of Harrow residents have been on unsuccessful diets and 71 per cent have lost weight on diets but then put it all back on.

Mr Somers said: “The simple fact is that yo-yo dieting and the latest fad diets are not a long-term solution to maintaining a healthy weight.

“When it comes to weight and issues around obesity the core problem is the imbalance between the energy we take into our body through eating and the energy which is used through physical activity.

“Healthy eating and regular exercise are the best tools we have to tackle this epidemic, yet unfortunately for many people the message simply is being lost in our obsession with ‘yo-yo’ and ‘fad diets’, especially around the New Year.”

Mr Somers has also released a list of his top ten weight loss tips:

1. Watch what you eat – read labels and make sure foods are not high in fat

2. Eat slowly

3. Stop eating before you feel full – it takes 20 minutes for your stomach to tell your brain that it is full

4. Do not eat extra to make up for missed meals

5. Use a smaller plate

6. Eat high-fibre foods – they release energy more slowly and keep you full for longer

7. Keep hydrated – you should drink six to eight glasses of water a day and water helps make you feel full

8. Exercise – this burns calories

9. Drink less alcohol – it is a source of calories

10. Don't be afraid of hunger

Commenting on the awareness campaign Jan Hale, executive director at BMI Clementine Churchill Hospital, commented: “The awareness campaign organised by our consultants at BMI The Clementine Churchill Hospital will hopefully drive home the message that we all need to eat healthily and exercise more if we want to avoid obesity.

“It’s often hard for busy families to find the time to be physically active together but we are encouraging them to the make small changes in their daily lives this New Year that will have a hugely positive impact on their overall health.”