MYTH: Some lucky people can eat whatever they want and not put on weight

No – eating 3,500 more calories than you use up means anybody will gain lb of fat on average, and it’s the same for everyone.

But if the scales go up several pounds after one meal out, this may be just a temporary increase in fluid, not fat. Don’t give up and get depressed – just get back on track as soon as you can.

MYTH: You can’t lose weight without feeling really hungry

The latest research on satiety, which is the science of fullness, shows that some foods, particularly high-fibre, airy, water-rich and high-protein types, can satisfy hunger very successfully without overloading our bodies with calories. Key filling foods that fit this description include fruit, vegetables, wholegrains (such as porridge or wholewheat pasta), lean meat, reduced-fat milk, eggs, fish and Quorn.

MYTH: Dieting makes your body go into starvation mode, so you end up fatter

It’s true that cutting calories too drastically will make your body try and hold on to its fat reserves. But this starvation response, as it’s called, won’t make you pile on the pounds. However going much below about 1,200 – 1,400 calories per day isn’t worth it, as you’ll put in lots of extra effort for little benefit. The optimum calorie intake for efficient weight loss is 1,200 – 1,500 a day, averaged out over a week.

MYTH: Eating late in the evening means you won’t lose weight

Ever been to a country like Spain and noticed that families sit down to eat at 10pm? Traditional meal times vary the world over and late-night eating doesn’t correlate with levels of obesity. The bottom line? Your body will only store food as fat if you eat more overall than you use up in physical activity over 24 hours.