Not losing weight? Like a golfer blaming their caddy for a bad shot, there are always excuses. And when weight loss doesn't come quickly enough, it’s easier to give up - blaming failure on something else!

So what's your excuse? Big bones, slow metabolism, a sluggish thyroid, inherited fat cells or overweight parents! Perhaps now is the time to face facts – here are some tricks of the trade to help.

EXCUSE NO. 1 - But I hardly eat a thing!

It is very easy to take in more calories than you think. Studies have shown that when slimmers were monitored, the difference between their actual calorie intake and their reported intake was underestimated by between 25% and 50%! Ok, maybe you do eat less than your skinny friends, but it’s vital to analyse what you do actually eat. Remember that fat and sugar contain more calories than protein or unrefined carbohydrates; portion control is vitally important; and calories in drinks or snacks should be allowed for. Keeping an honest food diary will help to monitor your actions.

EXCUSE NO. 2 - I’m big boned

The common misconception that losing weight is impossible because you have big bones just doesn’t wash! You lose weight by losing fat, regardless of whether you have a big frame or not. A healthy female’s skeleton makes up about 12% of total body weight, the rest being muscle, fat and fluids. The bones in your body are relatively light. For example, a woman who weighs 10 stone (64kg) would have about 17lb (7.75kg) of bone weight from her skeleton. It is the rest that is negotiable!

EXCUSE NO. 3 - It’s my slow metabolism

Our metabolism breaks down the nutrients in our food to give us energy. Your metabolic rate does change though, depending on how fit or fat you are. Muscles need more energy to fuel them than fat does, so active people will have a higher metabolic rate than sedentary people. A pound of muscle burns 30 to 50 calories a day, whereas a pound of fat burns just 2 calories a day.

EXCUSE NO. 4 - I’ve got the wrong body shape

You can’t change your basic body shape, but how much fat you put on your body is up to you. Look at your lifestyle and see what improvements you can make. Eat fresh fruit and vegetables; limit your fat and sugar intake; include whole grains and make sure you do some regular enjoyable exercise. This will both tone and improve any body shape.

EXCUSE NO. 5 - I have an underactive thyroid

If the thyroid isn’t producing enough hormones it can slow down metabolic rate, although only by a small amount (10% or less). But unless your thyroid is extremely underactive - in which case there would be other clues such as fatigue, depression, dry skin and hair, and a loss of sex drive - it’s unlikely to be the blame for any weight gain. Your thyroid can be easily be checked by your doctor.

Credit: Weight Consultant Sue Hay