There are extreme diets - think juicing, cayenne pepper, Dukan, and cabbage soup - and then there is the slow and steady approach. 
The former is usually pretty torturous (not to mention totally ineffective) while the latter is far more likely to result in long-term weight-loss and overall improved health. 
Still, if you're not making the right changes, you might not see the right results either. 
Here are eight top ways to make a REAL difference to your waistline... without feeling like you're missing out.
1) Think portions
It doesn’t matter what you’re eating – if you’re eating too much you won’t lose weight. In fact, one in three Irish people says they struggle with portion control. If you think your diet is reasonably good but you’ve a few pounds to shed still, consider eating the same food – just less of it. SafeFood has some suggestions here.
2) Ditch diet foods
Other than skimmed milk – which is a great swap if you’re a tea and coffee fan – you should avoid low- and reduced-fat foods. They’re often processed and full of sugar, and they can lure you into a false sense of security, making you tuck in to too much just because it’s ‘low fat’.
3) Be carb-savvy
A decade or so ago, everyone seemed to be low-carbing. Thankfully, however, a more balanced approach is now popular – with wholegrains and slow-burning energy foods back in fashion. Still, if you’re trying to lose weight, it’s good to be carb-savvy. That means not eating cereal, potatoes, bread, pasta, or rice with every meal. Cut down gradually – having one slice of toast in the morning instead of two, for example.
4) Be inspired
If you’re eating the same meals day-in-day-out, you’re going to get bored. Even if you’re not a big fan of cooking, some basic knowledge can go a long way. Make use of free apps, and definitely check-out the recipes, meal plans, and healthy food offers that Centra has as part of its Restart Week initiative.  
5) Forget about fruit juice
Swap over to water instead and keep orange and apple juices as a weekend treat. They’re low in fat but also high in sugar and calories. Same goes for munching on lots of fruits – make the effort to change at least some of those snacks to the likes of raw carrot, celery, and mange tout.
6) Speaking of snacking...
Yes it’s important not to go too long without eating something – you’ll only end up diving head-first into a tub of ice-cream otherwise – but neither should you spend the day grazing. Even healthy treats such as rice cakes, nuts, fruit and veg, soup, avocado, nut butter, and raisins quickly add up if you’re chomping all day long. Stick to three meals a day with just a couple of snacks thrown in to tick you over.
7) Diets drinks – approach with caution
Certainly if you’re drinking full-sugar fizzy drinks – stop! But don’t expect to down gallons of diet drinks with no ill-effect either. In fact, several studies link diet soda consumption to gaining weight – all those sweeteners can get your appetite going, prompting you to eat more. So make that gradual shift over to water.
Centra has now, with the help of health and wellness expert Pat Divilly, kicked off its Live Well Restart drive. You can check out Centra’s 21-day challenge, offers, recipes, and meal planners here. And make sure to share your progress using #livewell to be in with a chance of winning a personal training session with Pat Divilly and an overnight stay for two in the G Hotel in Galway.