A common difficulty many of us face in trying to lose weight is overcoming the element of emotional comfort that we attach to some foods.

The term "comfort food", often used to describe high-fat foods such as macaroni and cheese, is telling, as is a television show that portrays a stereotypical single woman devouring a carton of ice cream to mend a broken heart. If this sounds like you, you may want to track your eating habits for a while, to uncover your triggers.

You may find that certain periods of time, such as just before a stressful event, may be a weak juncture for you. Take note in a journal when you head for the refrigerator too often, and describe what your emotions are at that time. Review what you've written and look for ways to better cope with those feelings. And write that down, too. Create a list of coping strategies to choose from, such as drinking a litre of water, or going for a brisk walk to clear your head.