It's January. Here we go again. For how many years now has losing weight been on your list of New Year resolutions?

Every year, I expect the process goes something like this: You successfully lose weight for a few days, even a few weeks and then, suddenly, you hit a stalemate, a plateau. Nothing happens.

You weigh yourself every morning - same time, same clothes - but the scales don't move. You feel unbelievably discouraged. After all, you're following all the rules: Low sugar, low fat and so on.

It was working before and now it has stopped.

So what do you do? You hit the biscuit tin. You say to yourself: "I've been 'good'

and that doesn't seem to help so why should I suffer? I miss my chocolate biscuits so I'll treat myself."

We all know what happens next. You fall off the wagon and now you certainly see the scales move but in the wrong direction.

You stop weighing yourself.

If it's bad news, then you don't want to know.

Everything you lost in those few weeks - and more -

goes back on again. It may be weeks or months before you brave another diet. It's an uphill struggle. The typical yo-yo diet scenario.

So what's going wrong here? The problem is that you are seeking your rewards from the scales. If the scales move down, you feel good. You feel a surge of positive self-esteem and that enables you to push on with your restrictive regime.

But when the scales don't give you that boost, there's nothing left to motivate you so you backslide.

There are two changes that I'd like to suggest to you:

Firstly, that you don't weigh yourself more than once a week. Remember, your new eating habits shouldn't be too punishing and you should be able to imagine keeping up your new eating habits for life.

Aim for a balanced diet with minimal added sugar and fat but where no food is completely excluded.

Most importantly, only look for one to two pounds loss per week. Since you are now on a course for life, a pound down a week is wonderful.

But what will you do now if you can't look to the scales to motivate you every day?

This is the second change I would like you to make:

Don't look to the scales for reward. Instead, take two minutes at the end of every day to think about what steps you have taken towards those new, healthy eating habits. Allow yourself to feel good about those steps.

Here's an example: Let's say a colleague of yours celebrated her birthday and brought a cake into the office for everyone to share.

You managed to decline gracefully. You simply said:

"No thank you. It looks delicious but I couldn't."

You weren't hungry so you didn't eat for the sake of it. You weren't ruled by food.

You preffered to wait for mealtime to eat a healthy meal for which you've built up a good appetite. That makes you feel good.

Make a mental note of that successful step. You could even write it down in a real journal - a special notebook you keep for that purpose.

Each day, note similar experiences. Signs that tell you you are approaching a normal relationship with food. Pull out your success journal when you feel your motivation flagging.

It will remind you that you can do it.

Get Dr Citron's cassette,
How To End Yo-Yo Dieting, free if you sign up for her telephone support classes in January.

Separate classes for men and women. Phone free for more information and registration on 0800 074 0260 or visit