Each year when the clock strikes midnight setting in a New Year, millions of people across the globe will begin their New Year’s Resolutions and most of these resolutions will involve diet, eating healthier, exercising more and losing weight.

I’m a person that’s failed more times than I could count on one hand, but there was something different about this time. At the beginning of January, I signed up to a fitness challenge.

Now seven weeks later, into the final week of the challenge and over 19 kilograms down, I’ve joined a group of just one in five people that has successfully hit their New Year’s Resolution and I didn’t lose my social life in the process.

If there is one thing that I’ve learned in the last seven weeks, it’s that terms like ‘diet’ or ‘cheat meal’ can get in the bin. The reason I’ve failed so many times before is that I’ve restricted myself to the point that I ended up binging on food and giving up.

So, what are the top 5 tips I would give if you want to have fun in Canberra and lose the flab?

You don’t need alcohol to have a good time – This might seem like a tough one for some people, but when I realised how much I was saving not having to catch an Uber back to Bonner every Saturday Night, it became an easy task to get on the Pepsi Max or Coke No Sugar and be the designated driver. While my friends were waking up at midday on Sunday, I’d already organised a delicious brunch at one of Canberra’s popular haunts. If you feel you still need alcohol, switch to a spirit alternative with a diet soda or soda water.

Don’t hate yourself for eating food – If there is one thing, I want people to take away it’s that one brick doesn’t make a wall. So why should one meal whether it be a Burger, Bibimbap or Korean BBQ ruin your plan? If your aim is to lose weight the only way to do that is to be in a caloric deficit, work out what you need to be in that caloric deficit and adjust accordingly. Life’s too short not to enjoy yourself.

Get out and see CBR – We’re not the bush capital for nothing, Lake Burley Griffin alone has three separate basins to visit, Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve, Mulligans Flat Nature Reserve, Namadgi National Park are right on our doorstep. Sometimes going to the gym or sticking to the same routine can get stale. Plus getting out in the sun will give you a healthy dose of Vitamin D.

Try something alternative for fun – Canberra has so many different venues where you can have fun without having to eat or drink anything. For the kids (and big kids) Zone 3 laser tag is still a favourite. Blockhaus and Axxe are two venues that will excite and challenge you and are good to visit as a group.

Get your friends and family on board – There is nothing worse than when you try and make a physical change and you have that one friend that’s like “why are you doing this? It’s absolutely stupid” only to turn around and ask you for tips when they start seeing you get results. Don’t be annoyed by this person, knowledge is power so helping them is only going to give you good karma.

Remember if you are in the middle of trying to lose or gain weight it’s not going to be simple, you didn’t gain or lose the weight in a day, so it’s not going to come off in a day. But remember giving up means you’re no closer to reaching your goals and every step you take from now is one in the right direction.