Former fast food junkie Simon Lovell is now a personal trainer with Fitness First and author of the new and acclaimed Lunch Box Diet.

Here Simon shares his tips on dieting, eating when exercising and getting the most from your food with Chronicle readers.

"HAVING been someone who has been addicted to unhealthy foods, I know what it can be like to get out of the trap," said Simon. "But as soon as you start to feel the benefits of optimum nutrition and developing an understanding of how your body works when the right food is consumed, you get a real buzz, trust me!"

Of course, when you're exercising, you need to think a little differently towards food intake to get the most out of training, and this will be different from person to person. There are however, some general rules that need to be followed:

1) Eat a wide selection of vegetables throughout the day

2) Include protein into your diet to aid in recovery

3) Use good carbs to maximise your energy

4) Include good healthy fats

Simon says that bad foods are often passed off to be healthy for us and it's only when we go back to basics and understand the contents of our meals that we can really, truly be sure that our bodies are getting what they need to run at the rate they should.

For those whose taste buds are acclimatised to eating sugary and fatty foods, laden in salt and additives, all is not lost - your taste buds can be changed quite easily and that's why it's important to understand what is good and what is bad for you and learning how to flavour foods the healthy way.

Healthy food can taste great and that's why Simon developed the Lunch Box Diet which allows you to have your normal breakfast and evening meal, while picking from your healthy lunch box throughout the day.

"It's easy and accessible and fits easily into anyone's lifestyle, particularly those who love hitting the gym because of the 'Active Carb' system - you add in carbs like wild rice, whole-meal pasta and rye crackers according to your activity levels during the day.

"I work out of Fitness First and since the diet was born, it's become a bit of a breeding ground for lunch boxes! I don't need to lose weight, but I still have my lunch box every day as I adapt it for myself, it’' that versatile."

Simply graze throughout the day and enjoy seeing your energy levels rocket, while feeling less bloated and a new zest for life!

Simon’s Tips to Prevent Over-Eating:

- Eat little and often of regular food to balance your blood sugar

- Pre-prepare your healthy meals and stick to them

- Make a weekly food diary and notice where your weak spots are

- Take away 'triggers' to food such as takeaway leaflets

- Drink more water, you may not need a snack!

- Clear cupboards of unhealthy snacks and treats

- Mentally place yourself as a 'healthy eater'.

- Use herbs and low fat dressings to add flavour to food

- Don't eat the same as your partner who may need more food

- Don't go shopping when hungry!

Simon's Top 'Snacks' Tips

- If you get a sugar urge, try natural yogurt with fruit instead of chocolate

- Snack on nuts (good fats) and seeds if you get hungry

- Bananas are great pre and post exercise food

- Get a taste for vegetables and use them as nibbles instead of crisps

- Gradually add healthy snacks into kid’s lunch boxes

- Ask yourself, 'will this snack get me to where I want to be?'

- Stock up on healthy snacks and less manufactured foods.

- Make mini-tubs to take to work with healthy nibbles.

For more information about Simon's diet log onto