Are you putting off getting started on a healthy diet? Are you forever waiting until Monday, until all the stars are aligned, or until there are five weekends in the month?

It's always easy to come up with reasons to avoid getting going with a healthy eating or weight-loss plan. But all too often, these reasons are really just excuses. Take these five, for example...

1. I've got a party in two weeks, then a vacation. I'll start dieting after that...

Beat the excuse: If you eat sensibly and healthily for two weeks, you'll enjoy the party more (and you'll be in a better frame of mind to make good food/drink choices there). Even if you always gain a little weight on vacation, don't spend the weeks beforehand gaining weight too!

2. I don't have any willpower. If there are snacks in the house, I'll eat them.

Beat the excuse: All of us have willpower - and the willpower muscle gets stronger the more we exercise it. If you do find self-discipline a struggle, simply clear the snack foods out of the house, or at least put them somewhere inconvenient. This makes it much harder to succumb to impulse!

3. I can't afford to eat healthily.

Beat the excuse: Come on, you know this one isn't true. You needn't pay for expensive diet foods - stick to sensible basics like lean meat, wholegrains and fruit and veggies. You can get your five-a-day for less than $1.50. Skip your usual Starbucks coffee, and you'll have saved enough for your daily fruit and veggies.

4. I can't cook (or don't have time to cook) ... so I eat out a lot, and there's never a healthy option.

Beat the excuse: Learn to cook! Get hold of a student cookbook and teach yourself how to make some simple healthy basics, like a tomato-based pasta sauce. It's really not difficult, and many dishes take only minutes to prepare. If time is really an issue, try making big batches that can be frozen in individual portions.

5. I've been overweight all my life, and I don't think I can change.

Beat the excuse: However long you've been overweight, you can successfully change your habits. Take it one step at a time, and don't chase instant results. Aim for establishing one new healthy habit each week, such as cutting your soda intake or getting your five fruit and veg portions each day.

What's your favorite dieting excuse? How have you beaten it?