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Unflattering photos serve as diet motivation for women

Seeing unflattering photos of yourself can motivate you to lose weight, says an informal study. (Thinkstock)Ever launch into diet mode after seeing an unflattering vacation pic of yourself? You're not alone. An informal U.K. study has found that "fat" photos are the number-one reason for starting a new diet.

Eatwater.co.uk surveyed 1,000 women and found that half of them had been shocked into slimming down by an unsightly photograph of themselves, the Daily Mail reports.

On average, the "fat" pics led to a 14-pound weight loss.

Also see: Five-minute body image boosters

"Sometimes it takes something like a photo for people to acknowledge the fact they even have a problem with their weight," says an Eat Water spokesman.

"It is all too easy to become complacent with our body shape and size, and think we are doing okay, when really we're carrying round a few extra pounds. A photograph can be like a bolt from the blue — often people are absolutely flabbergasted that they could have let things get so bad."

Forty-two per cent of the women surveyed also admitted to looking at old photos of their former, trimmer selves as slimming inspiration.

The Canadian Mental Health Association reports that, at any given time, 70 per cent of women are dieting.

The U.K. survey tried to uncover what motivates women to begin diets. Other popular reasons for cutting back on calories were struggling to fit into a favourite pair of jeans, seeing a larger-than-desired reflection in a shop window, and discovering that you have to buy a larger dress size.

Also see: Why you should try a 'relaxation revolution'

Preparing for a holiday, feeling self-conscious in a swimsuit, planning a wedding, and seeing friends lose weight are other motivators.

Instead of jumping from diet to diet — the survey in question found that most women start at least two diets a year — here are 11 simple, effective slimming strategies.

Even simpler, avoid those unflattering pics altogether by posing strategically. Here are tips for looking thinner in your summer vacation pics this summer.

Watch the video below about the truth behind celebrity fad diets.

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