The average American diet consists of processed fast foods and starchy things like French fries, pasta, and cheeseburgers. No wonder we are the most overweight country in the world and getting bigger by the minute. Adult and childhood obesity are rampant in the U.S. and account for more health problems than all other factors combined.

Obesity causes or is linked directly to hypertension, heart disease, diabetes, cancer, high blood pressure, arthritis, bone problems, and many other ailments. We need to get off our collective rear ends and start working on fitness and weight loss as parts of our daily lives, not just when we get too heavy to fit into our jeans. In fact, if we can’t take a walk or run outside, why not fix your fitness equipment so it’s usable enough for you while inside the house?

It is not as difficult as it first seems to achieve total fitness and weight loss if you approach it from a holistic point of view. You need to see the big picture and part of that is to examine how being overweight affects our daily lives. Think about it, what could you accomplish if you were at your ideal weight today? How would you life change if you could fit into that size four dress and feel confident every time you went out for a job interview or to meet with clients? If you were not so heavy would your knees, hips and back hurt so much after every workout or could you be pain free and consequently run more miles (or even one) and lose weight even faster? Staying fit or getting in shape is not easy and no one is claiming to have a panacea but you can definitely get a kick start if you follow some easy suggestions.

The first thing you need to do is to write down everything that you eat all day. Fitness and weight loss experts agree that documenting your daily caloric intake is vital to making your plan work. How can you know what to avoid if you don’t know what you are putting into your mouth? Jenny Craig and Weight Watchers both emphasize this part of their program and give you little food diaries where you write down everything you eat during the day and also what kind of exercise you did that day. You can even write down your daily weight but I don’t particularly recommend that part of it.

Many experts agree that looking at the scale every day can lead you to sabotage your fitness and weight loss goals. This is due to the fact that most weight loss occurs several days after one exercises and diets and not on the same day. If you weigh yourself after you work out you are really only seeing water weight loss and not fat weight loss. If you exercise several days in a row you will not see less water weight loss or sometimes none at all. This is discouraging and even more discouraging is when you diet and exercise and you still seem to gain a pound or two. That is the main reason to put away your scale for at least one week while you begin your fitness and weight loss program. This is the way that Jenny Craig does it and they weigh you on their accurate scales once a week when you come in for your weekly consultation and to buy the week’s worth of food.

Although Jenny Craig seems expensive and food costs can exceed $100 per week per person, it really saves you money. If you count up how much food you buy in an average week of going to the supermarket and eating out at restaurants you will find that you are actually spending a lot more on your own. Take the plunge. Sign up with Jenny Craig or Weight Watchers and begin that fitness and weight loss plan you have been meaning to start. You will thank yourself once you get to that ideal weight and everyone is giving you complimentary remarks.