For so many of us, weightloss is something we want to achieve, particularly in the lead-up to a big party or a much-anticipated holiday. However, all too frequently we can fail to achieve our goal and this is often because we have not set a realistic target.
Of course, many women would love nothing more than to have the vital statistics of a supermodel but this is not always achievable, particularly on a tight timeframe.
Should you fail to attain your target weight, you might be tempted to simply give up and reach for the biscuit tin - but it would be a shame for all of the hard work you have put in to go to waste.
So, exactly what is the best health and fitness plan to draw up that is easy to stick to and will help you achieve your goal weight?
Perhaps the most important thing to remember is that there is no one set plan. You are unique and there is very little point in comparing yourself with a celebrity or your friends. While a colleague at work who starts working out may appear to have visibly dropped several pounds almost immediately, it might not be the same for you.
However, while their weightloss could plateau after a couple of months, yours may accelerate as the weeks go on.
With this in mind, it is better to set yourself wider goals, such as to lose weight or to improve your fitness. This can be more effective than coming up with a very rigid target, like losing 10 lbs in two weeks, which could be incredibly difficult to achieve.
Your ideal weight depends on your height so calculate your current Body Mass Index and find out how much this is over what it should be. It is this that you may wish to set as your weightloss target.
Now think about your timeframe. Don't ever give yourself just a few weeks to drop the pounds - remember, the more you weigh, the longer it will take to lose it. However, keep in mind that often the more time it takes to lose it, the longer it will stay off.
If you plan to use exercise equipment as part of your weightloss plan, build up your workouts gradually. If you have never used gym apparatus before, it may be advisable to invest in a workout programme designed by a professional trainer, or to see one at your gym.
It is recommended that the average adult moderately exercises for at least 150 minutes each week in order to maintain a good standard of health. If you never dedicate much time to physical activity, this could be a good place to start and you can work up from there.
For instance, use a fitness treadmill set to a steep incline and walk at a faster pace than normal for 15 minutes. The more you do this, the easier it becomes, until you could find you are running for 15 minutes, three times a week.
It may take a little time, but you will almost immediately begin to feel better and not too long after that you should start seeing results on the scales.
Because you have set yourself a realistic goal and time to achieve it in, reaching your target weight should be far less of a chore than you were expecting, while maintaining it could also be a breeze.