When you think about it, it's really strange so many people desperately want to lose weight yet those same people find it so hard to do.

Most people with a modicum of motivation manage to move forward on a whole range of projects quite successfully.

People attend evening classes, they do DIY, they do gardening and voluntary work. I'm sure you're one of them.

But when it comes to weight loss, many of these efforts are short lived. Let's explore whether there may be an explanation for this.

The fact is we move forward in areas of our life when the benefits outweigh the disadvantages.

You do voluntary work because the pleasure that you get from giving outweighs the inertia and reluctance to get yourself out and face the challenges involved.

You complete the DIY project because of the satisfaction of the completed job and your reluctance to pay someone else to do it for you.

You'll probably protest at this point and tell me you really want the weight loss.

You crave wearing those nice clothes and you want to be fit and healthy and get rid of those aches and pains that are exacerbated by excess weight.

But think for a few moments about the payoffs of being overweight.

What are the hidden benefits you don't want to acknowledge?

Perhaps being overweight is part of your identity.

It has been the focus of your life for so long that maybe you fear losing it.

It acts as an excuse for you not to move forward in other areas of your life.

Perhaps you're stuck in a dead-end job and you are not confident of your interview skills and ability to land a better one.

So you promise yourself you'll look for a job when you've lost weight.

But somewhere deep down, you know that to lose weight, you have to take action.

And you fear that action so you keep failing to lose weight. It makes sense.

Similarly, being overweight can explain away a rejection.

If you are overweight, you convince yourself it's not you the other person is rejecting but your weight.

This is a result of muddled thinking. You think you'll be a different person if you're slim. But you won't.

Weight loss is a health issue, not a character trait.

If you need to develop your personality, you need to get working on it.

It's important to take a good, long look at the issues that may be holding you back.

If you think these may apply to you, it's important to try to separate the issues of health and habit from the issues of self-esteem and skill.

In order to lose weight successfully and permanently, you have to convince yourself there are no good reasons for remaining overweight.

If you are, indeed, holding on to your weight in order to avoid facing other challenges, get the help you need to move forward.

Time doesn't come round again.

You can get support from Dr Judy Citron and her team of DietCoaches by joining her telephone weight-loss classes, right from your own home. "You lose weight and you're not on a diet. It's amazing." Phone free for more information on 0800 074 0260 or visit the web site at www.thedietcoach.com