Well, is the easy way out really so easy?

There is a school of thought which says: If you want to be happy, stop doing those things you feel you should do and start doing those things you really want to do.

This line of reasoning says if you do things only because of a certain obligation, the chances are you won't have your heart in those activities and they won't be accomplished.

There is a certain logic to this. It's certainly comfortable when we're looking for an excuse not to do something.

We all know doing nothing is easy. But we also know what's easiest isn't always best.

Now consider whether sometimes those things we should do are sometimes those things that aren't easy. So it's conceivable that the "shoulds" in our lives are those things where we need to push ourselves a bit harder.

How often do you hear yourself say: "I should lose weight"? Does this mean it's a goal imposed by someone else and therefore you're better off not doing it? I think not.

It probably means it's something that you need to push yourself to do. It isn't easy.

Doing nothing, on the other hand, is easy. And you might think doing nothing is a neutral activity - it has no result.

But with our health, and particularly our weight, doing nothing can cause a worsening of our situation.

If you are overweight and you do nothing, you are putting more wear and tear on your joints; you are putting yourself at constant risk of heart problems, diabetes and a host of other illnesses.

Doing nothing now may seem like the easy way but - and I do hate to come at you with dire warnings - easy today may be hard tomorrow.

The following truism sums up our predicament: If you haven't got time for exercise today, you'll have to make time to be ill tomorrow.

I've moved on from weight loss to exercise but they're tightly bound together. One of the things putting us off tackling our weight problem is the depressing thought we've done it all before and it doesn't last.

Such a high percentage of those who lose weight put it all back on again . . . and more. Research shows those who do keep the pounds off are those who make exercise a daily part of their lives.

Many people who want to slim down, keep fit like mad while they're trying to lose pounds and then, when they flip into binge mode, it all goes out the window.

But if you exercise, irrespective of whether you're having a "good" eating day or a "bad" one, you'll get yourself back on track more easily.

So, you know you should take your weight in hand.

But you haven't got your heart in it so you doubt that you'll do it well. You also know taking the easy way out by doing nothing is not the way forward.

The answer is to try to turn round the feeling of obligation into a positive personal desire. You need to find a way to get pleasure from permanently improved health.

You need to feel you are doing it because you want to rather than because you've been told you must.

You could start today by writing a list of all the benefits of losing weight and getting fit. It will turn out to be a long one. Get stuck in.

It's a challenge. This is no time to weight and see
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