has long observed that lots of us are engaged in a lifelong struggle to get fit. The idea of being the right weight, with strong muscles and few physical ailments sometimes seems as likely as reaching the end of the rainbow. Sometimes we wonder if we’ll ever get there. We see people all the time who are slim and young looking and we wonder how they got that way. Maybe if we studied them we could figure out their secrets and get there too.

The good news is that we do know the factors that make a difference in whether you’re fit or fat. Here’s some of the things that fit people do that will point you in the right direction.

Do it but don’t overdo it. You don’t have to start training for a marathon and you don’t have to decide that you can never eat dessert again. Bring the changes in gradually. Walk a little more each day. Eat just a little less each meal. If you make the changes too harsh you won’t stick to it. Just try to do a little bit more each week.

Avoid drinking your calories. If you’re overweight the problem is almost never strictly confined to eating too much. If you tallied up all of the calories that you take in from your drinks you might be amazed. High sugar drinks like soda are often more a habit than anything else. Decide to quit drinking soda and you’ll put a major ding in your daily calories.

Compete against yourself. Going to the gym can be daunting and discouraging when you see people there who are lean and fit. Don’t compare yourself to them and don’t try to compete with them. There will always be someone stronger and slimmer than you so just resolve to competing against yourself. If you bench pressed 100 pounds this week without too much trouble, try for 110 pounds next week. If you walked a mile in 11 minutes today, try for 10 minutes tomorrow. It’s a game you can win.

Leave your house to work out. Having exercise equipment is great. It’s convenient and you can use it anytime. The problem is it often ends up to be the worlds most expensive coat rack. When you get in your car and drive somewhere, even if it’s a different part of town to take a walk, you’re making a commitment to the exercise that makes it easier to follow through on. Plus, you’re away from the distractions of the TV, computer and the refrigerator.

Go for the long term. Sorry, but it won’t happen overnight. It took a long time to get out of shape and getting back in shape is not going to happen quickly. No matter what anyone tells you there is no healthy way to quick weight loss and fitness. If you avoid making unattainable goals you will also be avoiding discouragement and failure. Once you accept that, you can make a realistic plan and set make-able goals that will give you a good chance of succeeding.

Also, make sure that good nutrition is an essential part of your new “fit and fabulous” plan. FREE membership in and its unique Food Facts Health Score will definitely help.