When it comes to taking affirmative actions to improve your health and fitness, the first step is always the hardest. With some desire and dedication, however, anyone can design a basic program to begin the quest towards your ideal physique. Your first goal should be to design diet and workout plans with which you can live for a reasonable amount of time. As you grow more accustomed to a lifestyle of fitness, you can take additional steps to bolster your results.
Choose a strategy with which you can live for at least 12 to 16 weeks: Do not choose a low-carb diet if you have already tried and failed to successfully complete one a dozen times -- choose a diet strategy to which you know you can adhere, whether that means high-protein, low-carb or low-fat.
Place a daily caloric limit on yourself: This can vary somewhat depending on your current weight. Between 1,500 and 2,000 calories is a good starting point.
Aim to consume foods from natural sources: Avoid processed and pre-packaged foods of all kinds. Eat plenty of fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low-fat meats. Eat up to your caloric limit each day; track this with a food journal to get yourself used to the concept of dietary discipline.
Aim for weight loss of one to two pounds per week: If you are not meeting your goal (either by losing weight too slowly or too quickly), adjust your daily calorie limit upwards or downwards by 200 to 300 calories per day.
Engage in fitness activities that you find fun and engaging: This may be walking, jogging, cycling, aerobics, swimming, weight training, yoga, pilates or something else. If you grow bored of an activity, alter your workout strategy before you begin to view training as a chore, as opposed to something entertaining, satisfying and productive.
Set conservative goals for your training sessions, and do everything in your power to never miss a workout.
Once you build your physical endurance and your self-confidence, increase your workouts gradually but steadily in frequency, duration and intensity: Constant incremental increases in difficulty will keep the body progressing towards your ideal physique.