I've never really been in great shape. Ever since I was a kid, I was considered "heavy." I don't really blame myself because I was just a kid. But I try not to blame my parents, either, because I know that they were probably raised in the same way.

But whatever the reason for my overweight younger years, I think it’s a real problem for my daily life now. I'm still overweight, and I feel like I don't have any of the proper habits or knowledge that I need to actually get in shape. I'd prefer to be thin and (especially) muscular, but I'm so frustrated by my progress that I'm pretty close to resigning myself to just being heavy forever. There seem to be plenty of happy overweight people. Maybe I can be one of them. Experts, what do you say?

Your personal happiness is extremely important, and we hope that you don't allow yourself to tie your happiness too closely to your weight and appearance. Still, there are plenty of reasons besides personal preference or self-esteem to take care of your body. Losing some excess weight and getting into shape can make you healthier and, yes, happier, even if you already have plenty of self-confidence as an overweight person. Let's talk a bit about why you should bother to shed these pounds, then discuss how you could go about it.

Being overweight doesn't just look unhealthy — it actually is unhealthy. While a little bit of fat is normal, your body fat percentage needs to be in a healthy range, because your body is only comfortable carrying so much. Excess weight can strain your body and cause back problems. The kind of poor diet that leads to obesity will also cause problems with your heart and circulation. Obesity also increases your risk of all sorts of different diseases — a glance at the latest facts about prostate cancer will tell you that obesity can cause deadly cancers, and experts agree that being overweight will also increase your risk of heart disease, diabetes, and more. Even common and less serious infections are more likely to affect you if you aren't eating right, because proper nutrition is good for your immune system.

So how can you get in shape? It starts with a healthy diet, of course: you need to make a habit of eating well. To make eating well a habit, though, doesn’t mean to starve yourself. That's why experts recommend eating foods with low calorie densities and focusing on nutritious foods rather than "empty" calories. In other words, don't just eat less — eat better! If you eat a lot of vegetables and unprocessed foods, you'll find that you can fill up without filling out.

Exercise is absolutely vital, too, which is why you need to pair the proper nutrition with a regular workout plan. You seem interested in building muscle, so consider joining a gym and heading there regularly. You'll have to go often if you want to make it a habit, but you can keep yourself from getting worn out by alternating which muscles you work on. And don't forget to feed those muscles. A Jacked Up pre workout is one example of a supplement that can give you the energy you need to get through the exercises you've planned. Consider mid-workout supplements, too, and take special note of simple and healthy post-workout supplements. A little extra protein will ensure that your muscles get the nutrition they need to recover fast, making it easier for you to maintain your commitment and show up for your next big workout!

If you combine a regular exercise plan, healthy supplements, and a nutritious diet, than you should start to see the pounds fall away. Focus on what you should do, and let the bad habits be displaced naturally. You may be surprised to see how easy it is to skip the Doritos or limit your couch time when you're full from your nutritious dinner and ready to hit the gym!

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