5 Easy Ways to Lose Weight and Improve Your Health

Sure-thing resolutions: Simple changes that can make a big difference.

By Elaine Magee, MPH, RD
WebMD Weight Loss Clinic - Feature

Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

Almost as soon as the Times Square ball drops and the confetti is thrown, many of us start making resolutions to improve our health and our lives. Then, within a few weeks, our resolve often fades -- and we go back to our old, bad habits. But what if, instead of trying to make sweeping changes, we resolved only to tackle a few easy ways to lose weight and boost health?

The health and weight loss resolutions that stand the best chance of lasting are the ones that call for minor, doable changes, experts say.

"The key is to take small, positive steps and move ahead consistently," says Penny Kris-Etherton, PhD, a nutrition professor at Penn State University. "People need to be realistic about the changes they can achieve."

David Katz, MD, director of the Prevention Research Center for Yale University, says that one key to making resolutions that last is to do more planning and less proclaiming.

"Resolutions tend to be the stuff of inspiration, but lasting behavior change is the stuff of planning, sustainable motivations, and careful consideration of the pros and cons," he says in an email interview.

For example, he says, more important than "willpower" are skills like learning to interpret food labels, and to identify the best choices when eating out.