Lose Weight, Improve Your Health: 5 Easy Ways (cont.)

5 Easy Ways to Lose Weight and Improve Health

Beyond that, experts say, resolutions that offer some sort of noticeable result within a couple of weeks can also help keep you motivated to keep going. That said, here are five easy ways to lose weight and improve your health -- many of which may bring you positive results by mid-January!

Easy Resolution No. 1: Strap on a Pedometer

Let's be honest: Seeing a number at the end of the day can make getting more walking in a lot more fun (talk about instant gratification). Not bad for an investment of around $15.

Striving to reach a goal, such as 10,000 steps at day's end, can be just the motivation you need to keep moving. Researchers affiliated with Stanford University looked at the results of 26 studies involving the use of pedometers in adults. They found that the study results showed that people who used pedometers significantly increased their physical activity -- and took more than 2,000 steps per day more than study participants who didn't use pedometer. Further, the researchers noted two physical benefits as a result of wearing a pedometer -- a decrease in the volunteers' BMIs (body mass index) and their systolic blood pressure.

After just two weeks of walking more, you might see some measurable health benefits, too. Walking even 30 minutes every day for two weeks should be enough for people with hypertension to see better blood pressure, and people with diabetes or elevated blood sugar to see better blood sugar levels, says Karen Collins, MS, RD, CDN, nutrition advisor to the American Institute for Cancer Research.

Easy Resolution No. 2: Drink 2 Cups of Tea a Day

With each sip of green or black tea, you get health-promoting substances: two potent flavonoids -- anthocyanin and proanthocyanidin -- and a healthy dose of catechin. Green tea in particular is loaded with the catechin called EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate), which is suspected of having some anticancer properties.

Try buying some flavored green (and black) tea bags, and keep some at work and at home near your hot water kettle. Figure out when you're most likely to want some tea, be it midmorning, afternoon, or before bed. Then you can get yourself into the habit of making yourself a cup of tea at that particular time of day. If you're sensitive to caffeine, choose decaf teas.

This habit can be particularly healthful if tea takes the place of other beverages that contribute calories without any beneficial nutrients.

Easy Resolution No. 3: Switch to Whole Grains

Switching to 100% whole-wheat or whole-grain bread is easy, especially now that so many 100% whole-wheat products are available in supermarkets -- from hot dog buns to breakfast cereals to pasta.