Healthy Resolutions and How to Keep Them

If you’re like most people, you have a “make-‘em-and-break-‘em” attitude toward New Year’s resolutions. Your intentions are noble—you believe you will make more time for yourself this year, and lose two pants sizes, and take a brisk walk every evening after dinner. No more couch potato lifestyle for you—2012 is the year when you will, as Oprah coaxed us, be your best self!

Nearly half of us ring in the New Year with visions of a thinner, fitter year ahead. Unfortunately, a recent survey found, 35 percent of Americans break their resolutions by the end of January. The key to success, according to the American Council on Exercise, is to swap grandiose ambitions for a sweeping health overhaul for two or three smart, specific and attainable goals. That means making promises you can keep. Here’s a look at five of the most popular resolutions—plus tips for making them work.

1) Lose weight. One strategy that makes it easier to shed those stubborn extra pounds is tracking what you eat. In a study by Kaiser Permanente’s Center for Health Research, people who kept a daily food diary had double the weight loss of those who didn’t keep any records. It’s also important to avoid diet foods, surprising as that may sound: Research shows that eating low-fat foods doesn’t lead to overall calorie reduction, while a new study by University of Texas Health Science Center shows that people who drink two or more diet sodas daily have up to five times the increase in waist size over a decade than those who avoid diet drinks. Instead, down two glasses of water before each meal. A new study found that people who do so lose more weight—and are more likely to keep it off a year later—than those who don’t increase their water intake.

Is your New Year's resolution to lose weight? Start a diet that you'll actually stick to.

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