Lose weight, stay active

Six small changes can help keep off pounds

Last reviewed: February 2011
Illustration of an active woman
Illustration by Tracy Walker

Trying to reverse the 1-to-2-pounds-a-year weight gain that is the fate of the average middle-aged American? Overwhelmed at the thought of changing your lifestyle enough to reach a healthful weight?

Fortunately, there is an alternative approach to the drastic diet and exercise revisions that Americans find so difficult to embark on and sustain. The idea is to start with smaller, easier changes that will, at the very least, halt the weight-creep and give encouraging results.

"We find that people who make small changes will often lose a few pounds," said James O. Hill, Ph.D., director of the Anschutz Health and Wellness Center at the University of Colorado at Denver. "Those who start with small changes often end up able to make more and bigger changes and lose more weight."

Here are a half-dozen small changes you can make right now: