01/04/2008 11:26 am ET Updated Nov 17, 2011

Forget About Willpower

I went to a holiday party last night and saw a friend I hadn't seen in a while.

"Hey, Woody--you look great! How did you manage to lose so much weight?"

"Well, I tried something radical: I'm eating less food. I realized that I liked looking good and feeling good more than I liked eating extra food. I found that I was eating a lot when I felt depressed or stressed or lonely, so I decided to find other ways of managing stress and being with people I love that weren't centered around eating too much."

I've been conducting clinical research for over 30 years. In the process I've learned what really works to make and maintain lasting changes in diet and lifestyle. Woody got it right.

So, maybe you're a little stuffed from holiday indulgences. OK, really stuffed. Perhaps you look in the mirror and don't like what you see. You're ready to make some New Year's resolutions, but you're not optimistic that this year is going to be any different. Many people believe that it takes willpower to achieve such goals. "I resolve to eat less food" sounds good in theory, but it's often hard to sustain. And if you believe that it's all willpower, then you're likely to be upset with yourself if you don't succeed.

Click here to read the rest from Newsweek.