It’s the theme of every magazine’s January issue and of most adults’ lists of New Year’s resolutions: atonement. Specifically, atoning for the gluttony of the holidays…and all the cookies, fruitcakes, eggnogs and champagne that go along with them. Come January 2, gyms are the most packed they’ll be all year…and while that’s a good thing, throwing yourself into a brand-new hardcore exercise regime that you likely won’t keep up isn’t the smartest way to go. Instead, make a commitment to performing small steps every day that will lead you to achieving long-lasting results. Your first step to success is such a piece of cake that you’ll be kicking yourself for not having done it all year long – Just. Drink. Water. Specifically, just drink water before you eat. That’s it…and it could help you lose up to a pound a month…without changing your eating or exercise habits at all!

How does “preloading” water before a meal contribute to weight loss…with absolutely no help from exercise or diet change? There are several ideas about why it works. The first is probably also the most obvious…it literally fills up empty space in your stomach, physically leaving less room for solid, caloric food. Another hypothesis is that hydrating your body before eating allows you to gauge how hungry you really are, as dehydration creates a type of “phantom hunger” that your brain confuses with the real thing. In any case, losing a pound a month simply by putting down two glasses of water is nothing to sneeze at!

But keep in mind that the type of water you ingest is just as important as the fact that you’re drinking it. Your goal here is to sip the purest, healthiest H2O you can find…because what’s the point of losing weight if you’re potentially contaminating your body? Water filtration is essential to remove sediments, minerals, chlorine, pathogens, pesticides and potentially life-threatening lead from the water we drink.

As we start the a new year, make a commitment to yourself. But rather than a commitment to looking better, make a commitment to feeling better. Rather than a commitment to hitting the gym hard on January 2, make a commitment to being healthier all year long. And rather than eating mindlessly and hating yourself for it after, make a commitment to drinking a couple glasses of (filtered) water before every meal. You’ll be amazed at how great your year will be…because of how great you feel throughout it.