How are you doing with your New Year’s resolution to lose weight? Committing to a healthier lifestyle can actually happen at any time during the year. With a weight loss goal, you want to be focused on the “long game.” Despite some outrageous claims, you can’t drop 10 pounds in a weekend unless you are literally starving yourself. Even if you do that, you’ll still end up gaining it back. Instead, you want to lose weigh the right way. Here’s how to get it done:

Change What You Eat

When you eat, whatever you eat needs to be processed by your body. This is the basis of metabolism: Food becomes fuel. It stands to reason that if you put in quality “fuel,” then you’ll have a stronger metabolism burning up calories like it should with the right exercise. This becomes an issue of quality. Processed foods need to be swapped out with natural, whole foods. Studies have shown that you can burn up to 50% more calories with whole foods than processed ones. What makes a food processed? If it comes in a package or is picked up in a drive-thru, then it’s a safe bet it is processed. Processed means additives, extra sugars and the “junk” we shouldn’t be eating for a healthy diet. Fresh is best.

Don’t Forget the Fiber

Fiber is the power food ingredient that needs to be part of every meal. You’ll find fiber in foods like beans, nuts, seeds, fruits, veggies, and whole grains. Your ideal fiber target should be 25 grams a day. Most of us don’t come anywhere near that goal on a regular basis. Speaking of regular, the more fiber we ingest, the more regular we’ll become and that’s always a good thing for weight loss.

Or the Protein

If fiber is your side dish, then protein needs to be the star of every plate. This is what really gets your metabolism going. The best way to start your day is with a breakfast that contains up to 20 grams of protein. The bagel with cream cheese or bowl of cereal won’t cut it. If 20 grams seems like a lot for one meal, then remember you can “sneak” it in through protein powder. Add that to a breakfast smoothie and your metabolism will be firing on all cylinders.

Go to Sleep

Eating the right foods and being active are the cornerstones of losing weigh the right way but so is sleep. Why does that matter? Sleep deprivation triggers a response in the brain that makes us crave foods. If you don’t get enough sleep, then you could end up hungry all the time and that sets up a dangerous cycle of temptation especially if you’re satisfying those cravings with the wrong food. Make sleep as much of a priority as the rest of the events in your day and watch those pounds start to drift away.