There are many different ways to lose weight fast by dramatically altering your food intake, but one of the biggest problems with these fad diets is they are tough to maintain and usually wreak havoc on your body. Without the proper nutrition, you will end up feeling hungry, unsatisfied and probably running for the nearest taco shop.

Here are four simple food rules to follow to help you fuel your body and maintain your healthy lifestyle for the long haul.

Add more protein to your diet

When it comes to weight loss, protein reigns supreme. The body burns calories while metabolizing the protein you eat, plus, a high-protein diet can make you feel fuller, longer which leads to less between-meal-snacking. Something as simple as swapping your daily bagel for a high-protein breakfast, like eggs, can stave off mid-morning hunger and reduce your intake of unnecessary calories throughout the day.

Eat whole foods

No, we don’t mean a whole pizza. Whole foods are single ingredient foods that come directly from nature. Think vegetables, fruits, nuts or anything that grows right out of the ground. By eating whole foods, you can easily avoid eating excess sugar and added fat and give your body essential nutrients that it needs to function. Bonus: whole foods tend to be naturally very filling making it a lot easier to keep your calorie intake in check.

Drink more water

Studies show drinking a 16-ounce glass of water 30 minutes before each meal will drastically reduce the number of calories consumed. American’s eat about 15 teaspoons of added sugar each day and our brains don’t register liquid calories the same way it does solid calories, so replacing your sugary, processed beverages with a nice refreshing glass of H2O will also help to keep you from double dipping on those food and beverage calories.

Size matters

Swapping your dinner plate for a salad plate can help you eat less because visually it changes how you see portion sizes. If you tend to be the type of person who piles food to the edge of your plate, you will consume much less even if you do the same on a smaller plate. And color matters too. Scientists have found having a high color contrast between your food and your plate can trick your brain into eating less.

Instead of focusing on losing weight and taking away foods that you can’t eat, look instead at what nourishing your body with healthy foods and nutrients will add to your life. Dieting has a negative connotation and almost always fails in the long run, but if you adjust your thinking to improving your lifestyle and your relationship with food, you will be sure to succeed.