If shedding a few pounds is your goal, you should know that not all weight loss is created equal. Your focus should be on burning fat, not muscle, and a lot of the fad diets out there don’t discriminate between what pounds you are dropping. For a healthy way to lose weight, here are six tips to follow for optimal fat loss results.

I’m going to guess you’ve seen these before… but are you putting them into practice. That’s when the magic happens.

If you’re just starting your journey to a healthy lifestyle and seeking fat loss:

Focus on 1 or 2 of these tips and get really good at them. Once you do, add another.

If you’ve been on this journey but feel like you’re stuck…

Chances are you haven’t been keeping up with these tips as well as you may think. Reset. Master 2 of the tips. When you do, add another and another. When you master these tips – fat loss comes much easier.

Drink more water

Not only is water calorie free, it also works as an appetite suppressant. Drinking water before meals will make you feel fuller, reducing the amount of food you eat. Water also boosts metabolism causing your body to burn calories at a higher rate. Try following the 8×8 rule. Drink at least eight eight-ounce glasses of water each day, or more if you are physically active.

Cut back on added sugar

Consumption of added sugar has been linked to an increased risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes. It’s one of the worst ingredients in our modern diet, and unfortunately, it’s found in many prepackaged foods, even those labeled as “healthy”. Read the ingredients on any packaged foods and make sure it’s devoid of words like high fructose corn syrup, glucose and basically anything that ends with an “-ose” (that means sugar).

Drink green tea

Green tea is packed with powerful antioxidants and is believed to aid in fat burning. While any green tea is good, Matcha is the richest in nutrients and antioxidants. Just be sure not to load it up with sugar!

Use smaller plates

Using a salad plate for your meals instead of a dinner plate has been shown to lower calorie consumption and help manage portion control. Automatically, you have to reduce the amount of food it takes to fill your plate, so if you don’t go back for seconds, you will reduce your calorie intake.

Keep healthy snacks close by

To avoid running for the vending machine when that 3:00 pm crash hits, make sure you keep healthy snacks close by when the munchies strike. Foods with protein or fiber such as nuts, hard boiled eggs, whole fruit and plain yogurt are all great options that will keep you going until dinner.

Lift weights

Resistance exercises, such as weight lifting, can help keep your metabolism high and prevent you from losing muscle mass. Muscle tissue burns more calories – even at rest – than fat does, so the more muscle you have, the more calories you will burn.

What are your favorite tips or tricks to avoid giving into your cravings?