There are no shortcuts when it comes to losing weight in a safe and healthy way. But there are a few tips and techniques that can help you shed a few pounds without crash dieting or depriving yourself of fulfilling treats that you love. Here are our top tricks:

1. Cut out sugary beverages. Try switching to soda water when you’re craving something carbonated. Even diet drinks can contribute to weight gain when you drink them in excess. Sweet drinks are one of the top causes for weight gain or an inability to lose weight. Which is why we also advise that you…

2. Eliminate alcohol. Many calories are hidden in what you might consider fairly safe beverages that you only have once in awhile—especially wine with dinner or any cocktails that include soda or sweet mixers. Some drinks are better than others, such as choosing a low-carb beer instead of something full-bodied. But remember, it’s called “beer belly” for a reason!

3. Carry a healthy snack with you at all times. Some items, such as cereal bars, are great to keep in your purse or in the car. This way, when you’re on the go and get hit with hunger, instead of hitting the drive-through you have a healthy alternative on hand. This can also save you money! Double points.

4. Break up your meals. Start with a big breakfast and then slowly ebb off eating every few hours with smaller bites throughout the day. An apple, a handful of nuts or a cereal bar between meals will help you eat less, and you won’t have to think about eating as much, either. Keep yourself from ever getting really, really hungry, which is when you can cave to cravings and make poor eating choices.

5. Drink lots of water. This simple point cannot be emphasized enough! Most adults don’t drink enough H2O. The recommended amount is about eight glasses a day. Drinking water all day will stave off hunger and is exceptionally good for your health. This is of utmost importance before, during and after your workout routine at the gym.