A sluggish metabolism can stand between you and your weight loss goals. Don’t surrender to the slow down; fight back! These tips can be a big part of your winning strategy for success in the weight loss war.

Workout in the morning
You are more likely to actually get your workout in when you do it in the morning, before the obligations of the day get in the way. It doesn’t help your metabolism at all to skip your workout because you’re too busy later. Working out in the morning also gives you a boost of energy to carry you through your day with more movement.

Move more all day
Being sedentary is a good way to keep that metabolism moving at a snail’s pace. Speed it up by getting up. Stand when you take calls. Walk to lunch, take the stairs and twiddle your thumbs. It isn’t only the 30 minutes or so you exercise that helps with metabolism and calorie burning it is also how active you are the other 23 hours each day. Ramp up your NEAT (or non-exercise activity thermogenesis) factor to ramp up your metabolism.

Food sources of protein, including cheese, lentils, red and white meat, kidney beans, fish, tuna, nuts and eggs.

Eat more protein
Include protein with all meals and snacks. Protein helps you feel more satisfied so you eat less now and are less likely to binge later. Include complex carbs and fiber, too. Slow digesting foods prevent sugar spikes and help you feel more balanced. Hunger and irritability will quickly become excuses to treat yourself to foods that don’t support your goal. It is ok to work in some of the things you love in moderation just plan ahead so you don’t overdo it.

Drink plenty of water
Dehydration slows metabolism. Take in fluids regularly to keep your metabolism humming along. Diet drinks don’t count. They may actually contribute to weight gain. You should also eat throughout the day. Skipping meals slows metabolism. Instead, aim for a healthy breakfast (don’t forget your protein…think scrambled eggs on a whole wheat tortilla with salsa or a few spinach leaves or Greek yogurt with berries); have a midmorning snack (one ounce of cheese and a handful of nuts or an apple and a tablespoon of peanut butter); lunch (turkey wrap with hummus, cucumbers and red peppers); a protein bar for snack and dinner.

Manage stress
Unmanaged stress throws everything out of whack. Regularly engage in activities that restore you. You are more likely to overeat, sleep poorly and skip exercise when you don’t practice good self-care.

A stoked metabolism is your weapon in the weight loss war. To give yours a fighting chance move more all day, stay hydrated, and exercise regularly.