January has faded into the distance, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get started with your weight-loss plan now. However, it’s important that you embark on your healthy journey in a way that will yield results in a safe way. This means no crash diets or nutrient-depriving juice cleanses. Here are some tips on how you can shed the weight safely and successfully.

Go Slow

In the case of weight loss, slow and steady does in fact win the race. It took you months or even years to put that weight on, so it’s going to take just as long getting it off. If you try to rush this process you could end up hurting yourself.

To keep yourself losing at a steady pace, set small goals that you can accomplish every week or month, rather than one large goal that you’re in a rush to reach. For example, if you burn 500 calories more than what you eat everyday for a week, you can safely expect a 7-day weight loss of 1 to 2 pounds. The amount you can lose fluctuates depending on your current weight, so it could be more or less.

In general, however, a safe weight loss at this rate can lead to 8 to 10 pounds lost every month. If you start now, you can be down 40 pounds by bikini season. The key here is staying focused on your workout and diet regimen.

Eat Whole Foods

fusion food, fruit and vegetable salad in colorful cup with wholDrugstore shelves are filled with quick weight loss solutions, or so they seem to be. However, many of them aren’t safe; as WebMD says, “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is,” because the FDA does not scrutinize these “diet supplements” with the same attention they do prescription drugs. As a result, some of them can be fatal.

Instead, fill up on whole foods. Not only will they help you shed unwanted weight, but you’ll feel full longer. Not a fan of vegetables? Here are some tasty ways to cook them:

  • Stir-Fry peppers, onions and broccoli in a pan with low-sodium soy sauce, olive oil, and pepper. Toss them on a bed of rice or soba noodles for a healthy alternative to fat-laden Chinese takeout.
  • Scramble green onions, black beans, and salsa with eggs. Top this with half an avocado and enjoy.
  • Put kale, carrots, mixed berries, a banana, organic fruit juice and water in a blender for a morning smoothie packed with nutrients.

Drink Plenty of Water

It’s so simple, yet too many people are under hydrated. Drinking helps keep your skin clear and allows toxins pass through your liver and out of your body—when it comes to safe weight loss, water is ideal. It’s also necessary if workouts are now a part of your daily routine and you lose water through sweat. Don’t love the idea of chugging water every day? Add a lemon, which helps to cleanse toxins from your body, as well.