New science shows that the body will fight to stay at its current weight, so when you lose a bunch it may seem hard to keep it off. Weight loss in general is a grueling task, mentally and physically, that everyone seems to be obsessed with these days. But there is a correct way to lose body weight, and keep it off long term.

We asked 7 weight loss experts their advice for people who are trying to lose weight. Here are their top tips for what works when it comes to trimming off that extra fat.

Acquire a Realistic Goal Weight

Dr. Jaideep Behari, associate professor of medicine at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, says this “Aim to achieve and improve health and reach a psychologically ‘happy weight,’ not an unrealistic ‘ideal’ weight that may be impossible to reach for most.” Dr. Jaideep Behari, associate professor of medicine at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine

Avoid Sugary Drinks, Not Just Soda

Dr. Dean Schillinger, chief of the University of California, San Francisco Division of General Internal Medicine suggests, “Avoid all sugary drinks, as they provide ’empty calories’ that don’t fill you up. The sugar may uniquely act on the liver to produce belly fat.” Dr. Dean Schillinger, chief of the University of California, San Francisco Division of General Internal Medicine

Do Your Research

Dr. Lawrence J. Appel, director of the Welch Center for Prevention, Epidemiology, and Clinical Research at Johns Hopkins University says “The culprit is not bad choices by individuals. It is the toxic food environment in which calories are ubiquitous. Until the food environment changes, everyone must become aware of the calories they consume, especially those from beverages, sweets, and other calorie-dense foods.” Dr. Lawrence J. Appel, director of the Welch Center for Prevention, Epidemiology, and Clinical Research at Johns Hopkins University

Counting Calories Isn’t The Best Strategy

Dr. David S. Ludwig, professor of nutrition at Harvard Medical School, suggests, “The ‘calorie in, calorie out’ approach fails, because it disregards how food affects our hormones and metabolism. Pay attention to food quality.”

Make a Lifestyle Change

“People need to have the mindset of someone who is ready and willing to make some permanent changes in the way they live. A number of treatments can create short-term weight loss without a great deal of effort from the person, but they don’t allow for long-term weight loss.” Says Dr. Michael Jensen, obesity researcher at the Mayo Clinic.

Avoid Sugary Drinks, Not Just Soda

Dr. Dean Schillinger, chief of the University of California, San Francisco Division of General Internal Medicine, says this “Avoid all sugary drinks, as they provide ’empty calories’ that don’t fill you up. The sugar may uniquely act on the liver to produce belly fat.”

Eat The Food You Love

Susan B. Roberts, professor of nutrition at Tufts University and founder of iDiet, says “You need a program that satisfies hunger and has good food so it doesn’t feel like a diet. Hunger erodes willpower, and that’s the reason most diets fail.” Susan B. Roberts, professor of nutrition at Tufts University and founder of iDiet

Moderation Is Key

“A person can eat almost anything they want, but the portion size has to be appropriate. For example, eat dinner on a salad plate rather than a dinner plate to cut the portion size in half.” Says Melinda L. Irwin, professor of epidemiology at Yale School of Public Health.