Americans are working out more than ever, yet obesity rates are on the rise. Clearly the relationship between exercise, diet, and weight loss is a complex one.

To help demystify the interconnection and shed light on ways that have been proven to be effective for long-term results we turned to Alex Fell, co-founder of Warrior Fitness Boot Camp, an indoor obstacle course workout based on United States Marine Corps training. Here is his take on the five most effective weight loss strategies, all backed by science.

Pack In the Protein

A balanced diet is crucial for healthy weight loss, but it’s especially important to get enough protein.  Protein builds muscle, and building muscle speeds up your metabolism, which will ultimately help you lose weight. By replacing carbs and fat with protein you’ll also boost several satiety hormones, while reducing those that cause hunger. Try incorporating protein into snacks with easy options like Greek yogurt and healthy nut butters for an extra boost.

Reinvigorate Your Routine

People tend to favor one type of exercise, so when looking to lose weight, it’s important to prioritize strength training and not just cathartic cardio workouts. Varying your workouts creates muscle confusion and ultimately stimulates growth. Muscle confusion also works to pinpoint your weak spots and helps reduce boredom making it more likely that you’ll stick with your routine.

H2O For Health

Drink lots of water. Countless studies have shown that drinking enough water can aid weight loss and it’s an easy adjustment that often gets overlooked. Not only will it help you feel full and moderate your food intake, but your skin, muscles and digestion will benefit as well. Eliminate sodas and juices — which are full of sugar — and grab a glass of water instead.

Share Your Success

With the influx of social media sharing, studies have begun to find that showcasing your results leads to greater success with fitness goals. Not only does this hold you accountable (and motivated) to stay the course, but it also keeps you aware of important milestones along the way.  Letting your intentions be known, even if you’re confiding in just one person will help you keep track of your progress and stick with it.

Stay Consistent

Discipline is the key to getting the results you’re after. Success is centered around establishing a plan that you can stay with for a significant period of time, not something that is too extreme to be sustainable. Make a workout calendar or meal plan so that you have a road map to follow. It’s important to note that exercise burns far fewer calories and takes more time than most people think, so don’t quit just because your results aren’t instantaneous.

Want more resources for successful, healthy weight loss? Read on:

Don’t Let Cravings Derail Your Diet

10 Tips For Eating Healthy On A Budget

Emotional Eating: Comfort Food or Dangerous Addiction?