Fad diets can be incredibly detrimental to your health. They’re only capable of creating short-term results, and mostly only lead to temporary water loss. Moreover, when it comes to maintaining a robust metabolism, crash dieting does far more harm than good. Sadly, feelings of low self-worth often lie at the heart of a tendency to use fad diets. Many people feel as though they’d be more lovable and better able to love themselves if they could only drop enough pounds. But what if the true secret to weight loss lies in learning to love yourself right now, just as you are? With a healthy self-image, you can establish sustainable life habits that help you reach your weight loss goals, and maintain them. Following are five ways to love your body that actually work.

1. Get Rid of the Naysayers
Stop surrounding yourself with people who don’t believe in you, and who constantly undermine your self-esteem. Odds are, you probably don’t need help belittling yourself, or tearing your goals and aspirations down. You’ll feel more positive about who you are and what you can accomplish when you begin spending time with loving and supportive friends. Recognize that you’re worth having good, kind-hearted people in your life. The more negative people that you surround yourself with; the harder it will be to correct your mindset and habits.

2. Actively Fight Against Negative Thinking
Pay attention to what you say about yourself out loud, and to how you actively think about yourself when facing temptations or challenges. Stop calling yourself weak, worthless, fat, and undesirable. Instead, speak positive affirmations over your life, your weight loss efforts, and what you can do. If you have a hard time believing these things, say and think them anyway. By purposefully changing how you view, think, and speak about yourself, you’ll be programming your mind and body for success.

3. Dress Like You’re Already Thin
Being overweight can make people feel so badly about themselves that they stop making any real effort with their appearances. It’s important to note that poor self-care often leads to depression. Worse still, depression and overeating go hand-in-hand. Dressing up and looking good isn’t just for people who are undeniably fit. Start purchasing clothes that fit and compliment your body. Don’t wait until you reach a specific size to groom your hair, wear accessories that make you feel good, or dress and walk with confidence. Studies show that how you dress can actually have an impact on your overall performance. When you feel good about how you look, you’ll have more energy, more determination, and more emotional strength. You’re less apt to be depressed, socially isolated, or waiting for better days to start living your best life right. Not only should you treat yourself to well-fitted and eye-catching everyday wear, like these men’s jockstraps, but you should also invest in workout clothes that make you feel good.

4. Engage in Fitness Activities That Immediately Elevate You
Rather than cutting out entire food groups or drastically limiting calories, make exercise the cornerstone of your weight loss plan. Routine workouts can actually make you want to eat better. Conversely, trying to subsist on insufficient fat and calories will sap both your energy and your will. Instead of pushing yourself to complete exercises that are grueling, painful, or far too challenging for your current fitness level, engage in activities that you enjoy, and that make you feel good right now. Taking long walks or bike rides are both great ways to alleviate emotional angst and stress. These activities will give you a chance to clear your head, build your respiratory endurance in a safe and comfortable way, and ramp up your metabolism. You can even schedule rock climbing classes, go rollerskating with friends, or take dance classes at a nearby studio. When physical exercise is both uplifting and fun, you won’t have to force yourself to do it.

5. Make a List of Your Attributes and Read It Daily
Start a journal that’s all about listing your attributes. Spend time each day crafting a running list that details all of your best qualities. You might be someone who never gives up, who always thinks of others, or who’s especially talented in a specific area. Creating this list and regularly reviewing it will help you achieve the positive mindset that’s necessary for long-term success in weight loss. It will also support your efforts to identify the positive and meaningful relationships in your life, and to spot and eliminate the ones that are degrading and emotionally harmful.

Lasting success in weight loss is rarely about deprivation. You can’t build a solid foundation for good health on self-hatred. Instead, you have to start recognizing yourself as being worthy of looking good, feeling good, and living a happy and productive life right now. With these tips, you can enter a positive space where balanced eating and regular exercise are guaranteed to produce impressive results.