Let’s be honest – one of the things we would all like is to be able to eat whatever we want and as much as we want without worrying about our weight. You can exercise six times a week and spend hours at the gym, but unless you pay attention to your diet, the results won’t live up to your expectations. If you’re hoping to stay slim and fit and still be able to indulge every now and then, here’s what you could try to make it happen:

Baby steps

Nothing happens overnight, and if you really want to see a permanent result, you need to make changes in your lifestyle. Of course, this is easier said than done, and you might want to take things slow at first. In the beginning, you could try cutting down on your calorie intake every day. It doesn’t have to be much, even a hundred calories less per day will make a huge difference, and by the end of the month, you could lose a pound. This can be achieved by making one or two simple changes to your diet at first, and build your way up as the year progresses. Start by swapping your semi-skimmed milk for skimmed one, not adding sugar to your coffee, and drinking water instead of a soda.

Do your research

Every now and then we will go out to eat with our friends and family, and when we’re eating out, it’s easy to forget about our goals and decisions and to order fast food and load up on sweets. To avoid this, you could always ask where you’ll be eating and check out the menu in advance so you know what you’ll order. Also, you can always ask if you could have double the serving size of vegetables when you order a dish. This will mean that you’ll eat enough to feel full but it will be fresh veggies instead of several slices of bread.

Prepare your meals

On the other hand, the best thing you can do for your health and your diet is to plan and prepare your meals in advance when you’re cooking at home. You know what ingredients you’re using and you can prepare the dish exactly the way you like it. What is more, you can also use healthier cooking methods if you’re cooking at home: less deep fried options and more meals you’ve baked in an oven, for example. For this reason, Viking professional range burners are very popular among people who prefer to prepare their meals at home. Home-cooked meals mean less junk and processed foods in your life, fewer calories, and more nutrients.

Keep a food diary

This is a great way to start your weight loss journey and keep your weight in check. You can start by writing down everything you’ve eaten over the course of one week, and make sure you include all the little snacks alongside your main meals. It might be tricky to do at first because we tend to forget all the snacks we nibbled on while commuting or reading. This will allow you to get a general idea of what your diet looks like and you’ll be able to see where you can make effective changes. The easiest ones should be dealt with first – swap your bacon sandwich for an avocado toast or porridge for breakfast and start drinking diet sodas if you don’t want to stop drinking them immediately.

Eat more protein

In order to boost your metabolism and build muscle mass, you should try including more protein foods in your diet. Not only do protein foods contain fewer calories, but they help reduce the feeling of hunger at the same time. If you’re exercising, these foods will help you build and repair muscles after strenuous workout sessions, and as a result, you’ll be stronger and have more muscle mass. The healthiest options include lean proteins which are low in saturated and trans fats: lentils, beans, chickpeas, seeds and different kinds of nuts.

Nibble on healthy snacks

Completely giving up snacks is difficult but you don’t have to do that in order to get the best results. You can try preparing your own healthy snacks at home: fresh fruit dipped in melted dark chocolate and raw honey will satisfy your desire for sweets, and you can bake your own chips in the oven instead of buying bags of chips in a store.

There are many reasons why people want to lose weight, but the most important thing is to try maintaining a healthy weight because of your health. When you keep your weight in check, you’ll find it easier to manage different medical conditions like diabetes or high blood pressure. What is more, you’ll notice that you have more energy to complete your daily tasks, so it’s good to remind yourself of your motives often.