With the New Year around the corner, more and more people will try and look for the overnight magic to happen.

I must disappoint them though; there are no magic foods, no magic pills, no waist trainers, and no magic workouts to get the body you want. There are so many diets around, and I have tried probably all of them, but the best diet is the one you can sustain long term.

Plenty of diets, particularly low carb and low fat, can make you feel really miserable. Could you live long term on shakes, low carb or without your favourite cake? Probably, not. Save your money before you invest into some magic protein shakes, or meal replacements. Eat real food, and whey protein will do the trick cheaper if you fancy something sweet.

The Internet is full of great information and believe me, it’s not that hard to find it for free.

Healthy for me is different what healthy is for you. To me, healthy is to live in balance, to eat nutritious foods but have the odd treat as well. To me, healthy isn’t to binge but to have a good relationship with food. To me detoxing isn’t healthy, as you either starve yourself or miss out on macronutrients like fat or protein.

I don’t do cheat meals or cheat days. To me, having a piece or two of pizza isn’t cheating if it actually fits in to my macros and if all the micronutrients and vitamin requirements are met. I do not eat pizza every day. Sometimes people think that flexible dieters just eat crap, but they don’t. There is no way to get all the vitamins and micronutrients just from processed food and there is no way to reach your protein just from that.

So what do I eat? Everything! If I fancy bread, I add it to my daily allowance. If I fancy my favourite chocolate, than I add it to it too. Sometimes it’s just a small piece, not the whole pack, but it does the job. I eat real food and my food consists from 80-90% unprocessed foods. Chicken, vegetables, fresh fruits, potatoes, rice, pitta breads, peanut butter, dairy and oats are always on the menu for me. No foods are off limit but all foods have a limit, that’s my guidance.

Unfortunately, the more you restrict, the more you will run into arms of binge eating and feeling guilty about it and starting again. Believe me, I have been there and therefore I don’t think that eating healthily should be restricted just to certain foods. The same goes for meal plans where you eat the same food every day. These are another way to encourage binge eating. Meal plans can be OK at the start but definitely not long term.

If you are following a meal plan, you may not be able to handle eating out or make adjustments on your diet. Therefore, it’s not sustainable, and you don’t actually learn how to sustain your lifestyle long term. I always say that eating the foods you enjoy and have some flexibility can make dieting more enjoyable and less restricting. Read the last sentence again. That’s one of the main reasons why I succeeded.

Healthy eating should be enjoyable and nutritious as well. I love to eat homemade, minimally-processed food. I really do enjoy cooking and like to know what I exactly put into the meal. However there are times when you just need to grab something quick and easy. It’s easy these days to make a choice and eat better. Lately I have seen some amazing ready meals with great macro breakdown as well, and surprisingly very high protein, which is always a plus.

The choice is up to you. If you constantly restrict, or restrict during the week and then binge at the weekend and can’t stop, that’s not healthy. If you fancy something, have it, or make a healthier version of it. There is always a way. I really do love Reese’s chocolate, but there are days when there is room just for a small one, there are days when I don’t have any, and there are days when I make my own version of them.

If you are planning to do something for yourself, don’t give yourself massive goals. Start slowly. Give yourself a little goal for every month. Like this it will be easier to keep yourself motivated.

Don’t try and cut out all the carbs straight away, your body needs them. Rather than starving, reduce alcohol, processed food and start to eat more vegetables and lean meat and don’t forget about healthy fats too. Your hormones will be thankful for them.

As for exercise there is no need to rush into the gym straight away. Go for walks. Purchase a pedometer and try to walk every week a little bit more. Give yourself challenges, or try a Fitbit. I personally love mine, add me under dangerousmissk and we can challenge each other.

You can also exercise in the comfort of your home with bodyweight training, resistance bands or with kettlebells. Don’t forget, every little helps at the start. Weight training will help you to build muscle and have less loose skin if you have lot to lose.

People often ask me why don’t I have loose skin from my weight loss. That’s because weight training is a priority for me. If you enjoy doing cardio, do it but add weight training or resistance training and don’t forget to eat. Cardio is just a tool, not a must. If you lose weight, reward yourself with a new item of clothing, some cosmetics or something nice. Don’t reward yourself with food, you are not a dog. You can easily undo all the hard work that way.

I’m one of those who a few years ago gave myself a first ever New Year’s resolution to lose weight and succeeded. You can do it, if you really want it and if you are willing to don’t give up when the first storm approaches. Small steps towards the goal are better than no steps. The longer you leave it and postpone doing something for yourself and your health, the harder it will be to start. As a yo-yo dieter, I always seemed to have more weight to lose after each diet. Don’t wait for tomorrow, start now. Believe me, losing weight is not that hard. For a woman, it’s harder to build muscle.

The recipes I post on Dangerous Kitchen are things I eat daily. I won’t share my own macros totals as I know how we women like to copy others and some would probably start using those numbers. You can also see my daily food on Instagram at @dangerousmissk.