You could throw in the towel and blame everything on your gene pool, or you could take the time to learn what it is that separates the slim folks from the rest.
The truth is, there are some habits of people who always stay fit that you should incorporate into your daily routine. They go well beyond transforming your body:
They’re about embracing a whole new way of life.
1. They Start Their Days Early
Early bird gets the worm – or, in this case, a fit body.
Instead of letting sleep inertia get the best of them, they use the extra time each morning to exercise, meditate, and have a healthy breakfast, among other things. And, more importantly, they stick to it during the weekend, as well!
The number one habit you need to work on is changing your sleep pattern.
But before you set your alarm one hour earlier than usual, be sure that you move your bedtime, as well. You should still aim to get the recommended amount of sleep each night.
Stick around to find out why!
2. They Don’t Skip Breakfast
I know I risk sounding like your mom here, but:
“Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.“
And while there are plenty of reasons why you should never skip breakfast. These include a reduced risk of heart disease, enhanced cognitive functions, and a reduced risk of diabetes. But I’ll focus on the one that probably interests you the most:
It helps keep the weight off for good.
However, eating breakfast isn’t a magic weight management solution – your food choices still play a significant role:
Aim to have a healthy, wholesome meal consisting of proteins, healthy fats, whole grains, and fiber, first thing in the morning.
3. They Don’t Shy Away from Routine
Whether you admit it or not, humans are creatures of habit.
I’m not talking about fully scheduled days, of course, but bringing a little structure and organization to your daily life couldn’t hurt.
Starting your day with a plan means you’re planning on getting things done and accomplishing something. This automatically leads to a more positive outlook on life. It is an often overlooked, but important factor for improving your health and wellness.
And just like any other chain reaction, the more happy and optimistic you feel, the more likely you are to engage in healthful habits.
4. They Truly Enjoy Exercise
Most fit people don’t fall into the category of die-hard fitness fanatics. However, they still make an effort to include exercise into their daily life – and you should, too.
Seriously, if there’s one habit you should pick up, it’s this one.
Whether it’s yoga, running, or hitting the gym for a resistance training session, the trick is in finding something that you truly enjoy. And don’t mind doing – even if it’s Sunday, even if you’re on vacation, even if your favorite show is on.
Continue reading, and you’ll see what I mean.
5. They’re Active Outside the Gym, Too
Generally speaking, fit people choose to spend their free time doing something, rather than doing nothing. They do this because they respect their body and its needs more than anything else. They think of movement as a way of life, not a means to an end.
You’ll rarely catch a fit person spending their free time slouching in front of the TV.
They’re too busy having fun outside, be it by going on a hike, riding a bike, or simply walking around the park, and enjoying the fresh air.
6. They Eat “Real Foods”
Sure, it’s nice to order some take-out or go to a restaurant every once in a while, but as it turns out, one of the many habits of people who always stay fit is that they generally prefer a home-cooked, whole-foods meal over anything else.
That said, two things should be on your daily menu are:
Protein, which reduces hunger, increases feelings of fullness and helps you consume fewer calories throughout the day.
Fiber, and viscous fiber in particular, which helps you feel fuller for longer by forming a gel, increasing nutrient absorption time, and slowing down the emptying of the stomach at the same time.
7. They Know Better Than To Make Unrealistic Diet Changes
In a perfect world, you’d eat a 100-percent clean diet. You’d also stick to it at all times. But we both know that’s not how the real world works.
Fit people know that staying slim isn’t about drastically restricting their calorie intake or cutting specific food groups out of their diet. It’s about finding what works in the long run, and embracing the right mindset:
Eat everything in moderation.
8. They Drink Plenty of Water
Heart and lung function, digestion, body temperature regulation, joint lubrication, and anything else that goes on inside your body requires one vital nutrient – water.
After all, it’s common knowledge that the human body is around 60 percent water.
But did you know that drinking more water throughout the day – and especially before a meal – affects not only your hydration levels but your weight, as well?
More importantly, when it comes to water-drinking habits of people who always stay fit, it seems that they’re more likely to swap calorie-packed drinks for water, too.
9. They Don’t Need a Reason to Get In Shape
One of the habits of people who always stay fit is that they tend to prioritize their health and fitness – even when it seems like there are not enough hours in the day to get everything done.
Unfortunately, though, most of us only remember to watch our diets or hit the gym when we have an important event coming up in a few weeks.
You shouldn’t need a date on the calendar to motivate you to take care of yourself – the fact that you only have one body should be a reason enough!
10. They Understand the Importance of a Good Night’s Rest
You can embrace a clean diet and an active lifestyle, but if you fail to keep your sleeping pattern in check, all your efforts go straight through the window.
There’s a quite intimate relationship between sleeping comfortably and fitness:
When you’re sleep deprived (and more than a third of adults are), your hormone levels take a severe blow. This includes those vital for keeping your body fit and healthy – hunger hormones, ghrelin and leptin, growth hormone, and insulin.
Related Content: How Important is Sleep for Women’s Health?
Final Thoughts about Staying Fit
If getting to the end of this list of habits of people who always stay fit left you feeling a bit overwhelmed, take a deep breath and relax – no one expects you to start implementing all these new habits at once.
Rome wasn’t built in a day.
Tackle one aspect of your daily life at a time, ditch the fad diet mentality, and take as much time as you need:
You’re building life-long habits here – and that’s a journey, not a race.
Ruaan Nel is an electrical engineer living in Olso, Norway. He is the owner of FitnessPurity.com and is addicted to powerlifting (although not very good at it). He spends most of his time (and money) obsessing about exercise equipment, workout routines and staying fit.