Since you’re reading this, it’s probably safe to assume that you have a fairly strong interest in being fit and healthy. Although the truth is, fitness is not achieved by knocking out one killer workout or eating one healthy meal. Being truly fit is the result of a complete lifestyle. Thankfully, building that lifestyle doesn’t need to be as difficult as it might sound. In reality, a lifestyle – any lifestyle – is the result of a series of habits that collectively point you in a specific direction. Now that that’s established, here are five habits that can help you get started and stay fit.
- Slow Down – Your feelings of hunger and fullness are actually the result of a fairly complex system of communication between your stomach and your brain. Therefore, it takes some time for your stomach to get messages all the way up to your head. When you eat quickly, these messages can’t get there fast enough. So, before you know it, you’ve overeaten. To get past this potential obstacle, simply eat slower. A 2008 study, published in the Journal of the American Dietetics Association, found that just eating slower led to both fewer calories consumed and greater feelings of satisfaction once the meal was over.
- Cook at Home – When your busy – which is probably just about always the case – it can be very tempting to just grab some fast food. It’s no secret, though, that restaurant meals tend to be loaded with salt, fat and a surprising amount of calories. A 2013 study out of John’s Hopkins University found that home cooked meals tend to be healthier than those bought out. The study also showed that people who generally eat at home weigh less and are typically healthier.
- Don’t Drink Your Calories – Sugar is pretty pervasive in the American diet. It’s not all that shocking that in 2005 researchers at Tufts University identified sugary beverages as the main source of calories in the American diet. Cutting out these drinks can go a long way toward keeping your daily calorie intake within healthy bounds.
- Plan Ahead – One of the biggest obstacles people face when trying to be healthy is a lack of time. If you try to exercise or eat well when it’s convenient, chances are you won’t get it done with any regularity – if at all. So, get in the habit of planning out both your meals and workouts well ahead of time. Once you have this in mind, physically write it down on your calendar.
- Activity Over Exercise – It’s very possible that you despise the gym and dread your workouts. At the same time, you might love to play basketball or garden. Remember that your body is burning calories and building strength and endurance whenever you’re up and moving – not just at the gym. Find a healthy, challenging activity that you love and stick with it. You’ll also be more likely to workout if you tailor your training to support this other activity.
Ultimately, these are just a few of the many little habits you can cultivate to build a fit lifestyle. To learn more about staying healthy and fit, visit our additional blog articles on the topic such as Training Without Weights or 3 Tips for Staying Motivated for Your Workouts.