There are some people who stay in shape over the course of many years. No matter what, they find time to exercise, and they possess the discipline to control their eating habits. Then there are the rest of us, who are a little less consistent. We struggle to master our cravings and make ourselves get off the couch and get moving each day. Those of us who stay focused for a week or two and then fall off the bandwagon can mimic the habits of consistent people to stay healthier and to increase our levels of fitness.
Staying hydrated is key to keeping your weight low. When you are even slightly dehydrated, your body clings to every gram of water it can, making you feel bloated and look pudgy. Don’t sip on sodas, even diet ones, or sweetened beverages all day long. Grab a large, refillable water bottle, and make it a habit to sip water all day long.
For most of us, the word diet means “restrictive eating.” Fit people know that the key to staying in shape is to develop a life-long habit of healthy eating that is not dependent on the latest fad diet. Whether your body does better on Atkins, Paleo, a Vegan diet, or something else, stick to it as a permanent lifestyle change, rather than a temporary trend.
Active, fit, and healthy people know that they will have more energy for each day when they are well-rested. Being well-rested means that you will have more stamina at the gym and you will have more control over your food cravings. Science has proven that when people don’t get enough sleep, they struggle with weight loss and carb cravings. Get some zzz’s to make sure you stay fit and trim.
Those who manage a long-term fitness know that it is okay to indulge yourself in moderation. So don’t be surprised if you see your super-fit friend cut herself a wedge of cake. It’s probably the only indulgence she will splurge on that week, but she knows that she can enjoy life and stay fit because she’s earned an occasional treat.
Those who stay fit long-term enjoy moving their bodies. They are the ones who take the stairs at work, pace the hallways while on the phone, and don’t mind parking far from the store. They include physical activity in just about every part of their lives.
Those who stay in shape for years don’t make the way that other people look the focus of their fitness goals. They are able to celebrate their own milestones, and they realize that no one has the perfect body. Comparing yourself to others will only discourage you, so don’t make the way that other people look and act your yard-stick for good health.
While you probably don’t want to dump your good friends who are unhealthy, finding friends who share an enthusiasm for eating correctly and exercising helps maintain motivation for staying fit. It’s really hard to stay in shape when everyone you know is sitting on the couch eating pizza. Finding a fitness buddy who understands the struggles and will encourage you in your goals can make a huge difference in your fitness level.
Healthy, fit people don’t just eat “good” food and avoid “bad” foods. They actually understand the difference that clean eating makes in the way that they feel and the way that they perform at the gym. It makes it a whole lot easier to turn down a fast food meal when you remember how gross you will feel later and how you will be sluggish and tired in your evening exercise class.