Before you dive into the list, I want to clarify one thing: when I talk about lean people, I'm not referring to the 1% of the population that can eat like a garbage truck and stay lean thanks to superior genes or superpowers. I'm talking about all of the people who stay lean and fit as a result of consciously making healthy choices on daily basis. So here we go!
7 habits of lean people:
1. They move daily.
People who are in a great shape and maintain a healthy body composition make movement part of their daily routine. From walking with friends during the week, hiking in the weekends, bike riding, gardening, yoga, stretching, running errands, they find ways to stay busy everyday, not just when they are at the gym. They never spend their whole vacations lying on the beach and sipping on pina coladas. They are snorkeling, paddle boarding, kayaking, scuba diving, you name it. They are also usually the first ones in line to book excursions.
2. They rarely snack.
Most lean people don't snack. They usually stick to 3 to 4 well rounded meals a day (protein, fats, carbs) . It allows them to have a satisfying meal that keeps them full for hours and keeps their blood sugar leveled. Eating more frequently doesn't burn more calories or provide any extra metabolic benefit. Research shows that the more frequently people eat, the higher their total calorie intake tends to be.
3. They eat protein with every meal.
I'm pretty sure I don't need to say this but protein consumption has a direct correlation to body composition. You cannot build or maintain lean mass without consuming adequate protein. Additionally protein is very satiating, so you don't need to eat a ton of it to feel full. It doesn't matter whether it's coming from animal or plant sources, just make sure you get a good variety. Meat, poultry, fish, game, shellfish, cottage cheese, greek yogurt, tofu, protein supplements are all high sources of protein. If you are vegan or vegetarian, majority of your protein will be coming from sprouted breads, sprouted beans, legumes, vegetables, and plant-based protein supplements.
4. They prioritize sleep and manage their stress levels.
Lean people know the value of a good night sleep and taking days off when necessary. Getting at least 7 hours of uninterrupted sleep plays a crucial role in one's health. They also actively engage in stress reducing activities such as meditating, praying, yoga, exercising, reading, listening to music, walking outside, working on your hobby. Oh, and they also take naps!
5. They drink mostly calorie-free liquids.
Besides an occasional glass of wine or beer, healthy people stick to calorie-free drinks such as water, seltzer, unsweetened teas and black coffee.
A lot of my clients when they first come to see me don't even realize how much calories they are consuming in liquid form (sometimes it's is as much as 50%). Coffee with cream and sugar at home, latte from Starbucks after a workout, ice tea with lunch, another cup of coffee in the afternoon, frozen margarita with dinner - those calories quickly add up without providing you with neither satiety nor nutrition.
6. They eat vegetables (and fruit) everyday.
They sincerely look forward to having their veggies and make an effort to incorporate them into every meal. They often experiment with different cooking and prep methods. They often start their own gardens to grow organic produce.
7. They only eat when hungry.
This is a major habit lean people have in common - they never eat when they are not hungry. Lean people often eat less, not more, in stressful situations. They don't reach for food to feel better or out of boredom. They use food as fuel, not a comforter.
If you are trying to improve your diet and/or lose weight, give me a shout - let's look at your daily habits and see where we can create a deficit so you can start living a healthier life and learning how to maintain it.
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