Don't try to adopt them all in one shot. Pick up one; make it a part of your life. Once it's a habit, pick the next.
You see these people around you -- they're fit, they're social, they're doing the same stuff you're doing. They seem to lead lives just like yours, yet they somehow manage to stay really fit! No, it's not their crazy fast metabolism, or their fantastic genes or some other factor.
It is simply the fact that they have certain habits that helps them stay as fit as they are.
Here are 7 things that they're doing as a habit!
Drink plenty of water
No, it's not 8 glasses of water. Lots of fit people who lead active lives even drink up to 5-7 litres of water a day. Their idea is not to tank up on too much water but to drink plenty of it.
How much water you need is dependent on your body weight, your lifestyle, environment and other factors. But drinking plenty of water keeps you hydrated, keeps your body functioning well and reduces your craving for junk food.
Chew your calories
Very rarely will you find a fit person sitting around chugging soft drinks or those mega-ice-frappucino-coffee-ice-cream-shakes. They understand that most of those drinks are loaded with sugar and calories. And that it is better to eat your calories than to drink them. There are multiple reasons for this.
Research has shown that when you chew your food, it helps you increase satiety from your meals. Also, eating solid food instead of liquid calories takes longer. This gives your brain time to recognise that as you're eating, you're filling up, and it signals your body to control your intake.
While it's great to chew the calories, you still need to make sure that you're not chewing too many calories. You will find that while the really fit folks around you probably eat almost the same foods as you.
But if you pay closer attention to their daily meal intake, they keep their overall portions in control and thus their overall calorie intake. This could also mean that while they eat large meals like you, they control their mid day snacking.
Or they may be eating all day, but might actually be eating small meals through the day. The point is that the really fit people control how much food goes into their body.
Exercise like a habit
Controlling your food intake is one part of it. Those fit people also make time for exercise. It could be early morning, late evening or the middle of the day, they make some time for physical activity.
It's like bathing. Just like you bathe everyday, they make time for exercise.
It could be a quick run, workout session at the gym, yoga, or play a sport that they enjoy. Besides burning calories and helping you build a lean toned body, exercise releases endorphins and other hormones that help you control your appetite and cravings for junk food.
And if you say you're busy, learn to make some time, even if it's 15 minutes a day.
Barrack Obama makes time for exercise, and he's got a few things to do. So, you can make time too!
Control your alcohol
That fit guy at the party sure looks like he's drinking. But if you look closer he's drinking far slower than you. If he's even drinking! Maybe he's just drinking a fresh lime or club soda. He knows the damage that alcohol does to your waistline and your fitness, far beyond the calories.
Your liver actually takes time to process alcohol, and while processing it, it promotes fat storage in your body. It can take up to two days to process the alcohol from one drink. So skip alcohol if you can. If you must indulge, control your intake.
Sure that fit colleague of yours makes time for exercise, but that's not the only secret to their calorie burning. The real secret is that they're being active through the day.
Let's show you the math.
One hour of intense exercise can help you burn 400-600 calories. But the average person consumes anywhere between 1700-2500 calories per day! So, it's important to stay active through the day.
Take the stairs if you can, walk your pet, take your kid to the park, go for a 10 min walk after your meals. These little activities add up to help you stay fit.
This is the most misleading secret about the 'fit folks'. They indulge in their favourite food/drink. So, the typical fit person spends most of the week eating healthy, working out and overall being good. But they're people too, and crave their favourite high calorie foods.
So, when they go out, once or twice a week they indulge! This indulgence is what keeps them on track for the rest of the week. So, if you've been good all week, and that means each and every meal, indulge once or twice, but that's it.
Last piece of advice
If you want to adopt any of these habits, don't try to adopt them all in one shot. Pick up one; make it a part of your life. Once it's a habit, pick the next.
Research at the University College London, shows that it takes 66 days for you to form a habit!
Photograph: Calibe Thompson/Wikimedia Commons