“It’s more than good genes, though that certainly helps,” my friend said, smiling as she casually sipped a hot green tea. In her early 40s, she looked nearly a decade younger, and at a recent Saturday brunch, she turned heads entering the room baring her toned arms and glowing skin.
I’ve known my friend long enough to understand beneath that insouciance exists hard work and vigilant focus. She maintains consistent eating, exercise and lifestyle habits that keep her lean, fit and vibrantly healthy. During brunch, we discussed strategies health-minded folks regularly employ, and agreed on these five keepers:
1. They think ahead.
Fail to plan, plan to fail: That cliché does double for fast, lasting fat loss. That’s why successful people always think ahead by planning their weekly meals, stocking up on essentials and accounting for any potential glitches that can hinder progress. Planning ahead means healthy people can alert their dinner-party hostess about potential food intolerances. When they peruse online menus ahead of time, they’re never stuck about what to order at a restaurant. Regardless of their situation, they know a little planning and preparation repay major dividends.
2. They travel with a healthy stash.
You’ve likely been stranded somewhere where your only food options are high-sugar impact disasters. Healthy people remedy that problem by always traveling with healthy, clean snacks like slow-roasted or dehydrated nuts, protein powder, low-sugar impact fruit with almond butter, and other healthy foods and snacks so they never succumb to whatever sugary concoction others might hungrily devour in an emergency.
3. They measure.
What you measure, you can improve. While they refuse to become slaves to the scales, lean, healthy people weigh themselves once or twice a week. They also measure their waist, hips and thighs with a tape measure weekly. They track their progress with a smartphone app or just pen and paper. They confirm what studies show: people who use a weight tracker tool lose more weight.
4. They journal.
Nobody likes to write down what they eat, but doing so can help identify potential problems like overeating and food intolerances that create weight loss resistance. If you need some incentive, studies show journaling can help double your weight loss. One with almost 1,700 participants over six months found those who kept a journal with their food intake lost twice the amount of weight as those who didn’t.
5. They surround themselves with like-minded people.
Lean, healthy people never go at it alone. Whether a group or a blatantly honest best friend, they have a support system that defines their “why” and keeps them on track. Studies show you become the people you hang out with and that your friends can define whether you’re lean or not so lean.
Successful folks surround themselves with friends whose Friday night happy hour includes burst training and healthy eating (okay, maybe with a tequila shot or two) rather than those who deep dive into chips and salsa, margaritas and burritos.
What one strategy would you add here that lean, healthy people regularly employ?