The new year inspires thoughts of “finally getting in shape” or reasserting past diet and fitness goals. You could try and figure it all out on your own again this year – but why reinvent the wheel? People who are successful at staying fit and healthy have similar, consistent traits and behaviors you can emulate. The following are some of the top diet and exercise habits of the world’s fittest, healthiest people:

1. Don’t Diet

Diets don’t work. Any eating plan that’s viewed as temporary can’t possibly have long-term results. Instead, make lifestyle changes that are sustainable. For example, resolve to cut out sugar and simple carbohydrates as much as possible, and instead find healthier substitutes. For example, cauliflower can be used as a tasty, healthy, low-carb substitute for mashed potatoes, rice, tortillas, pizza crusts, and more. Use lettuce wraps instead of buns and bread.

2. Eat Breakfast

Don’t skip breakfast. Doing so puts your body into “starvation mode” early in the day and will cause your metabolism to conserve fat instead of burn it. A healthy breakfast that includes protein, a healthy grain and a little fruit can kick start your metabolism and get it revving for the day. Eggs, Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, nut butter or turkey sausage are excellent protein choices.

3. Make Exercise Fun (Or at Least Find Fun Ways to Distract Yourself)

Making exercise sessions enjoyable (or at least tolerable) can go a long way in finding the motivation to stick with them. Choose workout activities you truly enjoy, and change it up when things start to feel stale. Work out with a friend or take the dog for a run in the park. Listen to motivating music, entertaining podcasts or enriching audio books while you’re working up a sweat.

4. Get Enough Sleep

Getting enough sleep is one of the keys to well being and a high quality of life. The body, mind and spirit are rejuvenated, and cells and tissues are repaired at a deep level. Being well rested sets the tone for the entire day, and it’s also crucial to health and fitness success. With enough sleep, you’ll be less stressed, less likely to snack or binge-eat, and more energized and focused for your workouts.

5. Stay Hydrated

Staying hydrated is another simple but essential habit of the healthiest people in the world. A sufficient amount of water is crucial for nourishing the body at a cellular level and supporting its various processes. Drinking plenty of fresh, filtered water can also help to stave off cravings between meals.

6. Find Support

Most successful people in any area of life did not do it all on their own. They had a support system around them, or at least one person they could lean on to get through challenging times. If you need it, consider finding support with a personal trainer, nutritionist, life coach, or all of the above. Having a training partner or a supportive spouse or best friend to confide in can also work wonders.

7. Schedule Cheat Days

Believe it or not, the fittest among us reward themselves with an occasional “cheat day.” These are days when you can eat a favorite meal or snack food without regret. Cheat days are excellent motivators for staying on track the rest of the time. You can plan a cheat day once per month or even once per week, as long as you don’t go overboard.

The new year inspires health and fitness resolutions more than any other time. This year, consider trying out some of the habits of the world’s healthiest, fittest people – so that you can become one yourself.

Written by: Tony Thomas

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