Fit and healthy people are continually doing things to get in better shape. They post pictures of their abs and tips about what to eat, how much water to drink and the right way to grunt while bench pressing. Nevertheless, there are some things that fit and healthy people never do.
We’ve made a list of 12 things that fit and healthy people don’t do. We’ve also added some encouraging tips on how you can steer clear of these less than healthy actions too.
1. Fit and Healthy People Don’t Drink Soda
You won’t see fit and healthy people carrying 20-ounce bottles of cola around with them. It’s unlikely that you’ll even see healthy folks drinking soda once in a while. People who are fit know that drinking soda increases their chances of developing type 2 diabetes, periodontal disease, inflammation, kidney disease, and pancreatic cancer.
One of the first things people often do when they want to begin a healthier lifestyle is giving up soda. An associate of mine lost more than 100 pounds by doing nothing more than eliminating soda from his diet. He became more fit and healthy in the process and never went back to drinking soda.
Don’t do it either: While it might seem like an easy habit to break, soda is highly addictive. In a landmark study that we found, in the Public Library of Science, researchers introduced rats to cocaine and allowed them to become dependent on the drug. After their addiction was established, they presented the rats with two options, cocaine or sugar water. A surprising 94 percent of the cocaine-addicted rats chose sugar over their usual cocaine fix. Then, they kept going back to the sugar repeatedly. Even more interesting, the rats also chose saccharin-sweetened water over cocaine.
This kind of study helps explain why people who drink soda every day, or even diet soda, have so much trouble kicking the habit. Sugar is addictive, and calorie-free sweeteners like saccharin are also addictive.
To give up soda for good, start with plain or sparkling water and add a squeeze of orange, lemon or lime juice. If the soda you normally drink is caffeinated, consider also drinking a cup of unsweetened green tea to help you avoid caffeine withdrawal headaches. Anytime you have a craving for soda, reach for the fruit-sweetened water instead. Soon you’ll have kicked the habit for good.
2. Fit and Healthy People Don’t Overuse Alcohol, Smoke or Use Drugs
People who are health-conscious care about their bodies too much to abuse them. They don’t want to poison their internal organs with large amounts of alcohol or any amounts of smoke inhalation or drug use. At parties, you’ll find that the most healthy and fit folks in attendance steer clear of the open bar and avoid smoke-filled rooms.
Don’t do it either: Don’t fall into the temptation to overuse alcohol at social or business events. Order seltzer water with lime and stay sober. If you struggle with any kind of chemical dependency, seek out professional help to recover from your addiction.
3. Fit and Healthy People Don’t Snack Out of the Bag
I used to be an out-of-the-bag snacker. It’s a particularly bad habit. I gained more than 20 pounds in three years by simply not paying attention to the amount of food I was eating. Let’s say that it’s difficult to count exactly how many tortilla chips you’ve consumed when you’re munching straight out of the bag. Fit and healthy folks don’t snack mindlessly. They eat more intentionally.
Don’t do it either: One of the most helpful habits I’ve adopted from my healthier friends is to begin portioning out my snacks on a plate and eating one serving at a time. I’ve even taken to weighing out certain items on a kitchen scale so that I’m certain of the exact serving size. Fortunately, with enough chunky vegetable salsa, a 28-gram (1-ounce) serving of tortilla chips is the perfect amount to satisfy my cravings for spice and crunch.
4. Fit and Healthy People Don’t Forget to Eat Produce
Vegetables and fruits are the cornerstones of good health and fitness. Healthy people take in several servings of fibrous, nutrient-dense produce each day.
It’s not uncommon to see fit and healthy people choosing fruit over gooey chocolate brownies for dessert. Additionally, health enthusiasts are always looking for ways to add more vegetables to their diets. Salads are eaten several times a week by healthy people, if not daily. They use carrots to dip into their hummus instead of pita chips, and they don’t drink smoothies without added vegetables.
Don’t do it either: First of all, buy produce and bring it home. Shop at a farmers’ market, buy a subscription for weekly, in-season produce boxes from a local farm, or stock up at the grocery store. When you get the produce home, wash it and portion it out so that it’s easy to grab when you need a snack or you’re heading out the door. Make a big bowl of fruit salad and keep it in the refrigerator for easy access. Add fruit to your pancakes, leafy greens to your smoothies and fresh herbs on top of your dinners. If you don’t love salad, put flavors that you do like into salads. Try making taco salads, barbequed chicken salads and salads tossed with fruit like berries, halved grapes and diced apples.
5. Fit and Healthy People Don’t Take the Shortest Route
Parking at the front of the store and taking the elevator instead of the stairs are not common traits of fit and healthy people. These people value movement, and they’ll squeeze an impromptu workout into even the busiest days. You’ll see healthy and fit people walking or biking rather than driving when it’s possible. They don’t stand idly on the moving sidewalks in airports. Healthy folks are hustling to where they need to be and adding steps to their pedometers.
Don’t do it either: Buy a bicycle. Add a little basket on the front or back and use it to run errands that are close to home. When you go out to check the mail or take your pet outside, wear your gym shoes and turn it into a 20-minute stroll around your neighborhood.
6. Fit and Healthy People Don’t Avoid the Gym
It isn’t that fit and healthy people love to get up early and exercise. They don’t normally have more free time or require less sleep than the rest of us. Nonetheless, they get themselves onto the stationary bicycle, into the gym or out on a brisk walk several times a week. They don’t always love exercising. However, they push through the hard parts to enjoy the benefits of being in great shape.
Don’t do it either: Treat your workouts like you would any other job or obligation. If you stayed up a little too late one night, you wouldn’t call in sick to work to get more sleep. You would get up, rub your eyes and get to your desk on time. Do that with your exercise schedule too. Don’t skip your routine on your birthday, when it’s raining or on a snow day. If you’re having trouble staying committed, ask a friend to meet up with you several times a week to hike, walk or use the elliptical machines together. It’s much easier to make working out a priority when someone else is counting on you to be there.
7. Fit and Healthy People Don’t Participate in Fad Diets
Fit and healthy people can spot a fad diet from 5 kilometers away. They aren’t falling for the fat-free, no-carb, liquid-only diets. You won’t catch a fit and healthy person drinking laxative tea to squeeze into a pair of skinny jeans.
For the body to function at optimal health, it needs three macronutrients. They are proteins, fats and carbohydrates. People who value whole body health over fads know that when you eliminate a macronutrient, you might lose a few pounds, but it will be at the expense of your body’s overall nutrition.
Don’t do it either: If you notice that you’ve put on a few pounds, cut back on certain foods. Eat less bread and use less butter and oil. Alter your macronutrient ratios, but don’t eliminate entire food groups. Eat a balanced diet that’s heavy in nutrient-rich foods and light on the rest. Choose sensible eating over get-thin-quick diets.
8. Fit and Healthy People Don’t Regularly Indulge in Sugary Treats
Ice cream before bed four nights a week isn’t a habit that health-conscious individuals have. Neither are they eating cookies each afternoon or stopping off for a blended coffee drink with 55 grams of sugar after work.
Don’t do it either: Satisfy your sweet tooth with naturally delicious whole foods like melons, berries, sweet corn, and apples. If you have chocolate cravings, use unsweetened cocoa combined with dates or bananas. Splurge with traditionally sweetened desserts only on special holidays or family birthdays. Otherwise, skip the sweets entirely.
9. Fit and Healthy People Don’t Overeat
Fit and healthy people are in the habit of eating when they’re hungry and stopping when they are satisfied. They don’t keep eating until they’re feeling quite full. Rather, when they’re no longer hungry, they walk away from the table.
Don’t do it either: At restaurants, ask for a to-go box with your meal. Then, when the meal arrives, you can portion out half of it into the box to take home for later. That way, you’re not tempted to continue eating after you’ve had enough.
10. Fit and Healthy People Don’t Frequent the Drive-Thru Window
Unless it’s a dietary emergency and there’s not another food option for 300 miles, you won’t see fitness and health fanatics in the drive-thru line at a fast-food establishment. It doesn’t happen.
Fit and healthy people know that, by and large, the food coming out of fast-food restaurants is of the lowest quality. They also realize that it’s generally high in saturated fat, sodium, and sugar. People who want to stay healthy don’t put poor-quality, nutritionally deficient foods into their bodies.
Don’t do it either: Get into the habit of packing a lunch or bringing healthy snacks in a thermal bag whenever you go out for an extended period of time. If you haven’t got anything handy and you must stop for a quick meal, choose a restaurant that offers salad options, veggie burgers or bean burritos. Then, order wisely. Leave off the cheese, and order your protein grilled, not fried. Skip the fries, milkshakes and 32-ounce sodas.
11. Fit and Healthy People Don’t Eat Artificial Foods
Healthy people don’t put artificial foods into their bodies. They choose whole foods that are unrefined, naturally colored and flavored. People who care about their bodies aren’t choosing foods with blue dye and artificial raspberry flavoring added.
Don’t do it either: Read the labels on the packaged foods you buy. Take the time to research ingredients that aren’t familiar to you. Use your smartphone right in the supermarket aisles to ensure you aren’t buying food made with dangerous additives or chemicals.
12. Fit and Healthy People Don’t Keep Junk Food in Their Houses
People who want to stay in great shape don’t buy candy, potato chips and ice cream to have on hand at home. They keep their kitchens stocked with nutritious ingredients and foods that will fuel them well. They want to feed themselves and their families with the right kinds of foods.
Don’t do it either: The best way to avoid eating junk food regularly is never to keep it in your home. If you want to splurge once in a while, do it by the slice. Restaurants and bakeries sell single servings of naughty foods. You can buy 8-ounce containers of ice cream instead of a giant tub. If homemade goods are your pleasure, cut the recipe in half or more so that you can create a single serving or enough for your family to enjoy once. If you do find yourself with an abundance of something decadent, invite the neighbors over to help you enjoy it. Then, send the rest home with whoever will accept it.
Follow the Examples of Fit and Healthy People
If you currently do things that fit and healthy people don’t do, stop immediately and do 20 push-ups. (We’re only half-kidding). Then, change your habits. A surefire way to get healthier and more fit is to follow the examples of people who are already successful in the area of fitness.
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Jegaseethan, P. (2017). Fructose and NAFLD: the multifaceted aspects of fructose metabolism. Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28273805/
Leech, J. (2019). 13 ways sugary soda is bad for you. Retrieved from: https://www.healthline. com/nutrition/13-ways-sugary-soda-is-bad-for-you#section11
Lenoir, M. (2007). Intense sweetness surpasses cocaine reward. Retrieved from: https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0000698#s1