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October 15, 2012

12 Habits of Lean People

By Jillian Teta

It has been so interesting to me to watch the subtle shift in JillFit’s approach to body transformation. We started with a big drive to help ladies get ready for competitions, and over the years we have spent more and more time helping everyday women construct a lifestyle that gets them results, but more importantly, is something that they can envision themselves doing for years and years to come – and they are happy with it.

We all know those who can buckle down for 8, 12, 16 weeks and “get lean” for a show or for a shoot. More often than not, this sets them up biochemically and mental-emotionally for a binge at the end of that time, a return to chaotic eating and an emotional tailspin that leaves us weeping, bewildered, and packing on the pounds.

What if there was a way to eat – daily – that can keep us lean, satisfied and happy?

Believe it or not, you can walk around with midsection definition and a tight physique without being on a show diet. It takes time, consistency and some detective work to get in the groove, but if you are willing to put in that time to BECOME a lean person, you will never need another diet again.

I have compiled a list with 12 factors that are present in all of the perpetually lean :)

  1. Lean people eat protein with every meal.
    Protein is the foundation for a strong physique. Protein keeps us satisfied via hormonal signaling, keeps blood sugar stable, blunts negative effects of cortisol and keeps the immune system in tip-top shape.
  2. Lean people eat some type of veggie, every day.
     In addition to bringing gobs of phytonutrients that keep skin, hair and nails gorgeous, adequate veggies bring fiber and water. As a complete package, they help us shed excess water. Find veggies that you enjoy and emphasize those.
  3. Lean people use water as their drink of choice, and drink a lot of it.
    Dehydration actually makes you hold extra water under the skin, lending a puffy look. It can also make you tired and trigger cravings and headaches. Ask someone with pretty, tight skin how much water they drink J
  4. Lean people know how to use food as a way to their means.
     Instead of letting food control them, lean people use food in a very strategic way. An example of this would be using vinegar-based dressings to balance blood sugar, promote satiety and reduce cravings. They know how their body reacts to multiple foods through trial and error.
  5. Lean people implement sustainable, appropriate exercise.
     Long hours on the treadmill are ultimately not sustainable. Short, intense workouts using weights, sprints and plyometrics, balanced by long walks sprinkled in throughout the week, are far more sustainable, easy on the joints and mentally palatable than mega cardio sessions for the long term.
  6. Lean people get themselves to bed at a decent hour.
    Sleep is the unsung hero of fat loss. Have you ever heard the expression “sleep is prime fat-burning time?” Sleep acts as a big reset button for hormones, stress and motivation.
  7. Lean people don’t deprive themselves.
    If you think of food in terms of items that you can and cannot have, you are setting yourself up for a binge later and/or a lot of mental stress. Lean people understand that they CAN have anything they want, at anytime, but that they choose not to. They use buffer foods and strategically consume treats once to three times weekly to stay satisfied.
  8. Lean people don’t depend on willpower.
    People who stay lean year-round, year after year, have abandoned the “all or nothing” mentality, because they have experienced it for themselves that it does not work. Willpower will always bow to physiology. As we say over at Metabolic Effect, lean people have developed skillpower – using tools to create a satisfying, sustainable way of eating.
  9. Lean people use discipline over control.
    Control is the father of willpower, and he breeds rebellion. Like a brittle stick, control will always crack. I think of discipline as conscious, structured flexibility. Do lean people eat everything they want all the time, no? Do they use strategically in the form of treats and buffer foods, in the context of solid nutrition for the rest of the time. YES.
  10. Lean people use resiliency.
    Ok, Ok, lean people are human, too J If they eat a candy bar or extra drinks or a huge mocha, they don’t abandon what they are doing and get on a several day binge. They simply eat their next normal meal. If they get injured and can’t exercise, they keep their nutrition tight. Around the holidays, they choose protein and veggies and are strategic about sweets. They use “mistakes” as lessons, and not as an excuse to give up their purpose, or to claim “failure” (here at JillFit, we actually don’t believe in failure, hence the quotes!)
  11. Lean people act like lean people.
    Envision what a lean person does. What they think about, what they order at McDonalds, what they pick out of a gas station, what they shop for, how they exercise. This is exactly what lean people do! If you want to be lean, you have to do what a lean person does to become that very thing.
  12. Lean people take plenty of down time
    It is completely possible to be lean and not have a back-breaking workout schedule. In the case of exercise, more is not better. Efficient, effective and sustainable are where it’s at. Taking rest days and having structured relaxation on a regular basis keep you physically, mentally and emotionally invigorated and leave you ready and inspired to create the life and physique you want. 

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