Even if DNA plays a huge role in body types, it’s more likely that those fit bodies you admire are more because of everyday healthy habits rather than good ol’ mom and dad.
In the same way that one piece of cheesecake won’t make you fat, eating one salad won’t instantly make you thin. On the contrary, it’s the healthy habits we choose to do every day that add up and get us closer to our goals or backs us further away from them.
But it doesn’t have to be hard, either! A few small tweaks to your daily routine is all you need to help kick your butt into gear and to keep it moving.
Keep water on your nightstand
Hydrating first thing in the morning is one of the best healthy habits to adopt, and the best way to ensure that happens is to keep a nice tall glass of water on your nightstand. “I have at least 20 ounces of water as soon as I wake up,” says Latoya Julce, New York City-based trainer and 305 Fitness instructor. “It helps cleanse my digestive system and prepare it for the day.”
Drink green tea
Not black with whole milk and honey. Not sugary, bottled concoctions. Green tea, plain and simple! The EGCG—a super potent nutrient found almost exclusively in green tea—has been shown to help break down fat and discourage new fat cells. A tea-diet revolution is the next big thing, author Kelly Choi explains in the book The 7-Day Flat-Belly Tea Cleanse, in which test panelists lost up to 10 pounds in a week.
She recommends you drink it for breakfast: Your body absorbs the nutrients in green tea most effectively when you drink it at least four hours after your last meal, making it a perfect way to start your morning.
Take a lunch break walk
Research by Mercy Medical Center shows that an overwhelming number of Americans—about 42 percent—are deficient in vitamin D. The vitamin is responsible for not only strengthening your bones but also for helping to boost your mood and immunity. One of the best ways to get more D is to simply step outside. Ever notice some of your coworkers slipping out for 30 minutes during lunch? They’ve got it right. Getting more vitamin D can help you stick with your fitness plan because you’ll likely be happier more often, and sick less often.
Freeze food for last-minute emergencies
If your fridge is full and your freezer is empty, it’s time to make a shift. For one, frozen fruits and veggies are frozen at their peak, so if certain produce is not in season, you may not be getting the best quality. Second, frozen foods are often cheaper and last longer (duh), ensuring that you have more time to eat all the good stuff you stocked up on before it spoils.
Stick to natural—not artificial—ingredients
Artificial sweeteners may be tempting to toss in your coffee in the morning, but resist them at all costs. Just because they are sans calories does not mean they’re doing your body any good. Fit minded folks avoid the fake stuff because artificial sweeteners have been found to disrupt normal body functioning and actually triggers a great hunger response in the body.
Count colors, not calories
You’ll hear time and time again from nutrition experts: Not all calories are created equal. A handful of almonds versus the same amount of calories in potato chip form has a tremendously different effect on your body. While keeping portions under control is crucial to keeping weight at bay, one of the best ways to put together a well-balanced plate is actually by observing the variety of colors before you. Filling your dish with greens and reds and yellows will help you craft a nutrient-rich meal that will help fuel your body better for your workouts, muscle recovery, and weight loss.