10 Ways to Get Skinny, Healthy and Fit in Your 20s

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Are you ready to get serious about your body? If you’re in your 20s, this might be the first time you’ve had to really think about losing weight or getting in shape. But there's no need to panic.
If you're ready to look and feel your best then it's time to create healthy, sustainable habits so you can feel good about yourself and your body. Post this list on your bathroom mirror to serve as a daily reminder of the things you need to do to get in shape so that you not only get fit, but you stay lean and active for the long haul.

Getting Lean and Healthy in Your 20s

Redefine “skinny.” We often use the word, “skinny,” but let’s be real: skin and bones are not sexy. You may have heard that strong is the new skinny, which couldn't be further from the truth. Muscle tone is sexy, and so is a normal, healthy body. “Contrary to common belief, muscle makes you leaner, smaller and firmer, not bigger and bulkier,” says clinical nutritionist Ariane Hundt, M.S., founder of Slim & Strong 2.0 based in New York City. If you are not in the Big Apple to attend her boot camp-style sessions, you can always build strength at home or at your local gym.

Eat more protein. Yes, I know there are cupcakes and pretzels in your office lunchroom, but if you want to get fit and healthy you may want to opt for snacks and meals that are full of protein to build muscle and boost your metabolism. Lean protein will also help you feel full so you eat less throughout the day.

Workout harder. Short, intense workouts are scientifically proven to be effective for weight loss. When you’re young, you’re more likely to be healthy enough for vigorous activity. So take advantage of it! You should learn how to do interval training to burn more fat in less time.

Ignore magazines. Did you know that women’s magazines contain about 10 times as many ads promoting weight loss as men’s magazines? Many of the ads promote unrealistic claims and use airbrushed images that can make you feel hopeless. Focus on building the strongest, fittest version of your own body to boost your confidence and keep your commitment intact.

Skip the fad diets. Quick weight loss may be effective in some circumstances, but many fad diets promote short-term loss that will mess with your metabolism. “If you are young and haven’t done too much yo-yo dieting, your metabolism will respond to pretty much any change you expose it to,” says Hundt. She recommends that you skip the trendy diets and opt for a healthy diet of lean protein and vegetables. It’s often cheaper than processed food, too, which is unhealthy for you anyway.

Drink less booze. Your drinking habit may be causing more than just a morning headache. The calories you consume from drinking wine, beer or cocktails can add up to pounds on the scale over time. Make a plan to drink less to maintain healthy weight and better health. It works!

Build healthy habits. Now is the time to establish daily activity habits to burn calories and optimize your well-being. Healthy lifestyle routines will help you maintain a healthy weight for the long run. Take the stairs instead of the elevator, stand up while you work at the office, walk to lunch instead of taking the car. 

Get organized. The hardest thing about maintaining your ideal weight in your 20s is trying to eat healthy when you have a crazy social schedule. Let’s face it, you probably have better things to do cook healthy meals for yourself every night. So learn a few basic meal-planning strategies to minimize your food prep time and maximize your access to heathy, nutrient-rich foods will keep you lean and boost your energy even when you’re on the go.

Clean out your closet. Think of your weight loss plan as a long-term strategy, not a quick fix solution. As your body changes and you start to slim down, get rid of the baggy clothes that no longer fit and flatter your figure. According to Hundt, when you keep bigger items “you send your brain the message that you will eventually get back to your old weight.”

Watch your snack habits. Do you know how many calories should come from snacks each day? Get the answer based on your caloric needs. Then try to be more aware of your snack habits throughout the day. Try to eat less when you watch television and go easy on the late night nibbles when you’re out on the town.

The good thing about trying to get in shape in your 20s is that your body is more likely to respond to small shifts and changes, says Hundt. So get organized, get serious and get confident to make small adjustments and get a fit, healthy body for life.

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