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The 6 Secrets of Skinny People

author image Sarah Metzger
Sarah Metzger joined Demand Media in April 2009 as a Studio editor. Prior to joining the Demand Media team, she worked in development for a social media Internet start-up in Los Angeles. Metzger also has experience in entertainment public relations. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of California, Santa Barbara.

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The 6 Secrets of Skinny People
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When it comes to living your healthiest life, staying within the ideal body weight for your age, gender and height is one way to ensure you're on the right track. And, let's face it, being toned and trim certainly feels great. We've been looking closely at the habits of our healthiest members to extract some key tricks of the trade. What are the essential eating and fitness habits of the most toned and trim? Here are some from the top of our list.

Always be Prepared
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Our healthiest members plan their weekly meals in advance; heading to the grocery store or market to select unprocessed foods for the week. The best bet for getting a healthy start each day? A balanced breakfast. Our Nutrition Advisor, Alyse Levine, recommends setting aside time in the morning to create a well-balanced breakfast that includes unprocessed carbs, lean proteins and healthy fats. "Doing so will give you extra energy and jump start your metabolism," notes Levine.

Snack When You're Hungry
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Denying yourself food when you're hungry is rarely a reliable long-term strategy. It can lead to overeating and drag you down throughout the day. Many of our members who've experienced weight loss success swear by snacking between meals. They opt for healthy, balanced snacks in small, sensible portions. Levine recommends always keeping a "snack survival kit" at your workplace or in your car. Says Levine, "Snacks will prevent you from going into your next meal starving which can lead to overeating."

Be Calorie Conscious
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In addition to snacking, our fittest users watch their calories. MyPlate makes being calorie cognizant easy -- the tool will do all the work for you and MyPlate mobile offers tracking on-the-go. Knowing your calorie goal based on your weight loss or maintenance goal is essential. It allows you to make smart meal choices to get to where you want to be.

Indulge and Then Get Back on Track
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Staying slim doesn't mean you have to deprive yourself. In fact, a majority of successful eating plans include daily or weekly indulgences. They then make a point to eat a healthier meal or meal(s) post-indulgence. Levine challenges you to rethink, in general, the "good food, bad food" mentality when you do indulge-noting the importance of mindfully enjoying foods that might be a deviation from your regular eating plan.

Do Something Daily
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Don't overwhelm yourself with impractical fitness goals. Think simple. Or rather, think "doable" and "consistent." Committing to just 30 minutes of cardio a day creates powerful habits that can keep you feeling and looking your healthiest. Notes Levine, "Find an activity that actually brings you joy and you'll have a much greater chance of sticking to it."

Stay the Course
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One of the most common philosophical cornerstones we see in our success stories submissions? "Stay the course." Reaching your healthiest, best-looking self is a work in progress and one that often comes with plateaus. Our most successful members acknowledge roadblocks and plateaus and then power through them with a reaffirmation of healthy habits.

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