The Greek island of Santorini, located in the southern Aegean Sea, is home to breathtaking sunsets and cliffside towns with narrow, cobbled streets. It is currently one of the top tourist destinations in the world, hosting millions of visitors each year, with only 15,000 permanent residents.
Those permanent residents are easily distinguished from tourists. Just look for the most agile and lean, moving swiftly through the hard-to-navigate, steep terrain. The people of Santorini are in phenomenal shape.
Living in a cliffside city means walking up hundreds, if not thousands, of stairs every single day. For many it means pushing or carrying crates of water up steep inclines to homes and hotels, since the tap water is unsafe to drink.
Live in Santorini and you’d quickly have a chiseled, beach-ready body.
It really goes to show you that your lifestyle creates the body that have. And while I don’t expect you to drop everything to move to a cliffside town in order to achieve your fat loss goals, there is a valuable lesson here.
The truth is that regardless of where you live, your lifestyle is something that you control. If you want your body to look or feel differently, then all you need to do is change the daily habits that make up your routine.
For the people of Santorini that means fighting gravity by moving their bodies up and down cliffsides every day. For you it could mean adding in that hour of exercise that you’ve been telling yourself you should do. Or cutting out that sugary snack you gravitate towards after dinner each night.
Here are 5 lifestyle factors to consider…
1. TV Time: Many people are in the habit of sitting in front of the TV for hours on end after a stressful day at work. Yes, you may be worn out and need a break, but sitting on the couch, zoned out, watching TV is not the way to lose weight.
If you must watch the evening news or see your favorite show, use the time to burn a few calories. Keep some hand weights next to the couch and work your biceps and triceps. Stand up and do some squats or lunges to work your legs and buttocks. Get on the floor and do some sit-ups to tone your abs or push-ups to tone your arms. Make a change!
2. Sleep: Most adults need an average of eight hours of sleep each night. Is that a lot more than what you’re currently getting? Then you may be interested to know that if you’re not getting adequate amounts of rest, you’re more likely to be hungry, overeat, and gain weight.
How does this work? Something like this.
If you’re tired, you won’t feel like cooking a healthy meal, and you’ll opt for fast (fattening) food instead. This very same lack of energy will also likely cause you to skip a workout. On top of that, sleep deprivation causes your metabolism to slow down, which promotes fat storage.
3. Drink Choices: Lasting weight loss is about changes. Unfortunately, some of the changes one must make are difficult. If you’re one of the millions hooked on soda, alcohol, or other sweetened beverages, your weight goals may remain out of reach until you replace these drinks with water. You should also know that your brain often confuses thirst with hunger.
So at the first sign of hunger, don’t grab a snack or calorie-filled drinks. Instead, grab a glass of water.
4. Breakfast: Want to know a secret to successful weight loss? Eat breakfast! Try cutting calories by skipping breakfast, and you’ll be excessively hungry by mid-morning. As a result, the healthy calories you would have eaten at breakfast are replaced with calorie-filled snacks and an over-sized lunch.
Once again, fitting breakfast into your busy schedule may mean dramatic lifestyle changes. But research shows that the habit of eating a healthy breakfast is key to losing weight and keeping pounds off. Get to bed 30 minutes earlier than usual and set your alarm 10 minutes earlier to give yourself time to eat breakfast.
5. Physical Activity: Weight loss is about burning more calories than you consume. Remember the people of Santorini and their all-day exercise! Therefore, it should make sense to you that dieting and exercise must go hand in hand. If you want to speed up fat loss and keep it off, add or increase the amount and intensity of physical activity in your daily life.
For many people, this is the most difficult lifestyle change of all, but the benefits are well work it. Aim for 30 to 60 minutes of intense exercise on most days of the week. When exercise is a normal part of your everyday routine, it’s more likely to stick, and your body will become slimmer and more toned.
The quickest and most permanent weight loss comes as a result of a combination of healthy eating and consistent, challenging workouts.