What comes to mind when we close our eyes and try to imagine a “healthy” person? Maybe eating right, working out hard, calisthenics, protein shakes, portion control…you get the idea.

And make no mistake, most healthy people do some or all of these things. But it may surprise some of us how much about a healthy person we actually don’t know. It turns out that many of these folks aren’t “gym rats” or “calorie counters.” They actually take a much more deliberate, measured approach in how they tend to their physical and mental health.

So, how do they do this exactly? Well, as with many things, methods are highly individualized. However, there are some interesting (and highly-effective) traits of healthy people that some of us may want to emulate.

We discuss 10 inconspicuous things that healthy people do differently:

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1. They listen to their body

Make no mistake, doctors are incredibly intelligent people. However, they are prone to be wrong from time to time. Healthy people are very holistic in terms of the regimens they subscribe to; along with who’s advice they seek. Additionally, healthy people understand that they body feels a way for a certain reason. Put another way, the body can signal when something needs to be eaten at a certain time.

2. They don’t fad diet

Fad diets (see: Atkins, South Beach…) have the potential to sell false hope. “Being in a diet,” in itself, really isn’t a good thing! Need proof? It’s estimated, depending on the source, that a scant 3-5 percent of people that lose weight via a fad diet actually keep the weight off!

The old cliché “it’s not a diet, it’s a lifestyle” is actually pretty darn accurate.

3. They prioritize time in the kitchen…

In a society where so much emphasis is placed on convenience, it’s very difficult to eat healthy on the regular. Healthy people – many of them as busy as most everyone else – find ways to cook their meals at home. More importantly, however, they cook the right foods at home.

4. Then they stay away from the restaurants/bars/burger joints

Well, 99 percent of the time anyways (see #10). Seriously, most restaurant, bar and burger joint food is utter garbage. Delicious garbage, maybe, but garbage nonetheless. It goes without saying, but consuming these foods is tremendously counterproductive to our health.  

5. They consider the “true cost” of food

Fruits and veggies aside, some healthy foods can be a bit costlier. The reason is really simple. Most bagged foods we see (e.g. chips) and boxed foods (e.g. frozen lunches) are mass-produced using the cheapest available ingredients – including mass amounts of chemicals, additives and preservatives. Meanwhile, real natural and whole foods contain very little of these things, and are sourced responsibly. Of course, the latter is much healthier than the former.

But healthy people consider the “true cost” of food – what it does to their bodies – more-so than the numbers on the price tag.

6. They “eat clean”

Healthy people are very conscious of the ingredients in foods; often choosing to spend a bit more to get higher-quality products (see above). “Eating clean” is a term used to describe this: choosing foods minimal in ingredients and maximize potential health benefits.

7. They stay away from processed foods

Most “ready-to-eat” foods are highly-processed. This really is no different than injecting ourselves with a bunch of unknown substances. While food preservatives are important to the masses, they are considered detrimental by many healthy people.

Quite simply, it is very possible consume only foods with minimal processing if efforts are made to do so.

8. They shop around the aisles

Aisles are where all the “garbage” food is. Look around at a supermarket the next time you’re there. First, walk the perimeter of the store and note what you see. Then, walk down each aisle within the same market. Fruits, vegetables, seafood, dairy, lean meats…all of these foods are located around the aisles. Within the aisles? Potato chips, soda, frozen meals, desserts, etc.

9. They eat a lot (really!)

As mentioned prior, health people listen to their bodies. Therefore, they will not hesitate to satisfy their cravings when need be. Healthy people talk often about eating 5 or 6 meals a day, with snacks in-between.

So, healthy people eat a lot. The differences are: (a) they have a built taste for healthy food, so this is the food they’ll reach for, and (b) they metabolize much of their food quality because they are healthy.

10. They don’t deprive themselves

Deprivation is not a healthy characteristic. It is important to make a distinction between deprivation and desire when it comes to health. Healthy people don’t deprive themselves of anything…quite the contrary, actually. They have a voracious desire to eat right, eat clean, eat often, and completely understand what they put into their bodies.

“No matter how old you are, no matter how much you weigh, you can still control the health of your body.” – Dr. Mehmet Oz