7 Things Skinny People Do After Work (Besides Exercise)

A weight-loss expert weighs in on the nighttime habits of the slim.

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They prep tomorrow’s food

The kitchen isn’t just a place for eating. “Fit people who need to work to be fit-as in, they’re not gifted with a good metabolism-usually prep their food for the next day and think about what they’re going to be eating,” says Charlie Seltzer, MD, a weight-loss and obesity specialist. Having ready-to-go healthy meals handy makes it harder to slip up and scarf down that office cupcake when temptation strikes.

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They track their day

The stereotypical image of a healthy person madly inputting everything from their steps to their snacks into a tracking app might not be too far off from the truth. “Research has shown that people who track their food are more likely to be successful in the long run when it comes to weight loss,” says Dr. Seltzer.

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They eat what they want (for the most part)

There’s a huge upside to tracking your calories: It gives you flexibility to eat what you want, so long as you hit your numbers, says Dr. Seltzer. That’s why, for the most part, you won’t find fit people slaving over restrictive diets or cutting out entire food groups. Diets work best when they fit into your lifestyle naturally, not when you have to change your lifestyle to follow them.

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They skip diet soda

We hate to be the bearers of bad news, but diet soda might be just as bad as the real stuff. A recent study in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society found that people who sipped diet soda added almost triple the amount of belly fat over the course of nine years compared to those who skipped the stuff. Water, please! Other research has found that obese people who upped their H20 intake lost weight.

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They spend quality time with the fam

If trying to be fit and healthy is negatively impacting your lifestyle (i.e. you’re obsessing over food so much you’re missing out on activities you enjoy), something needs to give, says Dr. Seltzer. People who see the most success with their weight loss are also those who have outside interests-they play the guitar, read, or play with their kids post-6 p.m.

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Surprise! They don’t always exercise

Sure, you’re certain to see the slim in the gym. But to drop pounds, you not only need a life outside of fitness, you also need a darn break. Rest days are just as important as the days you go hard. Going, going, going can lead to workout burnout, and without rest your body doesn’t get the time it needs to build muscle and recover appropriately.

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They create a calm environment

Not sleeping? Your health-and your weight-will suffer. “If you’re not sleeping, your likelihood of being healthy, losing weight, and exercising is significantly lower,” says Dr. Seltzer. Research even suggests that when we’re sleep deprived, we’re more likely to reach for high-calorie foods and less likely to muster the motivation to hit the gym. That’s why the fit learn to love their pillows.

This article originally appeared on RD.com.

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