If you feel that losing weight it’s impossible at times then you will see that shedding a few pounds for most of the time does not need a complete overhaul of lifestyle and training program design.
The reality is that simply making a few changes to your morning routine can really help you lose weight and keep it off. Morning routines are something that all of the most successful people in history have in common. They all have a morning routine that set them up for the day.
If you want to get set up for fat loss for the day you’ll need a morning routine that reflects that.
I will go through a few very simple morning habits that you can incorporate into your current regime to add to your weight loss efforts, if you’ve been struggling in this respect.
Keep doing the ones that you’re doing and start incorporating the ones that you’re not because they may be the thing that move you to the next level of fitness that you’re trying to get.
1.Eat a high protein breakfast. There is a good reason breakfast is considered one of the most important meals of the day for a long time. What you eat for breakfast can really set the course for the entire day (except if you’re intermittent fasting). It’s going to determine if you’re feeling full and satisfied until lunch or if you going to head to the vending machines for a mid morning snack which can ruin everything. Eating a high protein breakfast can definitely help cut cravings and aid in weight loss. By a high protein breakfast I mean get protein in there. Some people think if they have raw nuts that’s a protein source ( NO, it’s a fat source that contains some protein) or oatmeal (SURE, it has protein in it but it is not a protein source, it’s a carbohydrates source). We need to make sure we add actual sources of protein in here in the form of eggs or egg whites or meat or even a high protein smoothie. High protein matters, it can’t be just normal protein. A study done by the obesity society showed that eating a high protein breakfast was associated with less fat gain and reduced daily intake and hunger compared to a normal protein breakfast. Protein reduces a hormone known as ghrelin that is responsible for increasing appetite. If we can get in more protein than just a normal amount (carbohydrate only meal – most people do this when they have cereals or oatmeal or a banana) we can suppress ghrelin, because this hormone is something that will stimulate appetite but we want to be full and satisfied until lunch (or next planned meal) so that we don’t overeat. You can still have carbs or fat for breakfast, make no mistake about that. Overall, there is an abundance of data showing that when people don’t even control their caloric intake on a daily basis, a high protein breakfast aid in weight loss, reduce cravings, reduce appetite and suppress ghrelin secretion. This is a big metabolic combination that aids with weight loss so have a lot of protein with breakfast.
2. Drink plenty of water. One thing that people don’t get enough of is water (next thing is protein. Most people have carbs all day and their hydration comes in the form of alcohol and coffee). Start your morning with at least 350ml of water. This is the first thing that you should do. It’s no mistake that you go to bed a certain way and wake up lighter. This is because we’re getting dehydrated throughout the night, we are losing our water. Water has lots of benefits that are often ignored. Water can help increase energy expenditure and it can do this for up to 60 minutes (a study out of a clinical endocrinology journal discovered that drinking 500ml of water led to 30% increase in metabolic rate – it’s huge and very under discussed in the nutrition circles). Drinking water can help reduce appetite and food intake. One study done with elderly adults found that drinking 500ml of water reduced the amount of calories consumed at breakfast by 13%. That’s a lot – combine that over a week or a month, think about how many 13% that is – a lot of calorie reduction without you having to feel deprived or restricted. Looking at the combination of studies on water and weight loss, most of them demonstrated that drinking (extra) 1 to 2 litres of water per day has a major benefit towards weight loss and improving health. Start your morning with minimum 350ml of water but stay well hydrated throughout the day because it’s a great way to boost weight loss with minimal effort – for the lots of people thinking about easy weight loss : it doesn’t get much easier than drinking water.
3. Weight yourself ( if you can mentally and emotionally handle it). Lots of people say the scale means nothing but the scale obviously correlate to weight loss, I mean it is weight right? When you step on the scale and weight yourself each morning it can actually be an effective method to increase motivation and improve your self control. Several studies have associated weighing yourself daily with greater weight loss efforts. For instance, a study found that those who weight themselves daily lost about 13 pounds more over a period of 6 months than those who weight themselves less often. A lot of people will say : “Hold on. I can loose 13 pounds in 6 months” – really? A lot of people will end up right back where they started. And I think a lot of people will be happy to be 13 pounds less right now. That’s something very impactful and realistically significant in my mind. Another study reported that adults who weight themselves daily lost an average of 9.7 pounds over the course of the study while those who weight themselves only once a month actually gained 4.6 pounds – that’s very impactful. It’s not smart to stay in the dark about where your physiology is at. As much as some people can’t handle it (and they shouldn’t, the scale should never be your emotional master) it’s something that you can’t say it doesn’t help. When you weigh yourself every morning, this can help foster and reinforce healthy habits and behaviour that promotes weight loss because you can see where you at and you can make evidence based decisions. A very large study found that frequent self weighing was associated with improved restraint; beyond this, those who stopped weighing themselves frequently in this study were more likely to report increased calorie intake and decreased self discipline. For the best results, it’s smart for people to weight themselves right after they wake up and used the bathroom and before they drink or eat anything and to do it naked. That should be the factor that you go with that’s going to have the most reliable and valid measures over the course of time because weight fluctuates during the day and you don’t want to compare a night measure with a morning one. And don’t be one of those crazy people who weighs himself frequently throughout the day, every day. Don’t become a slave to the scale. That’s something you do not want to get into. So weight yourself daily or even 3 times a week, but only do this if you have the emotional health to do it.
4. Get some sun. Opening the curtains to let in some sunlight or spending a few extra minutes outside each morning can help kickstart your weight loss. One small study found that exposure to even moderate levels of light at certain times of the day 100% has an influence on weight. Exposure to sunlight is also the best way to meet your vitamin D needs. Some studies have found that meeting your vitamin D requirements can aid in weight loss and even prevent weight gain. In one study, 218 overweight and obese women took either vitamin D supplements or a placebo for one year. At the end of the study, those who met their vitamin D requirement lost an average of 7 pounds (3.2 kg) more than those with inadequate vitamin D blood levels. This is something interesting to point out because there’s a single intervention that created that effect. Another study out of the journal for women’s health followed 4,659 older women for four years and found that higher levels of vitamin D were linked to less weight gain. This is where we’re talking not just weight loss but the prevention of weight gain. Looking at all this, essentially, the amount of sun exposure you need can vary based on your skin type (colour), the season, your diet and your location. However, letting in some sunlight or sitting outside for 10–20 minutes each morning while having your coffee may have a beneficial effect on weight loss and a huge benefit on your sleep-wake cycle. Lots of people don’t know that exposure to natural light in the morning is the most powerful thing that you can do for your circadian rhythm.
5. Practice mindfulness. The mind is the body but also the body is the mind. You can’t have one without the other. You need a unification of a whole self in order to move forward for true health and fitness goals but also true maintenance of those goals once they’re completed. When you have a healthy mind it’s going to lead to healthy behaviours. Mindfulness is a practice that involves fully focusing on the present moment and bringing awareness to your thoughts and feelings. This practice has been shown to enhance weight loss and promote healthy eating habits. A meta-analysis on 19 studies found that mindfulness based interventions increased weight loss and reduced obesity-related eating behaviours which included some eating disorders as well. Mindfulness creates a very large effect in people who have issues with cravings. Another excellent review on the same topic had similar findings and noted that mindfulness training resulted in significant weight loss in 68% of the studies reviewed. Too many people think about calories or macros but don’t realise that their mind is going to determine whether they follow the plan or if they can stay on that plan or not once motivation/inspiration leaves. Motivation and inspiration have an expiration date but your mind doesn’t. Your mind is something where if you become mindful you’re able to connect with your body and your food and have a relationship with yourself that you are someone who is able to become someone that stays on this for the long term. Practicing mindfulness is simple. To get started, spend five minutes each morning sitting comfortably in a calm space and connect with your senses. This is what a lot of people call “ME TIME”. You should have silence in your day. Reflect on where you are right now, what’s most important to you, what are you trying to achieve, what you have to get done today, what do you feel in that moment. Thinking happens in the mind but feeling happens in the body. In those 5 minutes have no stimuli – no phone, no tv, not even your coffee. Just close your eyes and connect with yourself because this will not only lower your stress but will absolutely aid with weight loss. A lot of people think they’re going to be happy when they loose weight but if you weren’t happy with yourself first then the weight loss is an external cue that’s not going to bring you to happiness. Proper diet psychology is that we love ourselves first and then the weight loss will follow.
6.Exercise. That sounds obvious but it doesn’t have to be your workout. Getting in some physical activity first thing in the morning can help boost weight loss. One study in 50 overweight women measured the effects of aerobic exercise at different times of the day. While there was not much difference noted in specific food cravings between those who exercised in the morning versus the afternoon, working out in the morning was associated with a higher level of satiety. So although the women had the same types of cravings, the women who trained in the morning had higher levels of satiety so they didn’t act upon those cravings. Cravings are a normal part of human physiology but we don’t need to act upon them. Only when you give a craving power will it have power. And a craving will have power if you attach emotion to it (you think it’s going to feel so amazing when you have that thing) – but when you practice mindfulness you know it’s not that good for your future self and when you do some exercise in the morning you’ll have greater levels of satiety, which is greater feelings of fullness, which can actually bring down the power that we will ever give that craving because we’re not in such a weak state to surrender to it. Exercising in the morning may also help keep blood sugar levels steady throughout the day. Low blood sugar can result in many negative symptoms, including excessive hunger. One study in 35 people with type 1 diabetes showed that working out in the morning was associated with improved blood sugar control throughout the entire day. So for the average person we are going to see a much better result, because people with type 1 diabetes are most susceptible to blood sugar dysregulation. Try doing 20 push-ups or 40 jumping jacks (or whatever you fancy) to oxygenate your tissues, to lubricate your joints, to get the blood flowing, to wake up your mind and get your metabolism going for the day. Once you had your hydration, your mindfulness period and exercise, you are rolling for the day – time to rock.
7. Plan your meals. Making the effort to plan and pack your meals ahead of time can be a simple way to make better food choices and increase weight loss. A large study including 40,554 people found that meal planning was associated with better diet quality, more diet variety and a lower risk of obesity. Another study found that eating home-cooked meals more frequently was associated with improved diet quality and a decreased risk of excess body fat. In fact, those who ate home-cooked meals at least five times per week were 28% less likely to be overweight than those who only ate home-cooked meals three times or less per week. Try setting aside a few hours one night a week to plan and prepare your meals so that in the morning you can just grab them and go. Going out for lunch at work is a killer for results. You always going to eat more calories than you think and also it’s more expensive. I think there is no excuse for not meal prepping.
8. Sleep longer or go to bed earlier. Going to bed a bit earlier or setting your alarm clock later to squeeze in some extra sleep may help increase weight loss. Several studies have found that sleep deprivation is associated with an increased appetite. Sleep restriction leads to increased hunger and cravings, especially for high-carb, high-calorie foods. We reach for things that we know aren’t good for us; it happens. Our will power is cut down from the knees right when we wake up because we are tired. Lack of sleep has also been linked to an increase in calorie intake. In one study, 12 participants consumed an average of 559 more calories after getting just four hours of sleep, compared to when they got a full eight hours. Establishing a healthy sleep schedule is a critical component of weight loss, as critical as eating well and exercising. To maximize your results and get more fat loss from your day, you should aim for at least seven to nine hours of sleep per night.
9. Change your commuting way. While driving may be one of the most convenient ways to get to work, it may not be so great for your waistline. Research shows that walking, biking or using public transportation may be tied to a lower body weight and reduced risk of weight gain. One study followed 822 people over four years and found that those who commuted by car tended to gain more weight than non-car commuters. Similarly, a study including 15,777 people showed that using public transportation or active methods of transport, such as walking or biking, was associated with a significantly lower body mass index and body fat percentage, compared to using private transportation. You don’t have to do this every day if it’s something that’s not worth it but changing up your commute even a few times per week may be a simple and effective way to ramp up your weight loss efforts. Get on your bike instead of the car in the morning and you’ll be amazed at how much easier weight loss will come and how much less stressful it is. Find another way to get where you need to be and you’ll be lighter for it.
10. Track your food intake. A lot of people may be not down for the tracking thing but keeping a food diary to track what you eat can be an effective way to help boost weight loss and keep yourself accountable. One study tracked weight loss in 123 people for one year and found that completing a food journal was associated with a greater amount of weight loss – not surprising. Another study showed that participants who regularly used a tracking system to self-monitor their diet and exercise lost more weight than those who did not regularly use the tracking system even though they were performing the same behaviour and systems. Similarly, a study of 220 obese women found that the frequent and consistent use of a self-monitoring tool helped improve long-term weight management. Try using an app or even just a pen and paper with a food journal to record what you eat and drink, starting with your first meal of the day. From this journal you are able to make outcome based decisions – you are able to identify what is wrong, track where you are but most importantly it’s very eye opening; most of the people don’t realise how much they eat until they write it down. By writing down what you eat you become aware of what you’re eating which plays into mindfulness, which the plays into your energy intake, which then plays into your fat loss.
Practicing healthy behaviours in the morning it’s going to get your day starting on the right foot – more productive, set you up for success and a lot less stress.
These are 10 morning healthy habits that you can start using immediately to start dropping body fat and start becoming a leaner, healthier you without much effort.
For absolute best results combine these habits with a well rounded diet, healthy lifestyle and training programme.