A healthy morning ritual begins the day right: It sets the day rolling in a positive direction from the get-go. Small “first thing” habits, despite how insignificant they might seem, often govern how the rest of the day follows, particularly in terms of diet and weight loss. Here’s a list of five morning habits that might be keeping you from losing weight, and what you can do instead.
Blocking out the sun
Do you open your curtains after you wake up in the morning? It might seem unrelated, but exposure to sunlight first thing in the morning might help stimulate weight loss. A study published by the U.S. National Library of Medicine explains how light exposure at certain times of the day, particularly in the morning, could influence body fat as well as appetite-regulating hormones. Sunlight also helps you meet your daily Vitamin D requirements, which has been found to aid in weight loss. Start the day off right and take your first sips of coffee on the porch outside; the morning sun will clear your head and might help you reach your weight loss goals.
Reaching for coffee before water
Downing a glass of water, right upon waking up, has a number of surprising health benefits. It’s been found to accelerate your metabolism, and it helps you digest your breakfast later in the morning. It also flushes the body of nasty toxins that might be threatening your health. Try setting a glass of water for yourself every evening, so you can have it handy when you wake up.
Trading mindfulness for extra ZZZ’s
No, the practice of mindfulness and meditation isn’t just for yogis; in fact, it’s been found to kickstart weight loss and promote healthy eating habits. Mindfulness involves focusing on the now, bringing hyper-awareness to how you’re thinking and feeling. One study published by the U.S. National Library of Medicine examines the correlation between mindfulness and weight loss; their conclusions report significant weight loss in 68 percent of the studies reviewed for those participants who practiced mindfulness. Try one of these simple mindfulness exercises to begin your practice, if you don’t know where to start: http://www.practicingmindfulness.com/16-simple-mindfulness-exercises/
When you’re on the run in the morning, it’s easy to skimp out on a sufficient breakfast. However, the saying rings true: “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.” A hearty and nutritious meal, full of protein and slow-digesting carbs, will help you feel full and energized for the rest of the morning. It’ll also keep you from grabbing that candy bar before your lunch break. Try a bowl of oatmeal or a healthy smoothie on the go; it’ll translate directly into the rest of your day.
Tricking yourself into thinking you don’t have time to exercise
It might be tough to incorporate a workout routine into your morning, especially if you have an early work day. However, it might be worth setting your alarm an hour earlier and going for a quick jog or bike ride. Exercising in the morning is the perfect way to set the day in a positive direction: It boosts your metabolism, improves your mood and establishes a health-conscious mindset for the rest of the day. Plus, you’ll be more inclined to grab a healthy breakfast after breaking a sweat. Just make sure to fuel your body with the right nutrition beforehand: Try half a banana with a teaspoon of peanut butter or 1/4 cup of dried fruit for an early morning grind.