A wise woman once said: “The best way to finish what you start is to start the way you want to finish.”
The same holds true for weight loss. The things you do in those first few hours after waking can either set you up for a day of high spirits, endless energy, good health and easy weight loss, or a day of low energy, chronic fatigue, raving hunger, dark moods, crabbiness and hapless weight gain.
Investing some effort, will-power and planning into just a few morning hours has the power to alter the entire day that follows, opening the doors for effortless rewards to pour through, like easier weight loss, soaring energy and good health.
That’s definitely a bargain worth investing in.
1. Start your Day with Spiced Lemon Water
First thing upon waking up, drink a tall glass of warm water with a generous squeeze of lemon and a pinch of cayenne pepper.
Puckering just at the thought of this potion? It refreshes and hydrates your body after all those night hours of fasting, while stimulating your digestive system, encouraging morning bowel emptying and improving your liver and gallbladder’s ability to metabolize fat. Lemons are also rich in vitamin C and potassium, key nutrients for a healthy metabolism. Cayenne pepper has been scientifically linked to improved calorie burning and appetite control.
If possible, use organic lemons and filtered spring water.
2. Reconsider Your Break-Up with Breakfast
“I don’t have time for breakfast…the thought of eating food first thing in the morning makes me queasy…I’m trying to cut back calories so I skip breakfast…I’m just not hungry when I wake up…”
Famous last words. Of people still struggling to lose weight.
A few minutes after drinking your lemon water, have breakfast. Why? Because eating breakfast brings your blood sugar levels back to normal, balances your hormones, boosts your mood and kick-starts your metabolism. It improves insulin levels and appetite control, helping to reduce the number of calories you eat throughout the rest of the day.
A recent study placed two groups on the same diet with the same number of calories, with the only difference being that one group ate breakfast every day while the other group did not. The breakfast eaters did far better with successful weight loss, lowered hunger and cravings throughout the day, and maintaining healthy insulin and cholesterol levels. It turns out that weight loss isn’t just about what you eat, but also about when you eat it.
But you won’t achieve these effects with just any ol’ meal in the morn’. Make sure your breakfasts are triggering weight loss instead of weight gain by avoiding these common breakfast mistakes. Then give some of these quick and healthy breakfast recipes for 300 calories or less a whirl.
Or if you really can’t stomach the idea of eating first thing in the morning, than having a smoothie for breakfast may be the very best solution for you. They’re quick, easy and gentle on the stomach, while also delicious, healthy and packed with fat-blasting and energizing nutrients. You’ll start to love breakfast again with these delicious breakfast smoothies.
3. Make Sure Breakfast Includes Protein
Studies show that protein-rich breakfasts help reduce ghrelin, the hunger hormone, while simultaneously increasing cholecystokinin, a hormone that acts as an appetite suppressant. Other studies show that protein-rich breakfasts help to reduce cravings throughout the day as well as evening snacking. While sausage and bacon for breakfast will backfire in the long run, protein-rich foods like high-quality protein powders, eggs, nuts and seeds, nut butters, cottage cheese, probiotic yogurt and others are great choices that help to steady your blood sugar, feed your muscles and set up your metabolism for a day of fat burning and weight loss.
Most people already know that fiber is your best bowel buddy. Turns out it’s also your best belly bro and metabolism mate as well.
Not only does eating more fiber lower blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels, but research also shows that simply upping the amount of fiber you eat each day – even if you don’t make any other lifestyle changes – can already start to crank your bathroom scale down in your favor. Fiber-rich foods also help to feed the friendly gut flora living in your intestines that help to regulate blood sugar and fat-burning.
Dark leafy greens, broccoli, chia seeds, flax seeds, steel-cut oats, berries, stone fruits, bananas, and other high-fiber plant foods make excellent additions to morning smoothies, oatmeal toppings, or quick breakfast side-salads.
5. Sack Your Sugar
There’s no longer any dispute. Sugar has been firmly established as bad news. It’s linked to weight gain, obesity, mental and emotional disorders, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, cancer and more.
Ironically, the meal of the day that we tend to pack up with the most sugar is the most important one for setting the tone for the day’s health: breakfast. The foods most commonly consumed during breakfast are also the ones that tend to be high in sugar, sending your energy levels crashing, your mood nose-diving and your appetite raging – all the triggers for a day of overeating and weight gain.
Avoid starting your day with these common “healthy” breakfast foods.
Skip the sugar-laden cold cereals, bagels, muffins and breakfast pastries. Replace the sugar in your coffee with metabolism-boosting cinnamon instead, or other healthy sweeteners like stevia or erythritol (or better yet, swap your coffee for tea instead). Satisfy your morning sweet tooth with fresh or frozen low-glycemic fruits, like berries, stone fruits, kiwis or banana, which add the perfect amount of flavor and sweetness to smoothies, oatmeal or breakfast parfaits.
6. Do the A.M. Hustle
Morning workouts work wonders at incinerating fat, hiking your metabolism for the rest of the day and making your daily energy levels soar.
Even if you don’t have the time or opportunity for a full-fledge morning workout, you certainly can set your alarm clock ten minutes earlier to fit in some High-Intensity Interval Training that has been scientifically proven to jack up your metabolism for the rest of the day.
Top of the morning, try this Total-Body Ten Minute Workout that could change your entire body.
Not only does waking up earlier help you calmly fit in your morning workout and weight loss breakfast without the stress and pressing time constraints, but studies also show that early risers tend to eat fewer calories, eat more plant fiber, have lower body mass indexes, less belly fat, and to be generally happier and healthier than night owls and late sleepers.
Getting up earlier means getting to bed earlier to ensure that you get the recommended 7 – 10 hours of sleep every night. A morning that activates an entire day of weight loss and good health starts with a disciplined bed time the night before.
The feeling of rest, renewed energy and positivity that you experience after a night of good sleep is well worth it, ushering in a high power morning as well as a healthy, happy day.