Your morning routine can set the mood for the rest of your day and can impact your productivity, so if you're looking to lose weight, establishing some essential morning routines can be just what you need.
You already know how beneficial it's been to establish a bedtime routine for your kids, but do you know how crucial healthy behaviors and routines are to your weight loss efforts? Research has shown that those successful at maintaining weight loss often eat the same foods, engage in consistent exercise, and don't skip meals. They've practiced behaviors over and over again until the task became automatic.
There have been several studies observing the weight gain seen in children over the summer months due to, in part, a lack of consistent structure and routine. It stands that a similar observation may be made in adults.
With a few tweaks to your day, you can be on your way to making that morning yoga class or meal planning a consistent part of your lifestyle. The best place to start -- your morning routine!
Try tackling these areas if sustainable weight loss is your goal:
1. You sleep in
I get it - the kids finally slept past 7 am on a Saturday. Or, even better...it's summer! And everyone is enjoying the hot, lazy days. But your fat cells love feeling lazy, too. Your circadian rhythm not only helps you arise in the daylight and sleep blissfully during the night, but it plays a part in regulating how efficient you are in calorie-burning. We burn a bit more of our calories during the day than we do at nighttime.
Rising early also helps lets you seize that quiet, solo time of the day. The most productive people utilize this time of day to get ahead. Not just because there are fewer interruptions, but because our brains are most alert and awake at this time.
So, practice healthy sleep behaviors and set a consistent time to go to bed at night and rise in the morning.
Start with one healthy behavior to add to your morning; try some stretching, a morning walk, or plan out your meals for the day.
I like to do my weekly meal planning in the morning when it's quiet; preferable with multiple recipe books spread out on my deck table with a hot cup of coffee watching the birds go crazy in the morning.
(See my article about the importance of sleep and weight loss and see the healthy sleep tips here.)
2. You're not active in the morning
It's not necessary to be active in the morning versus another time of the day, but people who get a head start on physical activity tend to be more successful at weight loss. It could be that by tackling this early in the day they are guaranteed that it gets done no matter how the day turns out.
Being active early in the day may also be associated with sustained weight loss because it gives you that 'health halo' for the rest of your day.
3. You skip breakfast
So, our circadian rhythm - that amazing, master clock in the brain's hypothalamus - is synchronized to a 24-hour day by the light/dark cycle. But, in certain tissues, it's synchronized to our feeding/fasting cycles. This essentially means that eating in sync with daylight optimizes metabolism.
We are evolutionarily built to eat during daylight and we burn more calories in daylight, as well. Even our digestion is better in the morning. (We actually produce more bile acids and nutrient transporters in the morning to help break down our food.)
Not only does eating breakfast help with weight loss by encouraging our metabolisms to work better, but it can also help ward off hunger later on in the day.
When you eat a satiating breakfast of lean proteins and fiber-rich carbohydrates, you're preventing those blood sugar swings that cause you to be hangry and overeat at your next meal.
4. You're not frontloading protein
Maybe you are having breakfast, but it's all carbs. Quick and easy bagels, morning muffins, toast, croissants...
These carb-heavy, low-fiber foods are great for quick energy, but they won't hold you very long. You need that satiating heart-healthy protein and fat to keep you satisfied.
These carbohydrate breakfast foods raise your blood sugar quickly - and what goes up, must come down. That's when you feel that dip in energy - that slump during the day. And the cycle of quick surges in blood sugar and insulin release has a negative impact on weight loss.
What you need paired with those carbs is a protein food. The protein helps blunt the glucose response in the blood.
A recent small study observed that participants with diabetes who took a whey protein supplement before each of their 3 meals for the day had better blood sugar control during the day than those who did not.
5. You're getting in your own way
Now, there are a lot of ways this can happen but, very often, I see people who overate the day before and now feel that there's no use in starting fresh again today. It's easy to tell yourself excuses like, "What's one more day of eating unhealthy?", "I'll just start again on Monday", or, "This one meal won't matter in the big picture."
And it won't. But if you continue doing that every, say, Thursday through Sunday, that's 12 days out of the month that you may be overeating. (Or, 40% of the month)
See how it can add up?
Instead, brush off the last overeaten meal and start again the very next meal. Not on Monday, or next week. But now.
And practice that until it becomes routine.
Don't let the lazy days of summer push your weight loss goals aside! Join my 8-week accountability group starting July 1, 2022 for group goal setting, accountability, meal plans, exercise regimes, and challenges. Check it out HERE!
Wyatt HR, Grunwald GK, Mosca CL, Klem ML, Wing RR, Hill JO. Long-term weight loss and breakfast in subjects in the National Weight Control Registry. Obes Res. 2002;10:78-82. doi:10.1038/oby.2002.13
Gorin AA, Phelan S, Wing RR, Hill JO. Promoting long-term weight control: does dieting consistency matter?Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 2004;28:278-281. doi:10.1038/sj.ijo.0802550
Arlinghaus KR, Johnston CA. The Importance of Creating Habits and Routine. Am J Lifestyle Med. 2018;13(2):142-144. Published 2018 Dec 29. doi:10.1177/1559827618818044
Franckle R, Adler R, Davison K. Accelerated Weight Gain Among Children During Summer Versus School Year and Related Racial/Ethnic Disparities: A Systematic Review. Prev Chronic Dis 2014;11:130355. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5888/pcd11.130355
Smith K, Taylor GS, Brunsgaard LH, et al. Thrice daily consumption of a novel, premeal shot containing a low dose of whey protein increases time in euglycemia during 7 days of free-living in individuals with type 2 diabetes. BMJ Open Diabetes Research and Care 2022;10:e002820. doi: 10.1136/bmjdrc-2022-002820