4 Ways Your Morning is Sabotaging Your Weight Loss Goals
The morning, for some people it is the time of day that they feel the most energized and ready for the day. For others, like myself, this is often the time of day we have least amount of energy and mental clarity. Whichever one you are; the way you go about your morning can either help you make progress towards your weight loss goal or push you further away from it. And I have found that many common morning practices push us further away. Here are 5 common ones that I see:
- Hitting the snooze button- This may seem harmless, but it really is a deeper issue with your sleep. Many people set an alarm with the intent to snooze 5 times before really getting up for the day. That could be 15-30 minutes of additional restful sleep you could get versus the interrupted sleep you’re getting with the snooze. Often when people hit the snooze button it is because they don’t feel rested when they wake up OR they have developed a habit of doing this, neither of which is good. If you are the person who doesn’t feel ready for the day, take a look at your evening routine. Did you settle down early enough or were you working right up to bed? Do spend time managing your stress and coming down before you go to brush your teeth? Do you make sure the room you are in is dark and cool to promote restful sleep? All of these things, and more, could help you get more restful sleep and thus wake up ready for the day. Why is this important for weight loss? Because sleep is the body’s way to recharge. Not only does consistently poor sleep lead to poor regulation of cortisol, which is a stress hormone that in elevated levels can lead to retention of body fat, BUT it also leads us to reach for multiple sources of caffeine, which often come with sugar additives to enhance taste, or processed carbs. This then becomes a double whammy of weight gain.
- The breakfast you eat- This one may seem obvious, but humor me. Often people start their morning behind the 8-ball (see above point) or rushing around. Because of this breakfast is an afterthought. They know they need to eat, but they don’t have time to make a real meal. So what do people do, they often turn to cereal, toast, bagel, etc. This is all processed carbohydrates. These meals jack up your blood sugar often leaving you with a crash. So about 1-3 hours later you’re starving again and tired on top of it. Not to mention the excess carbs in your system where most Americans who work a standard 9-5 just don’t need that many. How to solve this? The first way is with planning and preparation. The ideal time to set yourself up for a solid breakfast the next day is the evening before. When I would coach 5:30am classes at my previous gym, I got into the habit of making my breakfast the evening before and then heating it up the next morning for me to eat. This is probably the easiest and best way for you to get a solid breakfast in the morning, but if you are someone who hates the idea of heating up eggs from the night before, it’s ok because I got you covered too. Smoothies are a great way to make a quick nutritious breakfast that you could even eat in your car if you had to. Here is a great template I use for many of my clients (women start with 1 of everything and men start with 2 of everything:
- Start with 4-8 ounces of liquid
- Examples: water, almond milk, whole cow’s milk, unsweetened soy milk
- 1-2 scoops of protein powder
- Examples: whey, casein, rice, hemp
- 1-2 handfuls of raw or roasted veggies
- Examples: spinach, kale, cucumber, celery, carrots
- 1-2 handfuls of fruit
- examples: apples, banana, berries of any kind
- 1-2 teaspoons of fat
- walnuts, almonds, flax, chia seeds, nut butter
- Start with 4-8 ounces of liquid
This is a great way to get the nutrition that you need without all the processed carbs.
- Skipping breakfast- Now to piggyback on the point above, many people just skip breakfast altogether. This can be a problem, mostly because it leaves people extremely hungry once they get to the middle of the day. Have you ever gone to the grocery store hungry? If so, you know what inevitably happens. You end up purchasing unhealthy foods because they look so good while you walk around the store. Well the same holds true when people finally get to lunch and they haven’t eaten yet. They often turn to fast food to satisfy that hunger. Find a meal plan that allows you to eat breakfast and allows you to feel satisfied and not stuffed after meals.
- Starting the day stressed- So the more I have been on this earth, the more I have come to realize that the biggest thing killing people today really is stress. Stress can take many forms from emotional stress, food stress, physical stress (think injury or even exercise), and obviously work stress or worry. Its unavoidable for us, but the biggest thing we don’t do is learn how to manage the stress that is in our everyday lives. So back to the morning, many people start the morning rushed, they run around and leave the house late, they sit in traffic on the way to work worrying about what their boss will say for being late, they get to work late and are inundated with emails, they answer the emails first and then they work they must do that day is backed up even more…you get the point. If the morning had started much more smoothly, then the stress level would have been lower, and thus less stress means less cortisol, which will inevitably mean less fat retention. So two things I recommend:
- First one is to get up a little bit earlier than normal. Now if you get up at 3 or 4am for work or to workout, well then we will have to come up with a different strategy for you. However, most people don’t get up that early and can afford to maybe get up 15-30 minutes earlier than they normally do. This will allow you to start the day ahead, instead of behind.
- The second thing is to take some of that time to engage in a relaxing activity to immediately start your day in a relaxed state. Whether that is reading, meditation, mindfulness breathing, prayer, whatever it is will help set you up in a much better state to buffer and deal with the stress that will come your way throughout the day.
So there it is folks. If you are someone looking to lose weight and you can start to implement the strategies above, then you will start to see some benefit. Now I am not saying that if you do the strategies above that all your weight loss dreams will come true. Many coaches or people looking to make a buck on some sort of fitness craze will tell you that, but it is simply not true. The truth is that nutrition is a complicated and often extremely individual topic. However, these four steps will provide you with a place to start and help you get each and every day started on the right foot.
If you would like more guidance as it pertains to nutrition, email firstname.lastname@example.org and we can get you set up with a coach.
Stay the course,
2017 08 31