Losing or gaining weight is not just about calories. Studies have demonstrated that multiple factors beyond what we eat affect our weight. So the best way to reach the right weight is to create a balance on different levels. And since the morning sets the tone for the entire day, a healthy morning routine will increase your odds of successful weight loss.
Before you write off all of this as “hippie talk,” understand one thing. The amount of fat we store as well as how hungry we feel are determined by the hormones leptin and insulin. For anyone to successfully lose weight, these two hormones must work correctly.1 Since these hormones communicate with every other hormone in our body, for them to work correctly, we must have something close to total body balance. Your weight loss hormones will head for a tailspin if there are too many stress hormones or inflammatory markers.
The Ideal Morning Routine To Lose Weight
1. Use A Gratitude Journal
Before you even get out of bed, take a couple of minutes to write about the things you are thankful for. But why do this? Because as difficult as life can get, you still probably have some good things in your life. Focusing on the positive at the start of the day will increase the “feel-good” hormones and relieve the stress hormones.
Stress is bad for the waist line for multiple reasons:
- Studies have shown that those who are stressed find fattening foods more rewarding, leading to overeating.2
- The cortisol spike that accompanies stress can actually make your body less receptive to insulin, the fat-storing hormone. When sensitivity to insulin goes down, fat storage goes up and it becomes easy to pack on the pounds.3
Taking a couple of minutes to focus on the good sets you up for a happier day. And a slim waist line doesn’t mean anything if you aren’t happy on the inside.
This might mean touching your toes, stretching your arms, or anything else that improves flexibility.
- Stretching can help you have an improved range of motion and relieve muscle tension. Muscle tension creates a similar stress response as with emotional stress. This is especially true when muscle tension is also associated with physical pain.
- When you feel better physically, you are happier emotionally, resulting in a positive hormonal effect on the body.
- It can get your blood flowing, giving you more energy. When the body is energized, you are less likely to crave fattening foods like sugar and refined carbohydrates, which provide you a quick burst of energy.
- Feeling better physically will make you much more likely to exercise later in the day. Aches and pains can easily be an excuse to skip a trip to the gym. So start off your day with a quick stretching routine.
3. Drink A Glass Of Water
You are naturally dehydrated when you wake, even if you don’t feel the signs of thirst. And dehydration will eventually lead to inflammation. The inflammatory markers here can interact with the hormones insulin and leptin, throwing them off balance.4 5
If this doesn’t provide you with enough motivation to stay hydrated, consider this. A 2003 study published in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism found that drinking 500 ml of water had a thermogenic effect that increased metabolism by 30%.
[pullquote]When your digestive system is more effective, your food is processed more effectively, which will support a healthy weight.[/pullquote]
Once you feel signals of thirst, you are already in a severe state of dehydration. Start off the day with a glass of water before you are thirsty! For extra credit, add a squeeze of lemon. Lemon water first thing in the morning will help ready your digestive system for the day.
4. Detoxify By Body Brushing
Most of us are exposed to a high level of toxicity in our daily lives. And this causes system-wide inflammation that, as already mentioned, has a disastrous effect on the hormones required to control weight. While true detoxification is a detailed process, small habits can still contribute.
[pullquote] positive side of body brushing is that it can be very energizing, which is just what you need first thing in the morning.[/pullquote]
Body brushing is a simple process of brushing the skin to awaken the lymphatic system and get it moving and takes only a couple of minutes. When the lymphatic system is working correctly, it effectively removes toxins from the body. When you lower the inflammation associated with toxicity, the body will be much more sensitive to insulin, which means that your body will be programmed to store less fat. A
5. Have A Good Breakfast
I’ve talked at length in the past about what constitutes a good breakfast. While a good breakfast is important, what is more important is to just eat something. So if you don’t have time for breakfast, grab a fruit or a few whole grain crackers or anything that will wake up your metabolism.
[pullquote]A good early breakfast ensures more controlled hunger signals, which can improve your eating habits for the rest of the day.[/pullquote]
Studies show that those who eat only later in the day have higher levels of the hormone ghrelin during the day. Ghrelin informs your brain that you’re hungry. Eating in the first half hour of the day will give your metabolism an early wake-up call, meaning you will potentially burn more calories in the early part of the day.
So there you have it! Allocate just 20 mins every morning to this 5-step routine to keep your body balanced, positively start the day, and ready your body for weight loss. Of course, this routine doesn’t give you permission to overindulge later in the day. True weight loss comes from a consistent practice of health-supporting habits. But this routine is a great foundation for your day. It will help you get the most out of all the other healthy choices you make later. And in weight loss, every little bit helps, doesn’t it?
|↑1||Havel, Peter J., Sidika Kasim-Karakas, Wendy Mueller, Patricia R. Johnson, Ronald L. Gingerich, and Judith S. Stern. “Relationship of plasma leptin to plasma insulin and adiposity in normal weight and overweight women: effects of dietary fat content and sustained weight loss.” The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism 81, no. 12 (1996): 4406-4413.|
|↑2||Zellner, Debra A., Susan Loaiza, Zuleyma Gonzalez, Jaclyn Pita, Janira Morales, Deanna Pecora, and Amanda Wolf. “Food selection changes under stress.” Physiology & Behavior 87, no. 4 (2006): 789-793.|
|↑3||Brüning, Jens C., Dinesh Gautam, Deborah J. Burks, Jennifer Gillette, Markus Schubert, Paul C. Orban, Rüdiger Klein, Wilhelm Krone, Dirk Müller-Wieland, and C. Ronald Kahn. “Role of brain insulin receptor in control of body weight and reproduction.” Science 289, no. 5487 (2000): 2122-2125.|
|↑4||Dandona, Paresh, Ahmad Aljada, and Arindam Bandyopadhyay. “Inflammation: the link between insulin resistance, obesity and diabetes.” Trends in immunology 25, no. 1 (2004): 4-7.|
|↑5||Van Dielen, F. M. H., C. Van’t Veer, A. M. Schols, P. B. Soeters, W. A. Buurman, and J. W. M. Greve. “Increased leptin concentrations correlate with increased concentrations of inflammatory markers in morbidly obese individuals.” International Journal of Obesity & Related Metabolic Disorders 25, no. 12 (2001).|