For me, every morning tends to feel like a disaster zone. After I feed my pets and tend to the daily battle of getting my 22-month old daughter to eat anything other than cookies for breakfast, it’s hard to do much more for myself beyond grabbing a muffin, throwing some coffee in a travel mug, and brushing my teeth.
One day, I realized how much the chaos was affecting my health. I wasn’t exactly popping out of bed full of energy and ready to greet the day, and I was feeling sluggish and foggy all afternoon. Something had to give. So, with my weight on an upswing, I started asking my skinny friends what they did every morning. Their answers varied, but all had a few key things in common: they took time for themselves (even if it was five minutes), they always ate a healthy breakfast, and they got some movement in—from a full-on workout to just a few sun salutations in the living room.
I then turned to the experts to see what they had to say; not only did they agree with all my thin and fit pals, they added a ton more easy and doable tips. If you’re looking to lose weight or reach your fitness goals, the morning is a crucial time to get on track! Get started with these good habits so that your rise and grind transcends to actually rising and shining. And for more insights into the routines of hot bodied people, don’t miss these 21 Things People With Six-Packs Do Every Week!
They Wake Up Peacefully
To start your day off feeling saner, get an alarm that uses light instead of sound to lull you out of sleep. “This will allow you to finish a sleep cycle instead of being jolted out of it,” explains Ariel Iasevoli, a personal trainer at Crunch. “This helps balance your hormonal profile, reduces fatigue, and makes sleep more productive.” Verilux, the maker of light therapy lamps, also makes alarm clocks that mimic the dawn that you can buy on Amazon. And for more tips for dealing with your daylight hours, don’t miss these 13 Must-Know Things About Seasonal Affective Disorder!
They Set Their Intentions
Start your day by setting your intentions for what you hope to do and accomplish, especially in regards to your health. “Before jumping out of bed, take 10 deep belly breaths. At the end of this, set your intention for the day,” suggests Lisa Kinder, star of the “10 Minute Solution: HIIT” DVD. You can try an intention like “I will be grateful for the health I have right now” or a mantra like “The food I eat today is the body I will wear tomorrow.”
They Ignore the Scale
Everyone’s weight will fluctuate by a few pounds simply based on water retention or an indulgent weekend. That’s why stepping on the scale every morning isn’t always an accurate assessment of where you’re at—and can do more harm than good. “It can be demoralizing,” says Marika Lindholm, sociology professor at Northwestern University and founder of ESME, Empowering Solo Moms Everywhere. “It doesn’t serve any purpose in terms of your overall health and well-being. If your clothes start to feel tight or you notice some extra weight, then make some positive changes such as cutting back on your sugar intake.” Still hung up on if you’re retaining water? Then check out these 17 Things to Know About Water Weight!
They Listen to Something Motivational
Take advantage of the time it takes to shower, brush your teeth, and put on makeup in the morning. Stephanie Mansour, weight loss coach and health expert for women, suggests listening to motivational podcasts during that time. “I love Tim Ferris for motivation and any other podcasts that are hosted by successful and healthy people,” she recommends.
They Avoid Email and Electronics
Don’t immediately get on the computer or reach for your phone, iPad, or other devices. You have all day to glare at a screen with slouchy posture. “Use your morning to move your body and clear your mind instead,” says Iasevoli.
They Choose Clothes They Can Move In
We’re not suggesting that you stylize your pajamas or wear your nicest yoga pants to work. But we are encouraging you to put together an outfit each morning that you can move comfortably in. “Uncomfortable shoes drive you toward elevators instead of stairs. And tight, ill-fitting clothes keep you from stretching and curtail deep breathing and circulation,” says Lindholm. At the very least, pack some flats so you can take the stairs or go for a walk during your lunch break! For some tips on how to avoid gaining weight because of your job, check out these 35 Weight Loss Tips for Every Type of Job.
They Strike a Power Pose
Research shows that standing tall in a “Wonder Woman” pose with legs apart and hands on your hips can impact body chemistry, making you immediately feel more powerful. “This is especially useful before stressful situations but why not embrace your power every morning as you tackle a new day?” says Lindholm. “Breathe deeply, strike a power pose, and honor the healthy superhero in you!”
They Eat Breakfast
“A healthy breakfast starts you off on the right track for each day. When you’ve given your body what it needs, you will feel resolve and energy through the morning,” explains Lindholm. “Skipping breakfast backfires when you grab donuts on the way to work or hit the snack machine when your stomach starts growling.” Just don’t reach for any of these 15 Popular “Breakfast” Foods You Need to Give Up ASAP!
They Avoid Carbs in the A.M.
Filling up with carbs at the front of your day is just setting yourself up for a downward spiral. “If I eat a bagel, I crave carbs for the rest of the day. Same thing with cereal, toast, and even granola,” says Mansour. “I stick to eggs or protein shakes!”
They Optimize Their Caffeine Fix
Green tea and matcha green tea are powerful potions first thing in the morning. “It speeds metabolism and assists with weight loss, contains L-theanine—which is calming and helps with mental focus—and has potent antioxidants that prevent cancer and reduce inflammation,” says Dr. Rachel Carlton Abrams, author of BodyWise. “It’s a real health tonic.” It’s such a fat-blasting winner that we created an entire book and plan around it, called the The 7-Day Flat-Belly Tea Cleanse*! Test panelists lost up to 4 inches from their waist!
Or They Drink a Detox Tea
Dr. Daryl Gioffre, nutrition expert, health coach, and certified raw food chef, highly recommends brewing yourself a cup of what he called “detox tea.” Made with ginger, turmeric, and lemon, it lowers system inflammation resulting from an over acidic lifestyle. “This is a great tea to begin your day and can be a good alkaline substitute for any coffee drinkers,” he explains.
To make, follow these directions: Boil a pot of water. While that’s happening, take a 1-inch piece of both organic turmeric and ginger and chop it into small pieces (the smaller the better). Once the water is boiling, remove from heat and add the ginger and turmeric, as well as a pinch of black pepper (which increases the potency of the turmeric by 2,000%, says Gioffre). Let it steep for at least 10 minutes (simmer longer if you want stronger tea). Pour into a cup, squeeze and drop a lemon slice into the cup. Make a big portion and place the leftovers in an airtight glass bottle in the refrigerator to be enjoyed later as a Detox ‘Iced” Tea.
RELATED: 17 Tasty Turmeric Detox Drinks
This is an easy way to get energized and jump start your day and you can even do it from your bed. Just breathe in through your nose for three seconds, then hold breath for six seconds, then breathe out your mouth for five seconds. Do 10 repetitions, at least once, ideally three times daily. “Seventy percent of the toxins inside of your body are removed through the lungs,” Dr. Gioffre explains. “Breathing is an essential element to life, yet we’re using less and less of our lung capacity,” he explains. “We are not taking advantage of one of the most powerful ways to detoxify our body. When we are holding onto toxins, we hold onto fat.”
They Reach for the Right Supplements
“Take a multivitamin, probiotic, and fish oil,” recommends Iasevoli. “These are the three most important supplements everyone can and should take to fill in dietary gaps.” Check out these 21 Things You Don’t Know About Vitamins for more about the pills you should or shouldn’t pop.
They Walk, Walk, Walk
Go for a walk—or better yet, walk to work if you can. “Getting in your steps is the easiest and most underrated aspect of fitness,” says Iasevoli. “Walking is the easiest way to prevent weight gain, increase mental clarity, and stay active every day.”
They Fit In a Few Moves
Whether you’re waiting for the elevator or brushing your teeth, just do at least 10 squats, recommends Iasevoli. They’re an all-encompassing way to keep your hips and ankles mobile, legs and core strong, and prevent age-related musculoskeletal issues. Also, who doesn’t want a better backside?
Some quick stretches when you wake up or before you get dressed can also do wonders for your body because they will loosen up any tight muscles and joints in your body. “Lying in the same position all night can definitely tighten up your body, so even three to five minutes of stretching can make you feel much better,” recommends FitFusion trainer Kenta Seki. “Some of my favorite stretches in the morning are a spinal twist, child’s pose, downward dog, and runners lunge.” Don’t forget to roll your head around to loosen up your neck and shoulders! Don’t miss these 18 Ways to Motivate Yourself for a Morning Workout if you want to amp things up a bit!
They Make Their Beds
It’s so simple, but so important—as soon as you get out of bed, immediately take a few minutes to make it. “That way, you aren’t tempted to get back into it,” says Seki. Instead, you can start your day on time and with the satisfaction of knowing one thing in your life is already in working order.
They Check What They Have in Stock
If you don’t already have your meals prepped for the day or week, take a quick glance in your fridge and pantry to see what you’re already stocked with. “That way, if you plan on cooking something that evening, you’ll know if you need to pick up anything on the way home,” says Seki. And if you’re burnt out by the time you get home, we’ve got you covered with these 20 Lazy Dinner Recipes for Weight Loss!