It’s no secret that eating healthy and moving more are the keys to successful weight loss, but those aren’t the only things that factor into a healthy lifestyle. And there’s something to be said for getting the day started off right.
If you’re struggling to get the numbers to budge on the scale (or you just want to feel better), take a look at these morning habits that could be sabotaging your goals.
Early to bed, early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise. Although getting enough sleep is essential, too much sleep can be just as bad as not getting enough. WebMD says too much sleep is linked to diabetes and heart disease. Plus, if you’re hitting snooze on the alarm clock you’re more likely to be in a rush, which means you won’t have time for a healthy breakfast.
2. Skipping breakfast
If you’re skipping breakfast, you could be messing up your metabolism, according to Rush. Eating breakfast increases energy and stabilizes glucose levels. Breakfast also helps lower cortisol levels in the blood (the stress hormone). Surprisingly, cortisol levels are at their highest at waking up because your body increases production to prevent blood glucose levels from dropping too low, just before you awaken. And finally, eating a healthy breakfast can make it easier to cut calories the rest of the day.
3. Skipping the scale
Tracking your measurements is a helpful way to keep motivation going. According to the Journal of Obesity, study participants who weighed themselves every day were more successful. To weigh yourself properly, do it first thing in the morning after you’ve used the restroom (every little bit helps, right?) and in the buff (if possible). Track your weight every day and you’ll begin to notice patterns (such as how your weight may rise during your cycle) or if you have more water weight thanks to that extra piece of pizza from the night before.
Remember that numbers on the scale only tell so much. Muscle weighs more, so if you are strength training, that could affect your numbers, but that doesn’t mean your body isn’t changing for the better.
4. Checking email first thing
If the first thing you do is check an electronic device as soon as you open your eyes, you’re setting yourself up for failure. If you get distracted by a work or social email, you could easily burn away the time you need to get breakfast or work in a few pushups. Additionally, studies have shown a link between having a lot of email and higher stress levels, and who wants to start the morning off stressed?
5. Choosing an uncomfortable outfit
Dressing nice for work is essential for many jobs, but if you strap yourself into a tight suit with high heels, you’re less inclined to take the stairs or head out for a quick walk on your lunch break. If weight loss is your goal, consider slightly looser-fitting clothing and a pair of flats or toss a pair of tennis shoes into your work bag.
6. Filling up on the wrong carbs
Healthy carbs are an important part of any diet as your body breaks them down for energy. And having some carbs for breakfast is a simple way to bulk up your meal. Eating too many carbs, however, could make carb cravings stronger throughout the day.
Aim to eat these carbs for a filling, healthy way to get energy: oats, shredded wheat, chocolate milk (before or after a workout), mango, sprouted bread, quinoa, apples, blueberries, bananas and Greek yogurt, according to Eat This Not That.
7. Skipping meditation
An early morning meditation session could help you lose weight. Deep breathing and relaxing music can help reduce blood pressure and reduce cortisol levels. Cortisol, a stress hormone, is linked to weight gain and increased appetite, according to WebMD.
8. Not stretching
Stretching can help loosen up sore muscles, clear your mind and get your body ready for the day. You don’t have to spend 20 minutes stretching. If you start cold, stretch gently and use moving stretches to avoid injury. Spend three to four minutes loosening up in the morning to give yourself a boost of energy.
9. Getting ready in the dark
The sunlight is your friend! Give yourself a much-needed energy and mood boost by opening blinds as soon as you get up. The natural light gets your mind and body ready to move. More energy means you’re more likely to exercise. (Bonus: Exercise outside in morning sun for increased energy, a more positive attitude and decreased tension, according to Science Daily.)
10. Ignoring a morning cup of water
Before you guzzle back a cup of Joe, drink eight ounces of cool water first. Water helps your body maintain proper balances (nutrients, temperature, food digestion). A glass of water first thing in the morning will kick start your body. Plus, water fills up your belly so you’re less likely to overeat. In addition, a glass of cold water can give you a natural energy boost, according to WebMD.