Any time of day is perfect for making a good health decision, but nothing beats the morning. By making the right moves just after waking, you can set your body up for weight loss, your mind for productivity and your attitude to make the whole day great. Here are four easy things to do in the morning that will make your whole day better. Congratulations: You now have a morning strategy for weight loss success.
1. Exercise Early to End the Day Strong
There are lots of reasons coaches recommend morning exercise. For one, they say, the later in the day you work out, the more distractions may pop up that could keep you from the gym.
But science actually agrees that morning exercise can be more productive. In a 2013 study from the British Journal of Nutrition, dieters who exercised in a fasted state first thing in the morning burned 20 percent more fat than those who ate breakfast before their workout. And the morning exercise did not correlate to an increased consumption of calories throughout the day. The morning workout also helps at the end of the day: In a study of overweight women aged 50 to 75, those who exercised in the morning got more and better sleep than those who didn’t exercise and those who exercised in the evening.
2. Drink Two Tall Glasses of Water
Between your workout and breakfast, down two tall glasses of water to lose more weight. In a Virginia Tech study, those participants who drank 16 ounces of water before meals lost 36 percent more weight over a three-month period than those who didn’t drink before eating. Those glasses of water will also help you stay hydrated, which can help you lose, too. According to researchers at the University of Utah, a dehydrated body can burn up to 2 percent fewer calories at rest.
3. Chow Down on Protein
If you do, you could curb evening snack cravings. In one study from 2013, overweight or obese study participants who ate a breakfast with 35 grams of protein ate fewer high-fat, high-sugar snacks in the evening when compared with those who ate cereal or no breakfast at all. A little healthy fat helps, too. German and Austrian researchers both found that olive oil improved feelings of fullness when compared to butter and canola oil. In Germany, study participants were given yogurt with one of these fats every day as a supplement to their normal diet. Those eating the yogurt with olive oil had the best fullness feelings, and none of them gained weight or body fat despite eating the yogurt as extra calories.
4. Don’t Check Your Email
It can wait, because it will just derail you. In a roundup of what extremely successful people do in the early hours, the Fast Company found that waiting to check email—and waiting to respond to all the tiny to-dos your a.m. inbox brings with it—was a common theme.
One classic time-management book, Eat the Frog, suggests tackling one big, ugly task you don’t want to do as soon as you start work. Or as Mark Twain said, “Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.” Choosing a task you dread first thing means you can knock something off your list that you’ll be happy to be rid of. The rest of the day will feel lighter—and even if your email sends you on endless goose chases until after 5 p.m., you’ll be happy to know you accomplished at least one big thing during your day.