The Most Important Habit to Have for Weight Loss
Along with willpower and motivation, forming sustainable healthy habits is essential to a healthier lifestyle. By definition, a habit is a settled or regular tendency or practice. However, habits need a cue or trigger. For example, saying “Thank you” (habit) after someone does something for you (cue), or buckling your seat belt (habit) upon entering a car (cue).
Luckily, there is a single trigger that nearly everyone experiences every day that you may be able to utilize to lose weight.
The Cue: Getting out of bed
The Habit: Utilizing your morning
For night people, it may seem nearly impossible, but the first two hours upon waking should be the most mindful of your day, filled with intentional decisions. The routine you create for the first two hours of the day will set the precedent for the rest of your day. Setting a new habit to make the most out of your morning (that does not involve hitting snooze) could allow you to start losing and maintaining a healthier weight and mentality for years to come.
Step 1: Have water within reach
As soon as you wake up, drink at least eight ounces of water. After a night of sleep, our bodies start to become dehydrated. Being hydrated is one of the most important things we can do for our bodies. Just being hydrated will boost cognition, start your metabolism, increase alertness, elevate your mood, and help deliver nutrients to your cells. Additionally, if you have an early morning workout, it will energize your muscles. When our cells are full of fluid, they are more productive and are able to metabolize and break down food more efficiently. You would be surprised at the number of calories you can trim just by choosing water over calorie-dense beverages, like soda and juice. Plus, you may mistake your thirst for hunger, which can result in overeating.
Step 2: Don’t grab your cup of joe until 10 a.m.
Research has found that the early morning may actually be the worst time to drink coffee. This is because our body’s cortisol levels are highest in the morning. Cortisol, your body’s main stress hormone, provides you with an all-natural boost and caffeine interferes with that by slowing and replacing it. Plus, if you go straight for a cup of coffee and forego the water, your rehydration efforts will be lowered.
If you are going to drink coffee, stick to black coffee with a splash of milk mid-morning. If you are not used to drinking coffee this way it may seem very bitter, at first, but your body will adapt to less sugar. This will help you feel more energized while saving you extra calories.
Step 3: Hit the gym
According to research from The National Institute for Fitness and Sport, exercise not only gets your blood and oxygen flowing, but morning workouts also kickstart your metabolism and lead to more efficient muscle building. One reason you will notice better results from morning workouts is because the body’s testosterone levels are highest in the morning, which promotes muscle growth. When testosterone levels are high, you will build muscle more efficiently. This is important because muscle burns more calories than fat, something that is essential for weight loss.
As an added bonus, research from Harvard Medical School found that even just a few minutes of cardiovascular exercise will speed up mental processes and cognitive abilities. What better way to go into work than with a clear, focused mind. Find a workout that does not make you dread waking up early, like a group class that you can enjoy with your friends, or a HIIT session that will get you in and out quickly while burning a ton of calories, or get a personal trainer (P.S. your first workout with a personal trainer is free) to help hold you accountable.