8 Things Healthy People Do Before 10 A.M.

Article posted in: Lifestyle
woman laying in the grass

A single behavior won’t make you healthy: It’s the sum of all the little wins and losses throughout the day—what healthy snacks you choose to eat, how much you move, how often you stand, when you go to sleep—that create a healthy (or unhealthy) body and life.

Stack your a.m. with W’s to keep the balance in your favor! Start with these eight morning habits that healthy people swear by—and science backs up as good for your waistline, heart, head and productivity.

Here are eight things healthy people do every morning:

1. Rise, shine, drink water.

You’ll burn more calories all day: A German study found that drinking 48 ounces (about six cups) of cold water increased calorie burn at rest by up to 50 calories per day—that addition alone could melt a pound in a little more than two months. And drinking it before healthy meals could give you an added bonus: A Virginia Tech study found that dieters who drank two, eight-ounce glasses of water before meals for 12 weeks lost 36 percent more weight than those who didn’t down the water. Chug a big glass before breakfast and start your day.

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2. Eat some protein and fat with your healthy breakfast.

According to some studies, breakfast is not, in fact, the “most important meal of the day.” Research from 2014 found that eating or not eating breakfast alone neither helped nor harmed weight loss efforts. But if you eat the right stuff, the morning meal CAN help you lose. Start with protein: Researchers found in 2013 that dieters who ate 35 or more grams of muscle-building, filling protein at breakfast ate fewer high-fat, high-sugar snacks in the evening compared to people who either skipped breakfast or ate cereal.

And adding some healthy fat, like olive oil, can help, too. German scientists gave dieters yogurt with olive oil added as a supplement to their normal diet—even though this fat-added yogurt was added as extra calories to their diet, these participants did not gain weight or body fat, and felt fuller than those who ate a.m. yogurt without the oil.

Try these Amazing Egg Recipes from some healthy breakfast ideas!

Good news: If you’re on the Nutrisystem program, you’re already eating a balanced meal plan featuring healthy fats and lean proteins!

3. And have your quick breakfast near the window.

Morning light can make you lighter: In a study from Northwestern University, researchers used wrist devices to measure how much light participants were exposed to, and at what hours. The earlier people were exposed to bright, natural light—usually between 8 a.m. and noon—the lower their BMI. In fact, for every hour later that a participant got the bulk of their natural light exposure, there was an increase of 1.22 BMI units—between five and 10 pounds on a 5-foot-8-inch tall person. So, the earlier you’re in the sun, the slimmer you’ll be.

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4. Put your phone away.

Checking your email in the morning will just stress you out: Many productivity experts recommend waiting at least an hour once you get to work before checking your inbox, so you can tackle your most important priorities without getting distracted.

And a study found that the inbox really does cause stress: In a 2014 study, 124 adults were divided into groups that either checked their email three times per day, or an unlimited amount. The group that checked less often felt less daily stress, less tense while doing an activity, and less distracted. So, wait before opening your inbox, and start your day feeling calmer.

5. Meditate.

It’s another way to feel calmer: Become more aware of the world around you and push away all the distractions. Many of the world’s most successful, healthy people swear by a few minutes of morning meditation to center themselves and prepare for their day—and it can make your brain bigger and more creative, too.

It’s true! When scientists analyzed MRI data, they found that people with daily meditation experience had slightly larger hippocampuses, and significantly more grey matter in the right orbito-frontal cortex. You might think that’s correlative, and not showing causation, but another study found that meditation does make you more creative: Scientists found that people who are mindful of the present were better at coming up with creative solutions to problems. Because they were more attuned to the present—and less attuned to their past experience—these mindful study participants were less tied to those past experiences when faced with “insight” problem solving, where a new idea is needed.

To try a mindfulness meditation of your own, sit with your back straight and eyes closed, breathing in and out naturally through your nose. Focus solely on the physical sensations of breathing, like how your chest rises and falls, or the feeling of the air on your upper lip as you breathe. Thoughts may pop up and threaten to distract you—like what’s on your phone, for instance. Try to notice yourself being distracted and return to thinking about the sensations of breathing without scolding yourself. Continue for five minutes.

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6. Feel some gratitude to improve your heart health.

The upcoming day might present lots of things to be unhappy about, but take a minute to think of things you’re grateful for—it could make your heart healthier. In a small study of 40 heart patients, a professor at the University of California San Diego asked half of the participants to keep a gratitude journal, writing down two or three things they were grateful for on most days of the week.

The patients wrote about appreciating their children, spouses, travel and even pets. And after two months, they’d decreased their heart disease risks: Inflammation was reduced, and heart rhythm was improved.

7. Pack, plan or order your lunch in advance as part of your health eating plan.

Just as you shouldn’t grocery shop when you’re hungry, waiting until you’re hungry to order your lunch can make you eat more: In a 2014 study from the journal Appetite, overweight hospital employees either pre-ordered their lunch at least 45 minutes before picking it up, or went to the cafeteria and ordered right before eating. After four weeks, the pre-ordering group had ordered, on average, 145 fewer calories per meal, with foods containing 8.9 fewer grams of fat.

Even if you aren’t ordering lunch, you can get this same result: Either pack your lunch, meaning you’re choosing healthy foods far in advance of when you’ll eat them, or check out the menu of where you might be eating in the morning after breakfast when you’re full and can choose a healthy option. When you get to the restaurant, order what you chose in the a.m.—researchers said that pre-decided created a “pre-commitment device” that helps people stick to their goals.

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8. Move!

If you can exercise at home in the morning, do it: A study of overweight women aged 50 to 75 found that those who exercised in the morning slept more and better at night than those who exercised in the evening or not at all. And a.m. exercise regimens can also make your metabolism more productive: A 2013 study found that dieters who exercised in a fasted state first thing in the morning burned 20 percent more fat than those who ate breakfast before the workout.

If you’re not a morning workout person, at least move your body—it can even be paired with meditation to improve your mood. In a study of 135 people, participants who did a walking/simple meditation combo showed significant decreases in anxiety, while also decreasing negative feelings about themselves. The meditation they did is easy: While walking, the group was asked to count their foot strikes as “one, two, one, two,” visualizing the numbers in their mind. If their minds began to drift, they could just calmly come back to the counting. Using this meditation with the walking had significantly better anxiety-reducing results than walking without counting.

Looking for more morning diet tips? Check out these Seven Morning To Dos To Help You Lose Weight All Day, an excellent article to help you learn how to lose fat.