Caffeine can really speed up fat burning in your morning routine. If you’re trying to lose weight, the decisions you make about food and exercise throughout the day matter. But there are a few specific morning rituals that can really set you up for success.
Not only are morning people happier, but they can also be thinner. Indeed, the most successful clients Roger Adams, Ph.D., founder of Houston-based Eat Right Fitness, has seen in his 20-plus year career have been those who worked out in the morning before anything else could affect their schedule.
“Simply getting up early and planning your day will not only increase productivity, but it will also help you better handle any potential obstacles and hindrances that may interfere with your diet and exercise regimen,” he says.
“Making the most of the morning helps you stay in a more ‘proactive’ rather than ‘reactive’ mode, which naturally leads to more successful weight loss efforts.” There is more evidence for this approach: a study published in April 2014 in PLoS One linked exposure to morning light to a lower body mass index (BMI) than exposure to light during the day.
If that’s not enough to set your alarm an hour or two earlier, nutritionist-approved morning weight loss rituals can help.
Eat a protein breakfast
If you already know the importance of a nutritious breakfast, you’re on the right track. But you also need to make sure your breakfast is filled with the optimal amount of protein.
“Your body takes longer to digest this macronutrient than carbohydrates or fats, so a high-protein meal keeps you satisfied for several hours,” Adams explains. Protein helps control appetite and blood sugar.
For optimal satiety and muscle building, try to get 25 to 30 grams of protein for breakfast from eggs, plain Greek yogurt, nut butter, or lean chicken or turkey sausages.
Enjoy a cup of coffee
Caffeine can actually speed up fat burning in your morning routine. One study published in June 2019 in the journal Scientific Reports found that one cup of coffee was enough to stimulate “brown fat,” also known as brown adipose tissue or BAT, which helps the body burn calories faster.
What’s more: Adams notes that consuming caffeine in the morning also has the added bonus of allowing you to better focus on your morning workout.
Start your workout
Studies show that morning exercise can help you lose weight. When researchers at Tehran University studied the effects of morning or evening aerobic exercise, they found that getting moving early led to lower calorie intake throughout the day, as well as more significant changes in body weight, BMI, abdominal skinfold thickness, and abdominal fat.
“In short, morning exercise appears to have a more significant effect on appetite control, caloric intake, and weight loss,” Adams says.
Walk as often as possible
Small movements outdoors-even just a few minutes of walking-early in the morning can be beneficial for another reason.
“The wavelengths of morning light have been shown to alter levels of the satiety hormones leptin and ghrelin and regulate body fat,” said Christine Koskinen, a dietitian in Richland, Washington.
Bonus: Spending time outdoors in the morning will also increase your exposure to vitamin D, a nutrient that most Americans lack.
Set your intentions for the day
There are several ways to benefit from practicing mindfulness, or regularly checking in with your emotions, thoughts, feelings, and sensations in an effort to achieve a state of awareness.
According to the American Psychological Association, mindfulness can relieve stress, improve memory, increase concentration, and lead to satisfaction in relationships. Another benefit? You guessed it – it can help you lose weight.
One study found that mindfulness training can reduce both emotional eating and binge eating.
“Mindfulness doesn’t require a long time or a perfect setting,” says Frances Largeman-Roth, RDN, a Brooklyn-based nutrition and health expert and author of Food in Color. “If you have five minutes, you can use that time to be mindful of your thoughts and feelings.”