As I began to work on becoming a healthier version of myself some years ago, I really realized how important the morning is. How we start the earliest portion of our day often sets the tone for how we will feel throughout that entire day. How many times have you woken up on the wrong side of the bed and that followed you to work and beyond? Or have you found yourself feeling sluggish and tired in the AM and no amount of coffee throughout the day could cure it? What you do and how you feel the first hour or so of the morning has the ability to help or hurt you. Why not use that power for the good?
Taking this a step further....if you have goals to lose weight, get fit, or just feel better, what you do first thing in the morning can have a huge impact. Since our mornings set a foundation for the remainder of our day, why not start crushing your goals before 9am?
I realized early on that if I could practice healthy habits early in the day, this would motivate me to continue to make good choices throughout the rest of the afternoon and evening. These morning routines also helped me feel better overall.
Here are 5 of my Go-To morning rituals:
1.Drink Warm Lemon Water. Before I eat anything and before I leave for work, I always drink an 8oz glass or warm water mixed with the juice of half of a fresh lemon. Warm lemon water in the mornings has SO many health benefits. Just to name a few: It aids in digestion and helps our liver to flush out toxins, great source of Vitamin C, helps clear skin, regulates bowel movements, helps speed up your metabolism, makes the pH of our body more alkaline (which helps fight off diseases), regulates blood pressure, suppresses hunger, and helps to prevent gingivitis. With all these health benefits this is something you NEED to be doing.
2. Trade in your cup of coffee for a cup of Green Tea. A little known fact about me is that I rarely ever drink coffee...like ever. I will splurge and have one Pumpkin Spice Latte that I get from Starbucks when it returns for Fall at the end of August. After that one drink, I'm satisfied until the next year. However, I am a green tea fanatic. I will usually have at least one cup every morning. I'm not saying that you should be anti-coffee like myself, but replacing at least one of your cups of coffee for green tea can offer some great health benefits. Green tea: helps boost your metabolism and fat burning capabilities, its a great source of antioxidants, studies have shown it to have cancer fighting capabilities as well as lower the risk of heart disease and diabetes. It is also thought to have antibacterial and antiviral benefits. This list is only the tip of the iceberg of its benefits.
3. Exercise and/or Stretching. Working out any time is always a plus and is always a good idea. If you cannot get to the gym until after work you will still reap the benefits of exercising. I too will often workout after I leave the office because a lot of my fitness classes that I enjoy are scheduled in the evenings. However, getting in a good workout first thing in the morning has its own set of benefits. It helps to boost your metabolism before your day has even gotten started, gives you so much energy, and can assist with better concentration and focus for the day. It also takes disciple to get up extra early in the AM to workout. Once its done it allows you to have the remainder of your day for other priorities. Now, if you cannot get to the gym every morning (myself often included) stretching and/or Yoga in the AM that you can do at home is also beneficial. It helps to improve posture, increase blood flow, and can also provide a great boost of energy.
4. Eat Breakfast. It sounds simple but you'd be surprised how many people do not eat breakfast every day. Just think of how long your body is going without food if you ate dinner at about 6pm the previous evening, you slept for (hopefully) anywhere from 7-8 hours, and then you do not eat anything until lunchtime. This is doing your body a huge disservice and will cause your metabolism to slow down over time. Eating breakfast will also help to ensure that you are not SO hungry by lunchtime that you overeat and consume way more calories than you normally would. People who eat breakfast also tend to have better focus and concentration during the morning. Breakfast does not have to be a huge meal. It should be nutritious and pack a punch. Even if you do not have much time I love having a protein shake or a green smoothie along with a granola bar, or a piece of fruit. Its quick and easy and I can sip on my shake or smoothie while driving.
5. Have a Tablespoon of Apple Cider Vinegar. If you do some research on Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) you will see that its benefits seem to be endless. I try to take a quick Tablespoon of ACV every morning and one at night. In the AM I will often mix my tablespoon in with the warm lemon water that I drink. That way I can do both at the same time. There's different ACV brands on the market but the one shown to offer the best benefit is the Braggs Unfiltered Organic ACV. Ensure that it says "With the Mother" on it. The Mother is the frothy portion of the ACV that has a lot of the nutrients. Shake well before each use to ensure The Mother has been distributed throughout the bottle. Not only is ACV great for weight loss, I've noticed in particular that it helps to keep my waistline and stomach tiny. It also can kill bacteria, regulate your blood sugar, lower cholesterol, help an upset stomach, and increase energy, among much more.
Doing these things every morning over the years has provided great benefits for me. Try them, even just one and let me know how it works out for you.