In the field of success coaching at this idea of ‘winning the morning’, using a variety of habits and actions that help develop razor sharp focus on personal goals, and set the mind and body up for a busy day ahead.
It’s easy to dismiss these as more self-help mumbo jumbo until you do a quick google and realise who’s using them, and in just the same way that these habits and techniques can help CEO’s run companies and politicians run countries, they couldn’t help the dieter focus on what I need to do and make sure they get the most important actions done consistently day after day.
Below are the daily habits the daily morning rituals that help successful dieters get lean and healthy and stay that way.
1) They Reaffirm Their Goals
The Problem: you can’t remember what all the work’s for
Knowing what you’re doing and why is a huge part of making things happen. Without that podium in 4 years time would an Olympic athlete work so hard and so consistently? It’s the same with Doctors, CEO’s and other successful people, they have goals and deadlines and they’re looming large in their eye line.
“I find the harder I work, the luckier I get.”
Success comes from work, and work is helped along by motivation. Having defined goals makes the aim real and tangible, something that you can grasp. Regularly reaffirming those goals keeps them at the forefront of your mind, reminding you what you’re working for.
We’re naturally lazy creatures though, so the trick to is set a goal that the payoff is sweet enough to justify the work you have to do to get it.
2) They Plan Their Exercise
The Problem: you have responsibilities competing for your time.
Exercise is just a planned subset of physical activity. The problem here is that with busy lives you can’t leave it to chance, you have to make room for it. Planning your exercise means different things to different people, but at its core it means:
- Planning the time: Figure out a slot where there’s the least chance of distraction. Protect it, make it your ‘you time’, remembering that you’ll be a lot more competent as an employee, parent or partner if you’re in good physical shape.
- Planning what you need: It doesn’t have to be flash, this is just an excuse and another barrier to getting it done, but focus effort and expense on the shoes you’ll wear, for most other clothing a roomy, light and comfortable is just fine. Where you’ll train is also a big part of this: gym, park, other?
- Planning what you’re going to do: This doesn’t have to be exact, but have some idea i.e. ‘40 minutes weight training’. A training diary – a paper one, apps etc aren’t accessible enough yet – will help you set goals and select training types
3) They Pack Lunch
The Problem: buying tasty and healthy food is usually very expensive, and means temptation.
Sure, if I’m out and about between meetings in London I can maybe walk past the sandwich shop that does that delicious all day breakfast sandwich, I can maybe decide to spend double the money and walk into a high street Japanese for high protein low calorie sashimi and salad, if they maybe still have that on the shelf, and just maybe I’ll be able to resist the sushi and katsu set, but that’s a lot of maybes.
Maybes are bad, and temptation is just self flagellation.
Not leaving things to chance is a big element of success, and besides why should the local eatery decide what you’re going to have for lunch? My favourite ‘out’ for these is to just cook double the dinner the night before and have that. It means you spend a lot less time queuing.
Avoid missing out on what you wanted, avoid temptation, avoid the pain of self denial, avoid spending too much: pack lunch.
4) They Drink Water
The Problem: your chemistry is all off.
Water is vital for health, you are really just a big bag of chemicals with most of the chemical reactions happening in water. Dehydration reduces physical and mental performance, it also makes you feel bad crap. You’ve been asleep and breathing out water into the air for the last several hours and your bladder is full, in short: you’re dehydrated.
Improve your ‘move’ and your mood by drinking water. And no, it doesn’t have to be filtered or have a slice of lemon to “alkalise your blood”. These are many times more work and expense for maybe 0% to 2% gain over just drinking a glass of water.
5) They Eat Protein
The problem: You’re an eating machine, and temptation is all around.
You know that nutrition is the biggest part of the getting that lean healthy body. That starts now.
There’s a whole heap of research out there showing the benefits of protein intake on the body. (1) It has a variety of effects that help you get and stay lean, it meddles with both sides of that ‘calories in vs calories out’ equation tipping the balance in your favour and helping you feed the muscle and burn the fat.
There’s some research that shows eating protein in the morning positively alters intake and choices later on in the day, and we know that protein increases food satiety, so anything that reduces the ‘work’ or ‘pain’ of dieting not only means that there’s more chance of the it working it’s also better for the dieter’s mental health. That’s a big double win. (2,3,4)
6) They Precede It All With 7+ Hours Sleep
The Problem: you’re not guarding your repair and recovery mechanisms.
The evidence is overwhelming, we need at least seven hours a night. Sure we all know that person who gets by fine on four hours, but they’re interesting because they’re unusual. For the vast majority improving sleep quality and nightly duration only does good things . Sleep is when our boyd repairs our tissues and consolidates learning and memory. If you don’t sleep enough your chances of developing cancer, heart disease, diabetes start to skyrocket. Many of these diseases follow in the wake of the fat gain which is one the first signs of too little sleep.(5,6)
Your sleep habits are in fact a strong predictor of your ability to lose fat and stay lean (7, 8)
Adequate sleep makes staying on track diet-wise easier [read: less painful], it makes exercise more likely to happen and means it’ll be of better quality. Getting enough sleep means you’ll be leaner, healthier and it also means you’ll be more fun and fun to be around, a better spouse and colleague. Is Games of Thrones really better than all that?!
The Bottom Line
These are simple and with a little practice quick steps that put you and keep you on the road to a better body. Do you have to do them all every day? No, but the more you do the more luck you’ll mysteriously seem to have getting the fitness and physique you want.
References and reading
1) Halton, Thomas L., and Frank B. Hu. “The effects of high protein diets on thermogenesis, satiety and weight loss: a critical review.” Journal of the American College of Nutrition 23.5 (2004): 373-385.
2) Rains, Tia M., et al. “A randomized, controlled, crossover trial to assess the acute appetitive and metabolic effects of sausage and egg-based convenience breakfast meals in overweight premenopausal women.”Nutrition journal 14.1 (2015): 1.
3) Leidy, H. J., and E. M. Racki. “The addition of a protein-rich breakfast and its effects on acute appetite control and food intake in ‘breakfast-skipping’adolescents.” International Journal of Obesity 34.7 (2010): 1125-1133.
6) Hall, Martica H., et al. “Association between sleep duration and mortality is mediated by markers of inflammation and health in older adults: the health, aging and body composition study.” Sleep 38.2 (2014): 189-195.