Bring it to Barb

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Dear Barb,

Are there some morning routines that are healthy to do or not to do every day to maximize my weight loss program? I have made the decision that I am losing weight!

Signed,

Starting a New Routine

Dear Starting a New Routine,

Cutting back on calories is not always the answer to successful weight loss. You must increase the quality of what you eat, not just reduce the quantity. Here are a few other habits to start.

  • Drink a glass of water after you wake up and before coffee. Water has a function to accelerate your metabolism and make processing breakfast a lot easier and get rid of the unhealthy toxins in your body.
  • Let the sunshine in. Sunlight is good for you any time of the day, but it’s especially good when you wake up. If you like sleeping with the curtains closed, it’s time to train yourself out of that habit. The rays of the sun will help you kickstart your metabolism rightand prepare your body for eating breakfast and processing it the right way.
  • Sleep in a cool temperature.The ideal temperature falls between 60-67-degree Fahrenheit since your body temperature lowers naturally. Cooler temperatures stimulate sleep and allow the cycle of sleep stages. In addition, it causes your body to burn more calories. It increases insulin sensitivity, which lowers risk of type 2 diabetes and promotes glucose disposal. Sleep in a cool temperature.
  • Don’t skip breakfast. Even if you don’t feel like eating early in the morning, there’s a reason why you absolutely cannot afford to skip breakfast if you’re trying to lose weight. Go for a light but nutritious breakfast. A smoothie is a lot of people’s go-to pick. But something as simple as a bowl of oatmeal or some yogurt with berries or eggs and toast will be enough to get you started for the day.
  • Morning exercise and movement matter. Going from your bed to the couch for an hour or two in the morning is not enough movement. Try to incorporate exercise in your morning routine. Watering your flowers or doing dishes or laundry will increase your metabolism, and it also decreases your appetite. Set one goal each morning.
  • Skip the news in the morning. When you wake up, your cells are working quicker than normal to try and get your body up to normal speed. Stress of unhappy news will turn your stem cells into fat cells and make you gain body fat. The less stressed you are in the morning, the easier it’ll be to lose weight.
  • Avoid oversleeping even on weekends. You should always get 7-8 hours of sleep every day, but not more than 10 hours. When you oversleep constantly, your BMI will increase and you’ll find your belly fat increasing with that, too. That’s because your body will expect to be fed, and when you sleep instead, it’ll produce more fat cells for sustenance. Additionally, oversleeping will affect your metabolism and your breakfast schedule.

It’s always helpful to follow some guidelines, but you can customize them exactly to your own lifestyle. Remember your actions will follow your thoughts. Thoughts of using the stairs or parking further out in the parking lot when shopping, will train your brain to establish new habits. Creating new ways to stay active can be fun so don’t fight it. Weight loss is a decision. Glad you made the decision.

Barb Rock is a mental health counselor for the House of Matthew Homeward Bound program in Tacoma, and the published author of “Run Your Own Race: Happiness after 50.” Send any questions related to mental health, relation- ships or life issues to her at BarbRockrocks@yahoo.com.

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