I want to start with breakfast. A few years ago, breakfast was known almost unanimously as “the most important meal of the day.” (1) Mainstream fitness programs and diet plans would never even suggest the idea of skipping breakfast.
Without breakfast, it was believed, you would slow down your metabolism, lose muscle mass, and make your body more susceptible to gaining fat.
However, since then, other diet plans have become more mainstream, and some of these plans specifically recommend that you consider skipping breakfast entirely.
One of these plans, for example, is known as intermittent fasting. Studies have shown that it’s at least just as effective for fat loss and muscle retention as other continuous energy restriction type diet plans that don’t make you skip meals (2).
But at the same time a number of other studies have found that people that eat breakfast usually have a lower body mass index and they’re less likely to be overweight and obese than people that skip breakfast. (3) Research has also shown that skipping breakfast may be associated with other poor diet choices. (4)
Now the problem with many of these studies that are finding a correlation between not having breakfast and having a higher BMI is that they’re observational studies. This means that from their data it’s hard to attribute the weight gain or weight loss directly to breakfast.
That’s because somebody that wakes up early in the morning to have breakfast, may also be going on a daily run, eating better quality food, lifting weights at the gym more often and several other things that help them maintain a healthy weight.
We can get much more information from a randomized control trial and luckily there was a recent metanalysis that compared 13 randomized control trials on the effects of breakfast in relation to body weight.
Researchers concluded that adding breakfast into your diet plan may do nothing in terms of helping you lose weight and in fact adding in breakfast might cause you to gain weight.
They found that breakfast eaters consumed more daily calories and weighed slightly more than those that skipped breakfast. (5) So does that mean that everybody should start skipping breakfast?
Definitely not. After looking through all these studies and working with many different people, I think it’s pretty clear that having breakfast might be really beneficial for some people, while being detrimental to others.
If you find it easy to skip breakfast without getting ravenously hungry and binging on everything in sight later in the day, then skipping breakfast can help you save some calories and burn fat a little faster.
On the other hand, if you feel that breakfast helps you stay on track, it’s important that you stick to a breakfast that’s high in protein and vegetables to help fill you up and decrease your appetite. (6)
With this one I want to say right off the bat that I’m not a big fan of detoxes or cleanses. And that’s for two reasons.
First, because between your liver, kidneys, lungs, and skin your body already has everything it needs to cleanse itself effectively . It’s very unlikely that you’re going to make this natural cleansing process better than it already is.
Second reason is because most of the ingredients in cleanses and detoxes are not backed up by scientific evidence proving their effectiveness.
However, apple cider vinegar is different, because there’s a growing body of evidence that shows that it may actually help promote fat loss.
Some studies show that apple cider vinegar can increase fullness and curb your appetite. They also show that if you have apple cider vinegar after a high-carb meal, you can decrease blood glucose and insulin levels, which could help promote fat loss. (7)
The effect that vinegar could have on fat loss was seen more clearly in a 12-week study that involved around 150 obese Japanese people. In that 12-week period, a placebo group made no changes and gained about a pound.
Meanwhile, the group that didn’t change their diet, and didn’t change their exercise habits, but added 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar per day lost almost 4 pounds and 1 percent of their body fat.
Now, I don’t recommend that you just sit around drinking apple cider vinegar without changing your diet and without exercising, like they did in this study. You’ll see a lot more results when you combine the vinegar with a solid diet and workout plan.
But to help speed up fat loss you can start incorporating 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar every morning. Just make sure it’s diluted in 8 ounces of water.
You can also have another tablespoon later on in the day before a meal, but I recommend starting with 1 tablespoon per day and then increasing after you see how your body reacts.
#3 Weigh yourself… every morning?
Many people claim that weighing themselves every morning motivates them to stay focused on their goals, while others say that it demotivates them and sometimes even leaves them feeling depressed.
Studies, however, seem to side with those that weigh themselves more frequently. One study in which people were tracked for 2 years showed that people that weighed themselves everyday lost an average of about 10 pounds.
Meanwhile, the people that weighed themselves once a month or less gained an average of almost 5 pounds. (8)
The graph from this study shows a clear relationship between weighing yourself more often, losing more weight, and keeping more of that weight off.
Of course, there are some studies that don’t find such strong evidence for what here looks like a linear and straightforward relationship.
Yet, one systematic review that looked at 12 studies on this topic found that 11 out of 12 of the studies supported the theory that weighing yourself more often is associated with greater weight loss and weight gain prevention. (9) This evidence makes it clear that the strategy of weighing yourself every morning can help many people burn fat faster.
But even though these studies point to most people benefiting from a daily weigh in, weighing yourself everyday definitely doesn’t work best for everyone. In fact, these studies themselves say that there are some negative psychological consequences that may come with a daily weigh in.
For example, having more carbs or more salt for just one day can cause large fluctuations in your water weight the next day. Even though this fluctuation is only temporary, if you get obsessive about what the scale says every day, you can find yourself stressing more and losing motivation just because of one bad weigh in.
I’ve seen clients that have become so demotivated by just one bad weigh in that they would become convinced that the entire diet and workout plan wasn’t working. Often when this happens people start skipping their workouts and start binge eating, since they think the plan’s not working anyway.
The bottom line is yes – weighing yourself every morning can help you self-monitor your progress and stay on track. However, if weighing yourself daily causes more anxiety, and negative feelings, rather than more motivation then you should aim to weigh yourself less often, like once a week.
#4 Start every morning with a workout
Now let’s talk about exercise. For those of you that struggle with getting yourself into the gym or with getting yourself to exercise in general, you should absolutely start every morning with a workout.
I can’t stress enough how important this is. If you’re not consistently exercising every week, then you’re going to have trouble losing weight and even more trouble maintaining any sort of weight loss.
Even though you constantly hear that more than 75 percent of what you look like is diet and only 25 percent is attributable to exercise, studies show that they’re both extremely important. (10)
Not only is consistent exercise just as important as having a good diet, but your diet and exercise habits both highly influence each other as well.
For example, if you wake up in the morning and eat a donut, you’re more likely to feel less motivated, hungry, and tired later on in the day and that could easily cause you to choose to skip your workout.
On the other hand, if you start your morning with a workout, as soon as you’re finished, you’ll feel a ton of motivation to continue making other healthy choices throughout the rest of the day. This includes making the right choices with what you eat.
Even though some studies show that you can burn more fat just by working out first thing in the morning before breakfast, (11) the number one reason why I recommend it for most people is because it’ll guarantee that you’re actually going to get your workout done.
Most people will find a hundred excuses at the end of a long day of work to not get their workout in. But when you plan and set aside time first thing in the morning, most of these excuses disappear.
You want to make exercise into a habit, and according to studies it takes about 2 months of repetition to create a habit. (12) By associating waking up and working out together, it’ll be a lot easier to solidify this behavior into a habit.
Even if you don’t have access to a gym, there are some really simple things you can do to make exercise a part of your morning routine. You can go out for a run or a brisk walk, or you can just do body weight exercises without even leaving your house.
A quick example workout would be: 10 dive bombers (or push ups if the dive bombers are too difficult); 10 prisoner squats; 10 sky divers; and 10 lunges with each leg.
You would do all the exercises back to back. Then take a break, and repeat for 3 to 4 sets.
Believe it or not, starting off with some simple bodyweight exercises like these every morning can provide a ton of forward momentum that’ll help you actually start completing your workouts. And that’ll motivate you to stick to a healthier diet plan as well.
The bottom line is that if you’re struggling with staying consistent with exercise, try to start with a quick workout in the morning because you’ll be surprised just how much it can help.
#5 Pack food to bring with you to work
You should bring enough homemade food to last you for whatever meals you plan to eat outside the house. One study showed that eating meals that are prepared outside your home is associated with taking in more calories and a higher fat intake. (13)
Another study showed that the more home-cooked meals you eat, the less likely you are to be overweight. (14)
I agree with the findings from both of these studies. That’s because, out of all the clients that I worked with, the ones that took the time to prep their meals would usually do much better than the clients that would just wing it.
When you get hungry you start looking for easy ways to satisfy that hunger. If you don’t have a healthy pre-portioned meal with you, you’re very likely to grab something unhealthy.
Even if you order some chicken breast and rice from a local restaurant you have no idea what else has been added to the meal.
You can easily wind up with a couple hundred extra calories just from added sugar and fat by having someone else prep for you. Moreover, there’s a high chance that you just buy a snack instead of a meal, and most of the time that snack will have a lot of empty calories that just don’t fill you up.
If you either prep yourself a portioned meal to take with you every morning, or prep it the night before and pack it with you every morning, you’ll find yourself burning fat much faster than relying on other people to prep for you.
That’s it guys. I really hope this post has helped you out. Now, if you’re looking for a done-for-you approach that’ll help you lose weight fast by making the right decisions not only every morning, but every day for the next 6 weeks, then try my 6-week challenge.
My clients who commit to it are losing either 20 pounds or 5 percent of their body fat in only 42 days. You’ll get a customized meal plan, a 42-day workout plan, and an accountability coach to help and guide you through the whole process on a daily basis.
The best part is that the challenge is free. But there is a catch – you actually have to stick to the plan! If you’re serious about making a transformation in the next 42 days, and if you’re looking for a REAL and effective challenge, then click the link below to find out more about the program.
- Study talks about “breakfast being most important meal of the day”: https://juniperpublishers.com/gjpps/pdf/GJPPS.MS.ID.555701.pdf
- Systematic review: Intermittent fasting just as effective as other diets for fat loss and muscle preservation: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26384657
- Breakfast, Especially A Big Breakfast Can Help With Maintaining a Healthy BMI: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28701389
- Skipping Breakfast May Lead to Other Poor Diet Choices: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20112150
- Breakfast Can Slow Weight Loss Rather Than Promote Weight Loss: https://www.bmj.com/content/364/bmj.l42
- High Protein Breakfast Lowers Ghrelin (hunger hormone) better than High carb breakfast: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16469977
- Swedish Study Finds Apple Cider Vinegar increase satiety, and lowers blood glucose and insulin levels after a high carb meal. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16015276
- Weighing yourself daily, weekly, or monthly: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21732212
- Systematic Review Showing 11/12 Studies Favor Weighing Yourself More Often: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18983667/
- Exercise is paramount for weight loss maintenance: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15561636
- Fat Oxidation Increased for 24H When Exercise is Performed Before Breakfast https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26844280
- It takes 66 Days to Create a Habit: http://repositorio.ispa.pt/bitstream/10400.12/3364/1/IJSP_998-1009.pdf
- Eating Outside the Home leads to eating more calories and higher fat intake: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22106948
- If you eat more home-cooked meals the less likely it is that you will be overweight: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28818089