Making better diet choices
As most of you already know making changes to your diet is the number one thing you can do to burn fat and improve your body composition.
There’s some evidence that suggests that getting up earlier can help you immensely with making good decisions with your diet.
One study compared almost 1,900 people that kept food diaries. They tracked their total daily intake of calories, carbs, sugar, fiber, protein, and fat.
It also tracked when the participants woke up. Based on this, they categorized them into either the early bird category or the night owl category.
It turned out that the night owls were more likely to make poor decisions with food choices than the early risers.
Night owls consumed a little bit less calories than early birds before 10 am. Over the course of the day the calories between both groups evened out.
But the people that woke up later made much poorer food choices than people that got up earlier.
This was especially true after 8pm, where the late risers consumed much more sugar and fat than early risers did.
Another study compared people’s morning and night-time preferences. They found that people that woke up later typically had a higher BMI than early risers.
BMI is your body mass index. It is basically a ratio of your height and weight. A higher BMI brings you closer to the overweight and obese categories.
Now it’s important to note that neither of these studies show direct causation. Instead, they show correlation between getting up and staying up later and having poor diet habits.
A lot of people that wake up later may be getting less overall sleep. They might not care as much about their overall health. And they might be making poor decisions when it comes to exercise.
All these other factors can also lead to eating more junk food and having a higher BMI.
This means that you can get up later and still maintain a healthy diet and healthy BMI.
But why do early risers seem to have an easier time doing this?
Well, let’s start with the biggest benefit that getting up earlier provides, and that’s starting your day off right.
It might not sound like a big deal, but the way you start your day is actually extremely important.
This is probably why we say things like “you must have gotten up on the wrong side of the bed“.
Almost all my clients that want to lose weight can’t focus entirely on getting to the gym and eating right.
They have other obligations. They have kids, they have to cook, they have a job, and so on.
Most people have to be at work between 6 and 9 in the morning, at the latest. And most people will set an alarm leaving just enough time to get ready and out the door.
They allow no extra time to prepare a healthy meal to take with them.
This increases the chances of them eating the wrong foods, like a trail mix bar, or some other fast-food choice.
That eating pattern likely sends their blood sugar up and down causing cravings and low energy throughout the day.
Now, getting everything done later makes perfect sense, in theory. Because typically everyone’s home from work by 5 or 6 o clock.
So you have at least a couple hours to get all that other stuff done before going to bed.
But after working all day, you’re going to be exhausted and all you’re going to want to do is unwind.
After a long day, you’ve exerted so much energy and willpower at work that you start to delay your workouts.
First, you say you’ll go after you take a nap on the couch. Then after your nap, you say you’ll go after you eat some food.
And after eating it’s 7 or 8 o’clock and you say you’ll just go tomorrow.
And since you’re going to start tomorrow, might as well start eating better tomorrow as well.
But then the next day the whole cycle starts all over again.
All these small choices, starting with when you wake up, stack up. Eventually, they create some serious psychological roadblocks that prevent weight loss.
Now let’s compare this to an early riser that gets up a couple hours before work.
The alarm goes off and the only thing they want to do is hit that snooze button. But by denying their instinctual impulses and simply getting out of bed they’re exercising willpower.
In doing so they’re also earning a small win first thing in the morning.
This win says “I’m in control of what I do, not my impulses”.
Now that they’re up, they have a couple hours before having to get to work. They don’t have to stress and rush out the door to get to work on time.
Instead, they can put on their sneakers and get their workout out of the way.
If you struggle to get to the gym, or if you hate working out, doing it first thing in the morning is a great way to get it done.
Conversely, saving it until later in the day is a sure way to procrastinate endlessly, like mentioned before.
Feel-good hormones’ release
By getting the workout done first thing in the morning they release several feel-good hormones. They also feel more energetic and they earned yet another win over their impulses.
Now they just started their day in a healthy frame of mind. So, when they get to the office and someone brought in bagels or pizza, they choose not to have them.
That’s because they already have that positive forward momentum.
They use this to focus on being more productive at work, rather than grazing on food out of sheer boredom. Or counting down the minutes until it’s time to go home.
This momentum carries into the rest of their day helping them make better food choices throughout. It motivates them to set up their next day in a similar manner.
Over time this can lead to a healthier lifestyle, allowing them to maintain a healthier weight, with less effort.
Now, does this mean that every single person will do better getting up earlier?
No. First, if you’re self-employed or your job allows for a flexible schedule, you can wake up later and still start your day off right.
You can do so by following the same routine and exercising first thing in the morning. As long as that occurs before getting caught up in your work.
The same applies if you enjoy going to the gym later in the day making it there without procrastinating. If so, you can easily be a night owl and still maintain a healthy weight.
Just make sure you’re still eating healthy throughout the day.
But if you find yourself constantly procrastinating with diet and exercise, I promise you – getting up earlier is one of the best things you can do to disrupt your dysfunctional daily routine.
That’s how you can get yourself into an upward spiral that encourages good daily habits.
There’s another thing that I do want to mention, regardless of whether you’re a night owl or an early bird. And that is – you want to make sure you’re getting enough sleep.
This is something that a lot of people that stay up late at night struggle with. But it can be an issue for early risers as well.
One study known as the nurses’ health study looked into this. They found that those who slept 5 hours or less a night were 15% more likely to become obese than those who slept 7 hours a night.
Another study involving 9,000 people also looked at sleep and body weight.
Researchers found that the participants who averaged 6 hours of sleep per night were 27% more likely to be overweight than those who got 7-to-9 hours of sleep.
And the people averaging 5 hours of sleep per night were 73% more likely to be overweight.
When you don’t get enough sleep you have less energy, less willpower. If you do it long enough, you’ll create an imbalance in your hormones.
This could lead to more stress, cravings, hunger, and as a result more weight gain.
So, you should aim to get 7-9 hours of sleep per night every night.
That’s it, guys. I hope this article has helped you see how getting up earlier and starting your day off on the right foot can help you stick to your diet and workout plan.
Also, if you’re serious about making a transformation and you want to take the next step and try a done-for-you approach try my 6-week challenge.
On average, it has my clients losing either 20 pounds or 5 percent of their body fat.
You get a customized diet plan, a workout plan, a recipe book, a full video exercise library, and an accountability coach who will check in with you every week, answering questions and guiding you through.
As long as you don’t cheat and you don’t quit for 6 weeks, on top of seeing actual results you’ll also get the entire challenge for free.
To find out more you can click the link below.
Study comparing Morning versus Evening People and their eating habits:
Morningness-eveningness preference and body mass index
Reduce Sleep and Weight Gain:
National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (sleep study with 9,000 people)