They open the shades
A flood of sunshine isn’t just an instant morning pick-me-up: A Northwestern University study found that people exposed to moderately bright light in the morning have significantly lower BMIs than people who get the majority of their light exposure later in the day. Independent of physical activity, sleep timing, caloric intake, age, or season, morning light exposure accounted for about 20 per cent of an individual’s BMI. Lack of sunlight can de-synchronize your internal body clock, altering metabolism and leading to weight gain. Just 20 to 30 minutes of morning light is enough to affect BMI and improve your health.
They butter the bottom of toast
It sounds strange, but if you’re looking to lower calorie intake, look to the bottom side of your breakfast foods. “Butter the bottom of toast, and salt the bottom of potato rounds,” Devin Alexander, chef and host of FitTV’s Healthy Decadence, told Health. “It really helps with weight loss. When you eat foods this way, the flavour hits your tongue right away, and you actually taste more of it. Ultimately that means you can cut out at least half the belly-bloating salt or butter.”
They pick the right glassware
When you pour your OJ or apple juice, use a tall, thin glass to save on sugar and calories. A Cornell University study found that when participants poured into a short, squat glass, they drank 25 to 30 per cent more. Researchers say individuals tend to focus on the height of the liquid they pour (rather than the width) and therefore estimate tall glasses hold more liquid than wide ones of the same volume.
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They include protein in breakfast
Most Americans only get about 10 to 15 grams of protein for breakfast, but doubling that may help you lose weight. Research presented at an Obesity Society meeting found that women who ate a breakfast with 30 grams of protein from sausage and eggs consumed about 100 fewer calories at lunch compared to those who ate a low-protein pancake breakfast. “Protein is key for satiety,” Heather Leidy, assistant professor in the Department of Nutrition and Exercise Physiology at the University of Missouri, told Eating Well. “It activates the body’s signals that curb appetite, reduce food cravings, and prevent overeating.”
They get moving
Even if it’s just a quick stroll as part of your work commute, aim to squeeze in some physical activity before breakfast. In a Journal of Physiology study, researchers stuffed participants with hefty breakfasts, but some volunteers ate the meal before working out while others ate it after working out. Those who exercised after breakfast gained weight from the lousy diet (as did a control group that didn’t exercise), but those who exercised in a fasted state did not gain weight. Researchers say exercising before eating encourages the body to burn more fat for energy rather than relying on carbohydrates from food. Squeezing in a workout in the early hours also means it’s less likely you’ll be pulled away by distracting texts and emails.
They take a few minutes to meditate
No need to chant in lotus position. Just focusing on your breath for a few minutes in the morning could help increase your mindfulness, leading to a day of smart food choices. Brown University researchers distributed a 15-question survey to nearly 400 people and measured their body composition. The survey included questions such as “I find it difficult to stay focused on what’s happening in the present.” People who showed low levels of mindfulness on the Mindful Attention Awareness Scale (MAAS) were 34 per cent likelier to be obese and held a pound more of fat in their bellies. Researchers say individuals who are more aware of their thoughts may be likelier to notice the negative emotions caused by eating too much.