EVERYONE has a morning ritual. Whether it's repeatedly hitting the snooze button, three minutes of stretches or a 30 minute shower; our morning habits are second nature.
But have you ever considered that what sets the tone for your day also sets the tone for your waistline? These five 'rise and shine' rituals could be responsible for some unwanted kilos.
OVERDOING DOONA TIME
When it comes to sleep, there's a delicate balance between not enough and too much. We know that too little shut-eye impacts concentration, makes us more likely to eat junk food, and suppresses immunity. However, too much sleep can be equally blameworthy.
One study found that people who are genetically prone to obesity are more likely to carry excess body fat if they don't stick to regular sleeping patterns. The researchers found that high-risk people who slept more than nine hours a night were about 4kg heavier than the norm - regardless of diet, health problems or income level.
Adults who worked shifts or took naps during the day were also more likely to carry excess weight if they had a high genetic obesity risk.
NEGLECTING YOUR NEST
Aren't one to make the bed? It's not the kind of laziness you associate with weight gain, but it may be time to pull up your sheets. A survey from the National Sleep Foundation found that 19 per cent of religious bedmakers are better sleepers and more relaxed. Not convinced? Author of The Power of Habit, Charles Duhigg states that reconstructing your bed each day can lead to other constructive habits like packing a healthy lunch, hitting the gym or planning a nutritious dinner.
GLUING YOUR EYES TO ELECTRONICS
What's the first thing you do when you wake up? If you answered 'check my phone', then you could be subconsciously spiralling into some unhealthy habits. Spending every waking moment scrolling emails or social media is a sure-fire way to distract yourself from more important things - like starting the day with a healthy brekkie or squeezing in a brisk walk.
SKIPPING THE SCALES
We all have a love-hate relationship with the scales, making it easy to ignore them as we step out of our morning shower. However, a recent year-long study published in the International Journal of Obesity found that the longer women waited between weigh-ins, the more weight they gained. Researchers believe the participants who were able to sustain a habit of regular self-weighing, leading to weight loss, were better able to adhere to better eating habits. Of course, there are caveats. If weighing yourself daily is psychologically devastating, especially if scales don't budge, a better option may be to focus on how your clothes fit and looking at long-term trends.
BLOWING OFF BREKKIE
If your breakfast is non-existent, then it may be having negative implications on your metabolism. Not only does a well-rounded brekkie stabilise blood sugar and caloric-burn, it also evens out insulin levels. As insulin is a fat-storing hormone, the more of it that circulates in the body, the harder it becomes to burn body fat.
Choosing a breakfast with both fibre and protein is important because these are key nutrients that promote satiety, preventing midmorning munchies or sipping way too many coffees.
Kathleen Alleaume is a nutrition and exercise scientist and founder of The Right Balance. Follow her @therightbalance
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