Ever noticed that when you sleep well and wake up feeling rested, your day seems to go more smoothly? Or that, conversely, when you have a hectic morning, the following hours seem scattered and intense? The way you start your day really sets the tone for the rest of your waking hours.
As a morning person, there are a few routines that I am confident will leave me feeling less than ideal throughout the day. So, if you’re trying to make the most of your time, here are some examples of bad morning habits you should skip – and what you should do instead.
1. Having dessert for breakfast
I don’t mean eating cheesecake or cookies, obviously, but a lot of breakfast staples – like waffles, cereal, and muffins – are packed with sugar and carbohydrates. While these ingredients taste delicious, once you come down (read: crash) from your sugar high (which happens a lot sooner than you’d think!), you’ll be left irritable and hungry for more food.
Your best bet here? Instead of a sugary, carb-heavy meal, I recommend a healthy smoothie. Thanks to the fruit, you can satisfy sweet-loving taste buds, while also getting in a serving of veggies, along with healthy fat and protein via coconut milk, bone broth protein powder, collagen, or other healthy mix-ins.
2. Eating if you’re not hungry
We’ve been brought up to believe that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and for some people, it is. Others, however, prefer not to eat in the morning, and forcing themselves to chow down for breakfast would probably be more harmful than helpful.
If you find yourself in the latter group, instead of beating yourself up over not loving breakfast, a better option might be intermittent fasting (IF). There are several different types of IF, but one of the easiest is time-restricted fasting, or 16/8, during which you refrain from eating for 16 hours (usually post-dinner through lunchtime) and eat only for 8 hours during the day.
In addition to being a more palatable option for non-AM eaters, intermittent fasting benefits include weight loss, reducing inflammation, maintaining heart health, and stabilizing blood sugar.
3. Skipping morning workouts
I get it. Mornings aren’t for everyone. But if you’re an evening fitness fan – or if you avoid working out altogether – you might want to consider setting an alarm clock.
Getting your blood pumping first thing in the morning is actually a great way to boost energy levels – sans caffeine. Unfortunately, evening workouts can lead to tossing and turning if you’re hitting the gym too close to bedtime, but switching to a morning sweat session can lead to deeper, higher-quality sleep.
Additionally, morning workouts help boost your metabolism, burning more calories throughout the day and increasing productivity. You’re also more likely to make healthier choices at mealtime if you’ve exercised first thing.
To make mornings easier, I suggest getting as much done the night before as possible. That means having a lunch packed and ready to go in the fridge, laying out workout clothes, and completing any other necessary preparations for the next day. Minimizing early morning tasks means getting more shuteye and making it less likely you’ll hit snooze and skip that all-important workout.
4. Drinking lattes with a day’s worth of calories and sugar
A coffee with a splash or two of milk? Good way to start the day. But when your daily drinks contain a heap of sugar, cream, syrups, and all the other ingredients that premium coffees typically contain, it’s easy to pack on calories without even realizing it. And that’s before you’ve had any solid food!
When you opt for these health traps masquerading as coffee, all the sugar and preservatives leave you feeling hungry, so you still end up chowing down on food, even though you’ve already eaten the caloric equivalent of a meal (or more!). When you multiply that by all the coffee drinks you’re ordering, the numbers really add up.
If you still need your morning caffeine fix, consider bulletproof coffee. Here, black coffee is mixed with a healthy fat like grass-fed butter or ghee and then combined with MCT oil. The result is a cup of coffee that isn’t filled with empty calories. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. You get the energy boost you crave, while the healthy fats actually make you feel full.