11 Morning Habits That Can Change Your Life

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Your morning can be that make-or-break time that sets you up for a good day or a bad day. Here are 11 habits you can establish that will put you on the path of stringing together good day after good day.

1. Wake Up Earlier
This is priority one because in order to fit in a fantastic morning you’re going to need some extra time compared to your current routine.

If you’ve turned into a night owl because of the peace and quiet it affords, you’ll be equally satisfied by the same peace and quiet an early morning provides, and it’s simply a matter of shifting your personal time to the wee hours of the morning rather than late at night. The difference to your body is noticeable.

The Ideal Time to Wake Up

Wake up in conjunction with circadian rhythms if possible. Civil twilight is a great time to wake up because there will be enough light to see, the birds are chirping, and you still have time to catch the sunrise if you’re keen. Since this time varies by the time of year, it may be more feasible during some seasons than others. Give yourself an hour and a half before you have to be out the door.

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2. Drink a Glass of Warm Lemon Water

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Drinking a glass of warm water with lemon first thing in the morning is an excellent way to get your body going. It’s like oil for the Tinman as it goes to work lubricating all of your different internal systems.

You want the water to be warm so that it’s not a shock to your system first thing in the morning. The lemon will help get your digestive system ready for the coming meals, and makes the water tastier. You can add a bit of honey to it as well if you want to cut down on some of the tartness.

The Rehydration Process

When you wake up in the morning you’ve just gone without water for about 8 hours, so it’s important to turn things around and start up the flow of water again. What you don’t want to do is leave out the water and go along with your day, having breakfast and other beverages before addressing your need for water.

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3. Scrape Your Tongue
Taking time to scrape your tongue is one morning routine you won’t want to give up once you start it. It helps get rid of morning breath, and also is in line with the rejuvenation process you need to do to make the transition from sleep to wakefulness each day.

As a bonus you’ll be able to taste your food better without the film that’s on your tongue even after brushing your teeth.

The Right Scraper

Some toothbrushes come with a built-in scraper on the back of the head. If yours doesn’t have one you’ll want to invest in one. You can find some that are literally just a plastic triangle-shaped scraper, and others that feature special bristles that are designed to get into the grooves of your tongue. You can also go with the type that is stainless steel and U-shaped to get the job done.

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4. Do a Stretching Routine
Stretch in the morning to wake your muscles up and get them ready for the day ahead. You should always modify any workout to your own abilities, and search until you find one that resonates with you.

You can also use this time to do a yoga routine, or an exercise routine, if you feel so inclined or are trying to lose weight. However, if you currently aren’t exercising regularly we recommend starting off with just some morning stretches until that becomes a habit, and then transitioning into yoga and other exercises when you organically start to feel like you could do more than just stretch.

How Long Do I Have to Stretch?

When first starting out it doesn’t matter how long you stretch, just as long as you do it. If you only have a few minutes for it, just do a few minutes. You’ll find that as you develop the habit, you’ll end up stretching for longer periods of time, and it will naturally expand on its own without the need to force yourself to do it for a set time.

5. Rebound 100 Times

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Rebounding on a mini-trampoline is the perfect morning exercise. It’s zero impact, and perfect for any physical fitness level. You don’t even have to get any air on it for it to be effective. Just lightly bouncing on it is effective for stimulating lymph movement and drainage as well as helping your thyroid.

You can repeat this process a few times per day, whenever you feel like you need a pick-me-up. It helps keep you energized without the use of energy drinks or other sugary or caffeinated beverages.

Firms Up Your Whole Body

You’ll notice that when you first start bouncing you’re kind of going with the flow, but by the time you hit your 100th bounce your body has tightened up considerably, in a good way. This is working each muscle in your body, your leg muscles, core, and upper body. A great way to start the day, get your juices flowing, and just plain feel good!

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6. Dry Brush Your Body
Dry brushing the body is an Ayurvedic practice that helps improve your circulation and slough off dead skin cells.

Brushing towards your heart is essential, and you’ll want to start at your extremities and work your way in, covering all of your parts before hopping in the shower.

Dry brushing will help leave your skin feeling smoother, and you’ll notice the difference after you’ve dried off. Apply a moisturizer afterward to retain that suppleness.

Which Brush to Use?

Choose a brush that is good at exfoliating, but not one that is so rough you don’t look forward to using it. A dry loofah or other brush designed to scrub the skin works best. You don’t want it to be too soft on your skin or it won’t do the job, but if you opt for a softer brush you can apply more pressure so that it works.

7. Listen to Uplifting Music or Audiobook
Starting your morning with music you find beautiful, or a book you find inspirational or motivational, is the perfect way to set yourself up for success. It can give you something to look forward to in the morning, and sets you up with the right mindset to greet the day.

You can adjust your music for the type of day you want to have, whether you need something that gets you pumped for an action-packed day, or something more soothing so you can handle a stressful day.

The mind is hungry for new tidbits of information it can go to work on, and you should feed it every day, the same way you feed your body.

Choosing the Right Audio

Whether you pick a group of songs, or an audiobook that inspires you, is up to you. Choose your songs carefully though, as they can get stuck in your head, and if this sort of thing drives you crazy you might be better off listening to a book.

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8. Green Smoothie Time

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Now that we’ve woken up with the sun, brushed our teeth and scraped our tongue, rehydrated, stretched, rebounded, dry brushed the skin, showered while listening to pleasing music, it’s time to nourish the body with a refreshing green smoothie.

The green part of the smoothie is what’s really going to help boost your energy levels this morning. That’s because it will likely be spinach, kale, or some other leafy green providing phytonutrients, fiber, and minerals. Set a timer for 30 minutes after you drink it and notice how much better you feel.

Finding A Great Green Smoothie Recipe

Just about any non-green smoothie can be made green with the addition of spinach or kale.

9. Meditate for a Few Minutes
Right now you should be in a really happy place, a green smoothie coursing through your digestive system, and all of the helpful things you’ve done should all be having a cumulative effect. There’s no better time to sit and clear your mind for a few minutes.

There’s also no right way to meditate, so if you’ve tried specific methods and didn’t really like it, it’s time to develop your own personal style. Choose a position that you find comfortable, and decide if you’d like music or not. Just sitting and listening to the silence can be enough for most.

Why Just a Few Minutes?

You don’t need to go into a trance or spend an hour in the lotus position to meditate. You can get the benefits from just a few minutes and you’ll see a marked improvement in the upward trend your days start to take. We’re being intentionally vague here because “a few” can mean whatever it means to you, and however you feel in the moment (or what the clock allows in the morning).

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10. Smile at Yourself in the Mirror for 30 Seconds
This is a can’t-miss way to boost your self esteem, and once you get into the habit you’ll wonder how you ever got along without it. It’s basically just a matter of designating some time as true “me time” and seeing a happy you reflected back in the mirror.

This works on a number of different levels, but at the core is the ability it gives you to talk right to the bigger part of yourself, the part that is running in the background and getting the important things done.

Make sure you’re smiling, it doesn’t have to be a big goofy grin, just the hint of a smile works, like you’ve got some tricks up your sleeve and you’re ready to show the world what you can do. You’ll be surprised at the positive thoughts this exercise inspires.

Morning Validation

What you’re doing here is basically checking in with yourself, giving yourself that look of determination that you’ll need to make it through the day and accomplish all of your goals. No matter what happens the rest of the day, you’ve at least said hello to that deeper part of yourself and given words of encouragement.

11. Write Out Your Top 3 for the Day
If you lead a busy life chances are things fall through the cracks on a daily basis. To help stop this from happening you should list the three things you really want to get done today, and above all else, make sure they get done.

Once you establish the habit of getting the most important three things of the day done, you’ll be able to build up confidence and go for bigger and bigger things. A funny thing also happens, all of the smaller stuff that you thought needed to get done either does get done without being on your list of three, or fades away because it wasn’t that important to begin with.

Just 3, No More No Less

If you start getting carried away and adding more than three, you’ll find you won’t get to the fourth and fifth and so on, and then you’ll get discouraged. Force yourself to come up with three good ones, even if your day is largely unstructured. You’ll feel better at the end of the day knowing you at least got 3 important things done.

 

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8 Simple Ways To Stay Slim

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Forget the diet myths and miracle fixes – nutritionist Janie Buchanan, author of “Eat Well, Sleep Plenty, Lose Lots ” reveals the real way to shift fat for good.

So, what is the secret to staying slim? It’s the question that fuels the sales of myriad fad diet books, exhausting exercise videos and whizzy smartphone apps. But the truth is being able to lose weight and keeping it off isn’t about adopting the latest quick fix.

Instead, follow these eight smart but simple stay-slim strategies and you need never eat cabbage soup again.

Strategy #1: Balance your blood sugar

Why? If you can keep your blood sugar stable, your weight will be stable, too. This is because blood sugar that goes up and down like a roller coaster promotes fat storage. Stable blood sugar helps you burn fat and reduces sugar cravings.

How? To balance blood sugar, adopt a low-GI diet, which means eating foods that release sugar into the blood slowly. Swap white bread, pasta and rice for wholegrain varieties. Eat more vegetables and beans, and go easy on the sweet fruit and fruit juices.

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Strategy #2: Eat a protein breakfast

Why? Breakfast lights the fire of your metabolism, meaning it’ll burn calories more effectively all day. If it is the right breakfast, it also gives you a sense of ‘starting the day as you mean to go on’. You feel in control of your eating and motivated to continue.

How? The secret is to eat a protein breakfast, because this stabilises blood sugar and keeps you feeling full. An omelette, yoghurt and berries or even a bacon sandwich are all good, as long as that bacon is grilled, back and unsmoked. Choose cereals and porridge that are low in added sugar and watch the portion size.

Strategy #3: Scale down your starches

Why? No one ever got overweight from eating too much grilled chicken. Instead, it’s the potato, pasta, rice and bread (even brown) that do the damage. One way to put yourself off eating too many starches is to think: ‘Is that how I want my thighs to look?’ because eat too much mashed potato, sticky rice or spaghetti carbonara and that is exactly how they will look – white and lumpy.

How? Divide your dinner plate into quarters. One quarter should be lean protein and half should be veggies or salad, with just a quarter for starches.

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Strategy #4: Eat good fats, but don’t go mad

Why? The news that healthy fats are good for you is finally getting through, but the danger is that some people think they can use extra virgin olive oil like a hosepipe in a car wash. That oil is made of olives – not magic! Essential fats are indeed essential, but only in small amounts.

How? Aim for no more than one tablespoon of olive/linseed oil, a tin of sardines or a fillet of salmon a day, with maybe a palmful of nuts and seeds.

Strategy #5: Eat a third of your food raw

Why? Eating more raw food not only increases your intake of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, it will also keep the calorie count down. A big bowl of salad may only contain 100 calories (without dressing), less than an average chocolate biscuit.

How? Add a salad to lunch and dinner and eat fruit and nuts between meals. Raw food also takes longer to eat because you need to chew it more, which stimulates the release of the hormone grehlin to help you feel full. For a sensible whole-foods approach maintaining a slim body and great health for the long-term, take a look at the Cruise Control Diet.

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Strategy #6: Skip dessert
Why? Apologies to all those trendy home bakers, but regularly eating cupcakes, even if accompanied by marathon training, is not a recipe for slim hips. The simplest way to keep your daily calorie count under control is to skip pudding, replacing it with a piece of fresh fruit or a little bit of dark chocolate.

How? Pastry, sponge, custard and the like are packed with bad fats and sugar. One idea for the dessert-aholic is to try alternatives. You can make pastry from potato or ground almonds, use courgette, spinach and egg white to make bread and swap custard for yoghurt. OK, it’s not tiramisu, but if you want to do up your favourite dress…

Strategy #7: Reduce snacking

Why? While it is important to keep yourself fuelled throughout the day, treating the fridge as an all-you-can-eat buffet is a quick route to disaster, Constant grazing will interrupt your digestion and could cause bloating.

How? Eat three balanced meals and two protein/carb snacks a day (e.g. celery and cottage cheese or an apple and a yoghurt) to keep your weight under control.

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Strategy #8: Be consistent

Why? This is the most important rule of all. However fantastic your diet or exercise regime, if it only lasts a couple of weeks because it’s too stringent to stick to, you won’t keep the weight off.

How? Adopt an 80/20 approach, aiming to stick to your goals 80 per cent of the time, with 20 per cent for ‘cheating’. Over the long haul, you can have cheats and a few ‘off days’, but your weight will stay where you want it to be.

 

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4 Amazing Fruits For Weight Loss

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Weight loss boils down to choice. Specifically, every time you choose to eat something, you’re either taking a step toward your goals… or away from them. And if you’re like most people, you want to get in shape as fast as possible.

As such, this article will help you speed things up a bit. In fact, if you incorporate the following 4 fruits into your daily diet, you’ll see a dramatic improvement in your weight and waistline.

And before we get to the meat of the matter, let me make this small disclaimer. The title of this post is somewhat misleading. You see, there are no fruits (or foods in general) that actually burn fat. At least not directly.

Now, I’m sure you’ve heard about celery and that you use more calories to chew and digest it than it actually contains. But those are silly myths.

With that said, there are foods that speed up the weight loss process. They just do it indirectly. So, you’re not actually getting lighter every time you eat them. But, by boosting your metabolism, they’re helping you shed the pounds that much faster. And with that out of the way, let’s get to the fruits…

Fat burning fruit #1: apples.
Their high pectin content binds water and prevents fat absorption by your body’s cells. As you can imagine, the less fat you store, the lighter you’ll get – simple as that.

Now, in addition to pectin, apples are very high in fiber. This keeps you full so you take in less calories throughout the day. In fact, studies have shown that eating an apple 30 minutes before a meal is a great way to control portions. The bottom line? An apple a day keeps more than the doctor away. It also keeps the pounds at bay.

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Fat burning fruit #2: grapefruit.
Grapefruits (much like oranges, lemons, and limes) are citrus fruits. These are high in vitamin C. And the latter plays a key fat-burning role by helping your body break it down. As such, it makes it easier to get rid of it.

What’s more is that vitamin C lowers insulin levels. The lower your levels of insulin, the less likely you are to store fat in the first place. So as you can see, this fruit provides you with a double weight loss “whammy” and you should eat it often.

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Fat burning fruit #3: blueberries.
What makes blueberries (and berries in general) so special in terms of weight loss? Simple, they’re packed with fiber, which again, keeps you full. Furthermore, they’re chock-full of antioxidants and improve insulin sensitivity. Grab a handful and enjoy every bite because these little guys will keep you fit and healthy into old age.

Fat burning fruit #4: tomatoes.
Now, this one might come as a bit of surprise. Most people think that tomatoes are vegetables. But they are in fact fruits. And if you didn’t know that – now you do! Either way – fruit or vegetable – one thing’s for sure: it’s a great ally to have on your side in the battle of the bulge.

Here’s why…

Tomatoes are very high in biotin – a B-vitamin that plays a key role in energy production. In short, without this essential vitamin, your energy levels suffer. And the less energy you have, the less you’ll move, and the less fat you’ll burn.

In addition to biotin, they’re also high in chromium – a well-known stabilizer of blood sugar. And as you probably know, stable blood sugar means fewer insulin spikes, and hence, less fat storage.

Now, before we wrap things up, let me leave you with one last disclaimer. The fruits just listed are indeed great for burning fat. But only if you eat them in their natural form… and in moderation.

Why?

Because fruits are high in sugar. Therefore, do not juice them. This is very important. I know juicing is all the rage lately, but don’t fall for the fad. You see, when you drink a glass of juice, you’re ingesting several fruits at once. That, and you’re missing out on a lot of the fiber. It’s a bad combination that, not only will prevent fat loss, but will make you gain weight to bout.

In conclusion, eat these fruits, eat them often, but don’t’ drink them. And by doing so, you’ll be taking several steps to getting that fit, healthy body you can truly be proud of.

 

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