New healthy habits that produce weight loss don’t just simply drop into our laps, they happen because we’ve made a few tweaks and established new norms.
There’s a term of art used in business called kaizen. It means constant and never-ending continuous improvement, and it’s a great philosophy to live by.
Specifically, it’s the idea of making a consistent effort to change even while everything, the entire day, all the moving parts are constantly in motion! This philosophy can be applied to life.
How to do it? Every day, find something that helps bring about change by moving in a positive direction of improvement. This can be accomplished with little steps, as has been illustrated throughout time by great philosophers like Lao Tzu who said, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” Every single step in our journey through life builds on the one before, and even if we take a few steps backward along the way, it’s no big deal—just start the forward movement again.
Motivational speaker Wayne Dyer once said, “Change the way you look at things, and the things you look at change.” Apply this to the way we look at food, exercise, or even ourselves. Is exercise seen as a struggle, or is it seen as something that will lead to good health, resiliency, confidence, and strength?
Create For Yourself A New, Daily Routine
Routine is important because our brain loves routine. Routine has a positive effect on our lives to the point that when we break our routine for a number of days, we tend to feel a little “off” or less grounded.
When we do something repeatedly, like practicing an instrument, the neurons in our brains establish connections to other neurons to create a larger, more powerful network that allows us to become better and more efficient at playing that instrument.
This is why it benefits a musician to spend much more time practicing an instrument than performing.
Starting every day with a morning routine is important to get our bodies and our brains off to a positive start. Your routine can be whatever you want it to be, but the point is: It can’t be the same one you have right now.
Below I’ve provided you a basic outline of my morning routine, and to be honest, it’s changed even since I first created it. And that’s okay – our lives are not static, and a routine that works for me in the summer might not be the same during the winter months.
It’s a practice that I actively work on and think about and modify regularly so that it produces the inspiration and the motivation I need for the day.When I wake up, I sit in a quiet, comfortable place and relax.
Even if it’s been a difficult night of sleep, I first take a slow deep breath in through the nose and fill the abdomen with air, hold onto that breath for a few seconds, then exhale slowly through the mouth. I might repeat this “cleansing breath” up to five times while being mindful of how my body feels.
Next, I might express gratitude for the gift of life and thank my body for allowing me to be a participant in my life!
- While in this mindful state, I’m creating my day (visualization). That’s an important lesson! Rather than stumbling into each day reacting to whatever is thrown at us, instead we visualize and create how to see each day progressing and what we want to accomplish that day.
My 15-Minute “Easy Breezy Morning Routine”
To make change, we keep focused on what we do want rather than what we don’t. Our brains function from two major inputs: body form (slumped or straight) and what we put our focus on.
By putting focus toward positive goals (“I want to get healthy” vs. “I don’t want to get sick”), we’ll draw those positive outcomes to us.
The brain sits at the center of everything—it regulates hormones, mood, personality, and weight; it’s even how we relate to the world. In this context, an active body is important physically and it also creates an active, sharp brain.
Step 1 – From a mindful state, instead of bolting into the kitchen (or my computer), I might start with some stretches and basic exercises (sit-ups, pushups, trunk twists, etc.) to jumpstart metabolism and get blood flowing.
Step 2 – I like to make the bed so that I can put closure to the night before, but also to set the stage to start a new day. This is something I learned from a Tibetan monk many, many years ago and it stuck with me.
Step 3 – Make lemon water or water tonic with supplements and drink it before breakfast. That’s the same one I mentioned before on Day 2
Step 4 – Make a healthy breakfast (most important) of protein, vegetables, and healthy fat.
Nutritionally, the lesson I want to impart is how critical it is to get a few nutrients in your body right away, every day; we’re talking about weight loss and a lot of my patients want to starve themselves to achieve that. Instead, I want you to think about the key nutrients you need – your brain, your gut microbiome, your cells, and you.
Action Steps: I encourage you to really take the time to visualize and map out a morning routine. For an engaging listen and to learn firsthand about how to develop this all-important skill, go to my podcast interview with 15-Minute Matrix, called Mapping Morning Routine.
If there’s one key takeaway for today’s exercise it’s this: One day, maybe not tomorrow, but soon, you’ll come to realize that whatever you have been doing so far, up till today, all of it has to be given deeper consideration (and possibly even restructured).
When it comes to health and weight loss, or even when it comes to carving out the time and finding the energy for weight loss, we have to find the small nuggets that are working, and remove everything else.
The key to being productive is to “wake up productive” from the very first part of our mornings when our body (and brain) is most “metabolically” active.
Dr. Douglas J. Pucci, Founder, Get Well Now, is a functional medicine pioneer and Bergen County’s Face of Functional Medicine. He was honored to receive both The Best Of 2020 Awards for Functional Medicine in Oradell, NJ, and entry into Trademark Publications’ 2020 Who’s Who Directory, Honors Edition.