So often the focus of weight loss is on the workouts you crush and meals you eat. And, make no mistake, those are absolutely essential to getting results during your transformation challenge, but those still only make up a small fraction of each day.
There are a number of other things you can do during the day to enhance your progress and get better results from your diet and exercise program that actually don’t involve cutting more calories or doing more cardio!
Here are 12 morning, afternoon, and evening tips for weight loss to help you lose more fat around the clock!
Morning Tips for Weight Loss
#1 Don’t Hit the Snooze Button
It can be tempting to hit the snooze button a time (or three) in the morning in an effort to get more sleep, but you might actually be undermining your own weight loss efforts.
More often than not, routinely hitting the snooze button indicates sleep deprivation, which is known to run counter to weight loss in a variety of ways. More specifically, sleep deprivation is known to:
- Reduce insulin sensitivity
- Reduce motivation to exercise
- Decrease energy expenditure
- Increase cortisol
- Increase feelings of hunger
- Decrease feelings of satiety
- Reduce performance (mentally and physically)
- Reduce feelings of well-being
Research also shows that avoiding the snooze button in the morning may lead to a better mood during the day.
The biggest “trick” to avoiding the snooze button is to make sure you're getting enough quality sleep each night, which starts with going to bed earlier and allowing yourself enough time to get adequate sleep each night.
#2 Drink Water Upon Waking
Upon waking, your body is craving for hydration.
The reason for this is that you’ve just spent 8 hours (hopefully) asleep, during which you weren’t consuming any fluids or electrolytes, yet during that time your body was using water and electrolytes to repair and recover.
As such, it’s imperative that you kickstart your day with a tall glass of water. Not only does this help rehydrate your mind and body, but it may also help you to eat less during the day as research finds that having a big glass of water before meals may help reduce calorie intake.
#3 Eat a Smart Breakfast
For decades, the idea was promoted that breakfast was the “most important” meal of the day in that it helped “boost” the metabolism and provided your body with the fuel it needed to start the day right.
In recent times, it’s become taboo to eat breakfast, what with the rise in popularity of intermittent fasting and keto protocols.
Suffice it to say that both ends of the spectrum have over-exaggerated to a certain extent.
But, know this, if you do choose to eat breakfast, there are some “best practices” you’ll want to keep in mind.
Namely, aim for foods that are high in protein and fiber, as these will help keep you feeling full until lunch. Great choices for breakfast include:
- Whole wheat toast/bagels
One of our favorite combinations is to mix up a scoop of 1UP Whey protein into a serving of oatmeal or Greek Yogurt and top with fresh or frozen berries. For an added fiber boost, you can also add a serving of 1UP Fiber Plus, which contains 8 grams of natural fiber and is available in an Unflavored “flavor” so it doesn’t affect the taste or texture of your oatmeal or yogurt.
Another helpful tip is to opt for savory foods at breakfast, such as a veggie scramble or omelette as sugary breakfast foods (donuts, pastries, cereal, etc.) are typically low in protein and fiber, and they also typically lead to cravings for more sugar.
#4 Get Movin’ & Groovin’
We all know that physical activity is an essential part of losing weight and getting fit; however, when you exercise might help you burn some extra fat during the day.
In fact, research indicates that exercising before breakfast (i.e. fasted cardio) may increase 24-hour fat oxidation (fat burning) compared to exercise performed after eating.
Plus, getting your workouts knocked out early in the day helps ensure that other things that happen to “pop up” during the day won’t derail your training program.
Afternoon Tips for Weight Loss
#1 Meal Prep
There’s an old saying that goes: “failure to plan is planning to fail.”
Nowhere is this truer than when it comes to nutrition for weight loss.
More often than not, what happens when individuals don’t plan and prep their meals, they end up going for the most convenient option, which is usually fast food, take out, or whatever they can find in the office vending machines.
This inevitably leads to consuming a lot of high-calorie food that does little to fill you up but will almost guarantee that you’ll exceed your calorie limits for the day.
You can avoid this trap by taking time each week, such as during the weekend, to plan and prep your lunches (and possibly dinners) so that even when things get chaotic, you always have a meal at the ready and don’t need to stress about what to eat.
#2 Schedule Lunch
More of us are working from home than ever these days, and even before that, many individuals got so wrapped up in work they simply forgot to eat lunch, which inevitably resulted in raiding the snack machines at the office or the refrigerator for whatever was close at hand.
This typically results in consuming too many calories and when you also factor in that most individuals are moving even less than they already were, you have the perfect recipe for unwanted weight gain.
As such, make sure to schedule your lunch and to make things better, have a lunch prepared so you don’t have to waste time and energy figuring out what to eat.
#3 Have Soup as an Appetizer
No matter what time of day, or season of the year, soup is always on the menu. It can be served hot or cold, thick or thin, and packed with “fixings” or left as a “pure” broth.
Regardless of how you like your soup, know this -- having a cup of soup before your lunch (or any other meal of the day), can help you eat less calories during the day, which supports weight loss.
In fact, studies indicate that eating soup is associated with a reduced intake of total fat and an increased intake of protein, carbohydrate and fiber as well as several essential vitamins and minerals.
#4 Consider a Post-Lunch Snack
Snacking is often viewed as detrimental for weight loss, and it can be if it causes you to exceed your calorie goals for the day, but that isn’t always the case.
For some individuals, snacking may help them avoid feeling too ravenous come mealtime (which could also lead to overeating).
If you do like to snack, and/or find that it helps you to not overeat at mealtime, make sure your snacks are rich in protein, healthy fats, and fiber.
Some of our favorite options for low-calorie snacks between meals are:
- A scoop or protein powder (such as 1UP Whey Protein or 1UP Organic Vegan Protein)
- Apple and cheese
- Mixed nuts
- Greek yogurt + mixed berries
- Hummus and veggies
- Protein Bars
Evening Tips for Weight Loss
#1 Schedule Your Bedtime
Just like all the other important tasks of the day (meetings, workouts, etc.), sleep should also be scheduled.
Far too many individuals slack on their sleep, which negatively impacts their weight loss results in a variety of ways which we’ve discussed ad nauseum before on the blog.
Setting a bedtime helps signal to your body it’s time to wind down for the night and can help ensure that you get the 7-9 hours of quality sleep you need to perform to your best each day.
#2 Limit Blue Light Exposure
Another important tip to help improve your sleep quality each night is to limit your exposure to blue light 2 hours or so before bed.
Blue light is a type of light that has a high intensity and short wavelength. It’s great for keeping you awake, which is why it’s recommended to get exposure to sunlight when you wake up as the sun naturally emits blue light. However, at night, blue light exposure suppresses melatonin production, which can hinder your ability to get to sleep.
Tips for limiting blue light exposure at night, include:
- Avoiding electronics (tvs, laptops, tablets, smartphones, etc.) 2 hours before bed
- Using blue light filters on electronics
- Wearing blue light blocking glasses
#3 Avoid Eating Too Late
Consuming too large of a meal can impair sleep quality for some individuals as it may lead to GI upset, reflux and/or elevate body temperature leading to night sweating and general discomfort, thus impairing your ability to fall/stay asleep.
If you want to consume some food close to bed, so as to avoid nighttime hunger pangs (which itself could disrupt sleep), keep it light in volume and total calories, yet high in protein.
Some ideal options for pre-bed snacks:
- Protein shake
- Protein yogurt
- Fruit & cheese
- Cottage cheese and fruit
#4 Have a Cup of Herbal Tea
Few things are quite as relaxing as having a cup of warm tea. There’s just something so comforting about sipping on a “cuppa” that’s hard to explain. It needs to be experienced.
Just make sure that you’re consuming herbal, non-caffeinated tea, as consuming caffeine too close to bedtime can disrupt sleep.
As an added bonus, tea is also packed with catechins (such as EGCG) and antioxidants, which are known to support weight loss.
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- Parretti, H. M., Aveyard, P., Blannin, A., Clifford, S. J., Coleman, S. J., Roalfe, A., & Daley, A. J. (2015). Efficacy of water preloading before main meals as a strategy for weight loss in primary care patients with obesity: RCT. Obesity, 23(9), 1785–1791. https://doi.org/10.1002/oby.21167
- Iwayama K, Kurihara R, Nabekura Y, Kawabuchi R, Park I, Kobayashi M, Ogata H, Kayaba M, Satoh M, Tokuyama K. Exercise Increases 24-h Fat Oxidation Only When It Is Performed Before Breakfast. EBioMedicine. 2015 Oct 30;2(12):2003-9. doi: 10.1016/j.ebiom.2015.10.029. PMID: 26844280; PMCID: PMC4703705.
- Zhu Y, Hollis JH. Soup consumption is associated with a lower dietary energy density and a better diet quality in US adults. Br J Nutr. 2014 Apr 28;111(8):1474-80. doi: 10.1017/S0007114513003954. Epub 2014 Jan 2. PMID: 24382211.
- Nagao T, Hase T, Tokimitsu I. A green tea extract high in catechins reduces body fat and cardiovascular risks in humans. Obesity (Silver Spring). 2007 Jun;15(6):1473-83. doi: 10.1038/oby.2007.176. PMID: 17557985.