The Morning Routine that Changed My Life

 The Morning Routine that Changed My Life

In 2019 our family received devastating news that rocked our world. The company where my husband had worked for 50 years (since he was just a teen-ager) fired him for refusing to sign a non-compete agreement. He was in a tough situation with a family business that had been sold to a private equity group and long time, highly paid employees were the first casualty.  Our entire way of life was threatened and I did not take it well. I ate my way out of stress and gained 60 pounds. You read that right- 60 POUNDS. I held on to those extra pounds through Covid, transiting into a new job, me taking on part time work and becoming an empty-nester with our last child moving half way across the country. When I was eating all my fears, frustrations and anger, I didn’t realize how much stress I was contributing to my already stressful life. Financially things were stressful, so having to buy larger size clothing was adding insult to injury. My health took a nose-dive as well. I now had fatty liver disease, my hair was falling out and my hormones were all over the place. My doctor kindly suggested that I look at what was eating me instead of what I was eating. She told me all my symptoms could be reversed by getting a handle on my weight. On August 21st, 2021 I returned home from a month long trip to Europe and I was at my all time highest weight. Not even being 9 months pregnant could compete with what I weighed that day. Monday August 23rd was the day I knew my life had to change. The first action I took was to read James Clear’s book Atomic Habits. That was the impetus to my new, healthy life. Everything came down to HABITS. These are the habits I embraced to regain my health, my confidence and my happiness.  

#1. Wake up at 5:00 am. 

I know that’s a hard one.  I actually started waking up at 4:30 and faithfully committed to walking three miles every morning at 5:00 with a friend. Knowing someone was waiting for me at the end of my driveway was compelling to get up and get going. Getting those three miles finished was not easy at first, but now I can get my three mile walk in with barely breaking a sweat. 


My friend, who is a sports trainer, taught me a simple formula for figuring out how many calories I needed to lose weight and how many I would need to sustain a weight loss. The numbers you need to know are 14, 13, 12.  If you are very active (meaning you exercise daily with some kind of cardio added in), your number is 14. Moderately active (walking regularly with some occasional weights), your number is 13.  Very sedentary (office/desk job where you are sitting most of the day and do not engage in any exercise at all, your number is 12. Multiple your number by what you currently weigh. Example: 13x180=2,340.  A person weighing 180 pounds would need 2,340 calories to maintain that weight.  In order to lose weight you would need to be in a deficit caloric intake. Reduce your calories by 500 and you will lose around 1-2 pounds per week. And that is exactly what I did.  It worked! I eventually lost 60 pounds and have kept it off these past two years. Since I now weigh 120 pounds I need to take in 1,680 calories. But since I have lost weight and become much more regular about exercising, I can eat around 1900-2000 calories and not gain weight. There are myriads of ways to lose weight but it really does come down to numbers. 

#3. Reminding myself that I could always eat that (whatever it was) later. 

When I was on the weight loss journey, I really learned the lesson of delayed gratification. I would be tempted to over-eat, but would then remind myself I could always have more at another time. Scarcity will make us do crazy things. When we think we can’t have something we will go into overdrive to make sure we get it. Reminding myself that I could eventually have the tiramisu another time was a great relief that I would not be deprived forever. 

#4. Weighing myself EVERY SINGLE DAY. I know, I know, the scale is something we hate. We dread getting on it at our annual doctor visits and we certainly don’t want to face the numbers on a daily basis, BUT this single action probably more than any other truly changed the way I was living. After the first month of literally watching the pounds come off both on my body and the scale, I actually started to jump out of bed in the morning looking forward to weighing myself. I know this is hard to believe, but trust me-the same will happen to you. It is so encouraging to see the change in the numbers. I know weight loss is more than just a number on a scale, but the numbers were a good marker for me and a sense of encouragement. There were plenty of times when I hit a plateau and the numbers didn’t move for weeks, but I kept faithfully showing up each morning to weigh and eventually the scale would move again.

#5. Washing my face and putting  on makeup, doing my hair and dressing nicely. 

When I was at my highest weight I didn’t care at all about my appearance and would often wear the same things day after day. I didn’t realize how self-sabotaging this was. After I lost the first ten pounds, I started wearing clothes I hadn’t been able to wear for a few years. Then I started washing my face every morning and doing my make-up and paying attention to my hair. The more positive I felt about my appearance the more confident I felt that the weight would come off.  My mother used to always tell me that putting on lipstick would improve just about anyone’s mood.  And she was right!

#6. Making time for reading and self care.

 By getting up at zero dark thirty and getting my three mile walk finished before the sun came up, I was amazed at how much more energy I had to accomplish everything else during the day. That extra hour or two before my husband got up gave me time to complete my daily devotion, eat a healthy breakfast and spend time journaling. I would often get two or three chores finished as well.  My entire day seems to go so much better when I get up early and walk for 40-45 minutes. Research is clear that early morning exercise is the way to go for optimal productivity during the day. 

There are lots of more tips and tricks I used along my weight loss journey which I will be sharing in future blog posts, but for now concentrate on these 6 things and watch your life improve for the better!


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1 comment

This was so good and encouraging. Thank you for motivating me!

Kim Armga

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