Three ways waking up one hour earlier can jumpstart your road to healthy living

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IN A WORLD OF FOLKS EVER-SEARCHING FOR THE NEWEST DIETING FAD OR TREND, THE TRUTH ABOUT HEALTHY LIVING OFTEN GETS LOST IN THE FRAY.

The fact of the matter is, no amount of crash dieting, or self-starvation can change your body and your overall health in a positive manner.

The only way to truly see the changes you desire is to change your lifestyle habits and stick with them. Proper diet and exercise is a daily battle that must be fought with motivation and consistence. Most importantly, you must take things one day at a time and make ever hour in the day count.

The average person works a typical 9-5 shift at work meaning their mornings usually begin between 7-8 am. Instead of setting your normal alarm, begin setting it one hour earlier and use that time to start the day off right.

We’re not suggesting you cut into your sleep time. Getting 6-8 hours is essential for your body in order to get proper rest. Instead, try heading to bed an hour early as well.

It may not be a preferable switch for night owls, but the truth is, taking advantage of the hours you have before your work day can be a major step in the right direction towards overall improvement of your health. It’s also worth noting that that hour you are cutting out likely does not consist of healthy behavior. It is that 10pm-midnight range where our dreaded late-night snack cravings hit. Giving yourself 60 less minutes to fall victim to temptation can make a big difference.

Here are three ways to improve your health by beginning your days early:

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EAT A REAL BREAKFAST

Some folks may already do this without the extra allotted morning time, but are you eating the right food? All too often life throws things at us and our mornings become rushed. Food is fuel and a bowl of Reese’s puffs or a doughnut simply isn’t going to give you the boost you need to conquer the day. With an extra hour, you can now properly prepare the most important meal of the day and consume the right fuel.

Possibilities are endless when it comes to concocting your own personal kick-starter meal. We suggest incorporating fruits, healthy grains and perhaps even some delicious Herbal Mist tea to get you going.

If you aren’t a breakfast connoisseur and are unsure of what to make, check out greatist.com’s 39 Healthy Breakfast’s For Busy Mornings. Next time you kid misses the bus or you wake up with a flat tire, you’ll be prepared.

GO TO THE GYM

Not everyone spends hours upon hours pumping iron. A simple 30-45 minute core and cardio workout each morning is the perfect way to begin the day. And if you hate working out think of it like this…You’re getting it out of the way now and the rest of your day will go on just like it already was. The feeling (and results) you get from your endorphins pumping after a workout always outweighs the struggle to get there in the first place.

TAKE TIME TO THINK AND REFLECT

How many times have you forgotten something like your lunch or maybe an important document needed for work only to discover it’s missing after you get to the office?

Mornings are hectic. You are expected to roll out of bed from a deep slumber, get yourself together and often complete several tasks before leaving for work.

With an extra hour to spare, this is the perfect time to sit back and ponder the upcoming activities on today’s schedule. Take this opportunity to organize yourself and defeat the overwhelming feeling before it even arises. Make lists of what you need to accomplish before walking out your front door, and then tackle each task with the knowledge that you have adequate time to complete each one.

If you’re already the super organized type, take this time to care for your mental health. Morning mediation or yoga is a great way to get in the right mindset and can improve more than just your mind. This R&R time can consist of really anything you want that’s productive and yields positive effects on your health.

We understand there are plenty of people who don’t work the typical 9-5 and their hours are spread out much differently. For those folks this strategy can be simply converted to just giving yourself an extra hour before work.

If you work the night shift, you can still workout, you can still prep a proper dinner (or breakfast for the next morning) and there’s still a window to take time to reflect.

Changing your lifestyle is a lot easier said than done. It takes time and dedication. That being said, beginning your day just one hour earlier can make a massive difference and be the ignition that lights your fire on the way to the body and mind you’re after.