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Take These 10 Simple Steps To Make You A Morning Person

Take These 10 Simple Steps To Make You A Morning Person

Wouldn’t it be an amazing feeling if you could stroll into work comfortably in the morning after a three-mile jog, twenty-minute workout, fifteen-minute ashtanga yoga session, or whatever your ideal morning routine would be?

In an interview with Harvard Business Review, Christoph Randler, a biology professor at the University of Education in Heidelberg, Germany, explains that, “When it comes to business success, morning people hold the important cards. They tend to get better grades in school, which gets them into better colleges, which then leads to better job opportunities.”

But we all knew this, or at least suspected it, right? There’s even a saying about it: “The early birds catches the worm.”

Early in the morning is when your mind and body are most rested. Your motivation is at its highest then, and there are less things to distract you from writing or thinking deeply and creatively about projects. You are most productive at first light, which explains why so many successful people wake up before the sun rises, including Richard Branson (Virgin Group founder), Tim Cook (Apple CEO), and Indra Nooyi (CEO of PepsiCo).

If you love the idea of creating a success-boosting morning routine that gives you a headstart on others, and also affords you time for exercise and family, but struggle to get up when the alarm clock sounds, don’t worry. There are simple steps you can take to make climbing out from under the covers and starting your morning earlier much easier, and maybe even fun. Here’re ten of them:

1. Define your motive beforehand.

As with any change, it’s important to have a solid reason for waking up early. Define a meaningful reason for why you want to get up early and write it down if necessary. For example, you might want to wake up early to fit in a morning cardio workout, squeeze in a morning run, or have some extra time to cook a healthy breakfast for your family. Whatever the reason, being clear on it from the start will motivate you and set you up for success.

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2. Get enough sleep — 7 to 9 hours.

Waking up early and well-rested starts with getting enough sleep. Unfortunately, due to our busy lifestyles, many of us don’t get enough sleep. But, just like you need to make time for exercise, you need to make time for quality sleep. Admittedly, balancing our own wellbeing against other personal and professional responsibilities is tough, but do not compromise on your health for success.

Schedule 7 to 9 hours of sleep (the average amount adults needs in a night, although some naturally need more) into your day. What you get from a good night’s rest cannot be supplemented elsewhere. Your body and mind are more apt to change other habits (like wake time) if they’re well-rested.

3. Stick to a consistent sleep schedule.

Don’t just get enough sleep once in a while. Get enough sleep every day.

“Many people think they’re getting more or less than they actually are,” says Colette Haward, MD, a psychiatrist in New York City. Watch out for that. An inconsistent sleep schedule means that, “Your sleep cycle is pushed back a few hours. It’s delayed at night, which causes excessive sleepiness in the morning and during the day,” Dr. Haward says.

Sleeping two hours later on Saturday and Sunday also throws off your internal clock during the week. “We all have a 24-hour clock that regulates our sleep-wake cycle,” Dr. Haward explains. That is why it’s so important to keep a consistent sleep schedule and get the recommended hours of shuteye.

Nathaniel Watson, MD and president-elect of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, agrees.

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“Keeping a consistent sleep schedule,” he says “is one of the best ways to ensure you’re getting quality, restful sleep.” It will reflect on your wake time, as well.

4. Adjust your sleep schedule gradually.

Just because you should get enough sleep and keep a consistent sleep schedule doesn’t mean you should shift your schedule suddenly. Drastic adjustment will keep you rebounding between early and late times, rather than helping you create lasting change.

Start adjusting your bedtime gradually by just 15 minutes at a time, advices Dr. Haward. And, if you have a sleep debt to repay, it’s better to nap during the day than to mess up your nightly sleep schedule. That said, don’t take extended daytime naps, because they can keep you up at night.

5. Establish a relaxing evening routine.

A relaxing evening routine can help to clue your body into what is to come. It will chill you out and let your mind know that it is nearly time to fall asleep. For example, Dr. Haward recommends taking 30 minutes to prepare yourself for sleep with a three-step plan:

Firstly, take a hot bath or shower (when you step out, your body temperature drops, which encourages sleep); secondly, jot down a list of things you’re worried about to clear your mind; and thirdly, dim the lights and meditate, do some deep breathing or practice progressive relaxation, in which you slowly tense and then relax all your muscles from scalp to toes.

Drinking a cup of (decaffeinated) tea and reading for 20 minutes or so each night before bed is also a good and relaxing routine you can establish. A relaxing routine will help you sleep better and wake up fresh.

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6. Create a sleep sanctuary.

Once you know when to sleep and what to do right before bedtime, it’s important to make your bedroom conducive for sound sleeping. A snooze-friendly bedroom is clean, quiet, comfortable, and dark (light suppresses secretions of sleep-inducing melatonin).

Your bedroom also needs to be cool to allow you to sleep comfortably and wake up rejuvenated.

“The magic number for a sleep-friendly room is around 69 degrees Fahrenheit,” says Dr. Haward. A wool blanket can also go a long way in keeping you cool throughout the night.

“Wool is a fantastic insulator but also good for wicking away moisture and keeping you cool,” Michael Breus, PhD, author of Beauty Sleep: Look Younger, Lose Weight, and Feel Great Through Better Sleep, says. And if your mattress leaves you achy, now is a good time to upgrade.

7. Power down and unplug from technology.

Any kind of bright light emitted by electronic devices in the bedroom can shift your circadian rhythms, making it harder to get a good night’s sleep. So, no late-night TV shows and no checking e-mail in bed. Dr. Haward notes that televisions, cell phones, and computer screens all emit blue light, which suppresses melatonin production. Turn off those electronic screens at least an hour before bed to make dozing easier.

8. Hop into bed and get some sleep.

If you can’t fall asleep: “After 30 minutes, get up and engage in a quiet activity. Don’t flip on bright overhead lights; use a soft table lamp instead,” says Dr. Haward. Twenty minutes into a favorite book or crossword puzzle in a dimly lit room and you should notice your eyelids dropping. Time to hit the sack.

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9. Break up with the snooze button.

When the alarm goes off and your immediate temptation is to hit snooze, go ahead and do it. Hit the snooze button, but get out of bed. Wait for those next few minutes before the alarm goes off again to pass while you are out of bed. The idea is known as “inverted snooze.” It helps ease the pain of waking up by telling yourself you only have those few minutes to stick it out.

Stretch, move around, start brewing coffee, make an entry in your diary – do something, anything to keep yourself awake. By the time the alarm goes off again you should be fully awake and alert, rather than dull and still grumpy in bed, likely to hit snooze again.

10. Seize the day and make things happen.

Starting the day in grouch mode, thinking about all the things you don’t want to do today is a terrible way to start your day. It might even de-motivate you from the wonderful habit of waking up early you’ve started. Instead, remind yourself of your motive for waking up early and think ahead to the best things you’ll do all day. It will stir your energy and fuel your desires to seize the day and make things happen.

Eat a healthy breakfast. Exercise. Be your best self. Your willpower is at its peak in the morning. Make the most of it!

Featured photo credit: lzf via shutterstock.com

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David K. William

David is a publisher and entrepreneur who tries to help professionals grow their business and careers, and gives advice for entrepreneurs.

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Last Updated on October 5, 2020

Intermittent Fasting Weight Loss (The Ultimate Weight Loss Hack)

Intermittent Fasting Weight Loss (The Ultimate Weight Loss Hack)

Intermittent fasting weight loss is a type of diet that’s rapidly growing in popularity and becoming the way to lose weight. Scientists and nutrition experts like it, too. New books and articles on the topic are being published daily. Intermittent fasting is also popular with followers of the Paleo diet since our ancestors appear to have eaten this way for thousands of years.

I’ve been following this type of diet myself for 2 years. Doing so helped me lose and keep off 70 pounds without ever having to count calories, limit carbohydrates, or eat 6 to 7 meals a day.

This article teaches you all about intermittent fasting weight loss and details why it is one of the best weight loss diet hacks around. Once you finish, you will be able to implement into your diet and experience the benefits it offers almost immediately.

What Is Intermittent Fasting?

As you may have figured from its name, intermittent fasting weight loss is a diet plan where you set fasting periods during the day. This is usually between 16-20 consecutive hours, but it can be as little as 12 hours or as much as 24 hours (or even 36 hours).

While fasting you can eat and drink low calorie or calorie-free foods. Think coffee, tea, water, and vegetables.

The more time you spend fasting every day, the better your results. You can do these fasts as often as you like. Again, the more often you do so, the better[1].

Getting Started With Intermittent Fasting

Following this diet plan is super simple. All you have to do is choose a period of time during the day that you will fast. This should be between 16-20 hours.

The longer you fast each day, the better. Don’t worry about calorie restriction or measuring carbohydrates. Just focus on going about your day until it’s time to eat.

It’s best to choose a set period of time to conduct your fast. I like to fast from 8 PM to 4 PM the following afternoon. I’ll then have my first meal of the day and a snack or two a few hours later. Once 8 o’clock rolls around, it’s back to fasting.

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My experience with intermittent fasting is that it’s best to start with a 16 hour fast (i.e. 8PM one evening to 12PM the next day) for the first 1-2 weeks. Once you are comfortable with this schedule, you can increase the amount of time you spend fasting. Do this by adding 30 minutes to each fast until you get to where you are fasting for 20 hours at a time.

You don’t have to fast every day in the beginning either. You may be more comfortable breaking in slowly with 2 or 3 days per week, or trying alternate day fasting. Add additional days of intermittent fasting as you become more comfortable with this style of eating.

Tips To Make Intermittent Fasting Easier

1. Drink Plenty of Water

Squeeze a little lemon or lime juice into your water to help get rid of any cravings you experience. You can also drink coffee, tea, or other calorie-free beverages. After a few weeks, you will find that intermittent fasting keeps you from craving sugar entirely.

2. Take in Caffeine in the Morning and Early Afternoon

The caffeine in coffee and tea may actually make intermittent fasting weight loss a little easier since it’s good for curbing your appetite. Be careful not to overindulge as this may lead to you feeling a little too wired. I also recommend these natural energy boosting tips to keep you going during the day.

3. Avoid Artificially Flavored Drinks

One type of calorie-free drink that should be avoided are diet sodas and other beverages that use artificial sweeteners like Splenda and Sweet & Low. Studies show that the can actually stimulate your appetite[2] like a drink that contains sugar and cause you to overeat.

4. Don’t Gorge at Your First Meal

The first meal after your fast should be the amount of food you typically eat. Binging will only make you feel awful and diminish the benefits you get from the fast.

To avoid this, try creating meal plans, at least for the first few weeks. This will help you get into the rhythm of eating regularly portioned meals during your eating window.

5. Minimize Processed Carbohydrates and Sugars

While intermittent fasting does make it possible to eat a little looser than normal, you should still eat as little bread, pasta, rice, etc. as possible.

Focus instead on eating protein from beef, fish, or pork, carbohydrates from vegetables, fruit, and sweet potatoes, and healthy fats from foods like almonds, avocados, fish, and olive oil.

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You can find some carb sources that will aid your weight loss journey here.

How Intermittent Fasting Helps You Lose Weight

Eating this way has many benefits with regard to weight loss. The first is that when you’re fasting, your body will be forced to use its stored body fat for energy. Burning calories this way, instead of from the food you’re eating throughout the day, will help you experience significant weight loss, but specifically lose weight from any excess body fat you’re carrying.

This means that you won’t just be thinner, but you will also look better and be much healthier than if you lose weight the old-fashioned way[3].

Intermittent fasting can help optimize the release of the key fat-burning hormones in your body. This is especially true for the two most important hormones: human growth hormone (HGH) and insulin.

Human growth hormone plays a key role in turning on your body’s fat-burning furnace so that it gets the calories you need to work and play from stored body fat. Studies show that fasting can significantly increase the production of HGH[4].

The influence intermittent fasting weight loss has on insulin is just as impressive and possibly more important. Keeping your insulin levels low and steady is key to losing excess fat and keeping it off.

Diets that are rich in processed carbohydrates (bread, pasta, rice) and simple sugars (candy, cookies, and soda) have the opposite effect. They cause your insulin levels to rapidly spike and then crash every time you eat one of these foods. The net result of this phenomenon is that your body will store more of what you eat as excess body fat instead of burning it off as energy.

Chronically elevating your insulin levels like this can also lead to the development of type II diabetes, obesity, and other chronic health problems. Intermittent fasting easily solves this problem.

One study found that men who participated in intermittent fasting had “dramatically lower insulin levels and significantly improved insulin sensitivity”[5].

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This happens because you’re not giving your body food, so it will not produce insulin, allowing insulin levels to balance out until you eat again. This helps your body stay in a calorie and fa-burning state. You’ll also find that it gives you more energy throughout the day.

Another great weight loss benefit of intermittent fasting is that hunger pangs and cravings that may normally plague you throughout the day will be reduced, if not altogether eliminated. This is probably due to its ability to balance your insulin and blood sugar levels and, in turn, help correct other hormonal imbalances.

Intermittent Fasting Weight Loss FAQs

Now that you know what intermittent fasting is and how to get started, it’s time to answer your other questions.

Below are answers to the questions frequently asked about intermittent fasting. These answers should help you and make getting started a lot easier.

How Much Weight Will I Lose?

The amount of weight you lose with fasting is determined by how often and long your fasts are, what you eat afterward, and other factors. Fasting for 16-20 hours a day can help you safely lose 2-3 pounds of fat every week.

While losing this much weight every week is great, it’s how it makes it happen that’s really cool. Losing weight with intermittent fasting means that you will never have to count calories or plan and prepare several meals a day.

Can I Work out While Fasting?

Yes, you can. In fact, doing the right type of workout while fasting will help you lose weight faster and even build muscle.

The best workouts to do while fasting for weight loss are 3-4 intense strength training workouts weekly. This means anything from standard strength training to kettlebell or body weight workouts.

Focus on doing 3-4 total body exercises per workout with as little rest as possible between sets. Doing this will help you burn more calories during and after your workout. You’ll also build muscle, which will help you look and feel better as the weight comes off.

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Won’t I Lose Muscle When I Fast?

First of all, you aren’t fasting long enough for your body to start breaking down muscle for energy. You have, perhaps, hundreds of thousands of calories from your stored body fat to use before that will begin to happen. Studies actually show that even after fasting for 3 days, no muscle is lost.

Is Fasting Safe?

As long as you are healthy, not pregnant, and aren’t taking medications, fasting is safe. Like all diets, you should discuss it with your doctor before beginning an intermittent fasting style of dieting.

I also feel that it may not be smart to follow this type of diet when you’re especially stressed. Since this diet can be a little stress-inducing at first, doing so when your ability to be relatively stress-free and rested probably isn’t a good idea.

Are There Any Supplements I Can Take to Make Fasting Easier?

As with any other weight loss plan, it’s a good idea to take a few nutritional supplements to ensure that your daily requirements are met. This includes a once or twice daily multi-vitamin, fish oil, and vitamin D.

I’ve also found taking 10 grams of branch chain amino acids before and after my workouts really helps, too. They’re great for giving you more energy during your workout and decreasing post-workout muscle soreness.

For supplements to specifically help with digestion, check out this article.

Conclusion

Now you know what intermittent fasting is and how it can help you lose weight quickly, safely, and pretty much effortlessly.

If you want to give it a try, find a fasting schedule that fits with you lifestyle and give it a go.

More About Intermittent Fasting

Featured photo credit: Toa Heftiba via unsplash.com

Reference

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