If you are trying to watch the weight over the Christmas / holiday period, its important to maintain your good habits (and don’t pick up any new bad ones) when the structure of your day to day working life gets a little ‘out of whack’
When you’re no longer in work mode, and your daily routine changes up over the break, eating breakfast is often the first thing to go, and from there it can have a snowballing effect, ruining your whole day. (in terms of eating that is)
Now this is assuming you’re eating breakfast every morning anyway, if you’re not, then there’s no better time to start than right now, it is a must if you’re trying to lose weight or care at all about how you look or feel.
Now I’ve touched on this before when talking about meal frequency that when your body goes for extended periods without food, your metabolism slows down in an effort to preserve the fat and muscle on your body, not only this, but your muscle tissue will be the first to be burned for energy when it is time to dig in to the reserves – not good if you want to keep that metabolism running high
Breakfast was given its name because you are literally “breaking the fast” from the last 8 or so hours you have been sleeping, and even more since you last ate. This is the reason it’s often said that breakfast is the most important meal of the day.
So after not eating for 8 hours or longer, it is very important to eat a meal to get your metabolism kick started for the day , it will also provide your body with the much needed nutrients and energy it requires after so long a gap since you last fed yourself.
By eating a good breakfast, you’re also far less likely to over eat throughout the day and less inclined to snack on ‘junk’ food when the hunger catches up with you and you find yourself ravenous in the afternoon (this is a common pattern for many people).
Sporadic, unplanned over eating on unhealthy foods, along with a sluggish metabolism from not eating consistently day to day,
is a sure path to weight gain (or at least no weight loss).
And lastly, if you are reading this then its likely you are doing regular workouts, which require high energy. The higher your energy levels the more intensity you can put into your workouts, and the more you’ll get out of them.
So especially if you’re training in the morning and are coming to the gym after not eating for maybe 8-10 hours because you haven’t had breakfast, it is a certainty you are not optimising your performance and getting the best out of yourself. Again, breakfast will kick-start your metabolism, improve your recovery from training and make sure your body isn’t in a ‘catabolic’ state where it will eat into your precious metabolic muscle tissue. Along with the physical energy you will get, people who eat breakfast are more mentally alert as well, and this cannot hurt at all!
As you can see, when trying to control or maintain your weight – speeding up your metabolism, cutting out unplanned and unhealthy snacks, increased energy, and having effective workouts are obviously going to help.
If you wake up and you find you’re just not hungry and the thought of eating makes you sick, this is a sign that you’ve got a sluggish metabolism and you need to get it fired up. (A good analogy is to think of your metabolism as a fire… you need a big meal to get it started for the day, then keep topping it up throughout the day to keep it burning, if you don’t keep topping it up the fire will burn out)
If you’re just starting to get used to the idea of breakfast, start out with something little like a small protein shake or a small bowl of oats, or a banana, or an egg, and gradually build it up over time till it becomes a full meal. Soon enough you’ll find yourself waking up hungry in the morning and actually look forward to your breakfast.
Some good ideas for what to include in a good breakfast:
– Oats (if you tolerate them ok)
– Egg whites
– Lean meats (the thought of this might make some people sick, but humans didn’t eat breakfast cereal for most of our existence)
– Last nights left over dinner
– Omelette with spinach or other veggies
– Protein shake / smoothie
It is good to always eat some sort of veggies with breakfast to kick start the day, a good mix of protein, carbohydrates and good fats. What gives you the most energy and makes you feel the best may not be the same as somebody else which is why it is good to try out a few different things and go with what works best for you. Some of you might find it very surprising, but it’s very common that people don’t tolerate oats, muesli, and common breakfast cereals too well and it leads to bloating, digestive issues, lethargy, weight gain etc so see how these foods makes you feel. In my opinion you’ll get a ton more nutrients with a veggie filled omellete!
Hope this has given you something to think about!
…and just in case I don’t see you before…