breakfast and weight loss

I got an email the other day from someone wondering why they couldn’t lose weight. It ended with: “I don’t even eat breakfast. I hardly eat lunch any more. I don’t understand why I can’t seem to lose any weight.” The answer to her problem is right there in her question. Eating breakfast matters (lunch does too, but that’s a different post). Eating breakfast not only determines the amount of energy you’re bringing to your day, it also  has a real impact on the amount of fat your body decides to store (on your hips, thighs, stomach, etc.). So this week and next, let’s take a closer look at why eating breakfast and weight loss go together and address some common complaints about eating breakfast.

I’m not hungry.

I can’t begin to tell you how often I have said these words myself. There’s something about stuffing my face with food first thing in the morning that simply doesn’t appeal to me in any way, shape, or form. It’s very possible that you do not feel hungry in the morning (especially if you are an early riser). It’s also very possible that you’ve trained your body to simply not expect nourishment until a certain time so it’s suppressing its natural responses. A quick reset might involve simply eating a little bit less at night (especially if you eat dinner late or snack into the evening and/or right before you go to bed). Try it for a week and see if you’re a little bit hungrier in the morning.

I don’t like breakfast foods.

You can eat anything you want for breakfast – just keep it healthy and well-balanced. (You want a mix of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats to give you energy until lunchtime.) There’s nothing wrong with eating a sandwich, (turkey on wheat maybe), some rice and veggies, or even steak. Check your leftovers and see what’s available, and play around until you find something that tastes good and fills you up.

I don’t have time.

If time is an issue, start with something simple. A glass of juice and a piece of whole wheat toast with nut butter, a fruit smoothie with yogurt, a hard boiled egg (boil a 1/2 a dozen one night while you’re preparing dinner and refrigerate them for a quick breakfast) and an English muffin, or some cereal (hot or cold – just make sure it’s low in sugar and high in fiber).

The bottom line is that you’re body needs fuel in order to function. Even vital processes like breathing, digestion, and circulation need fuel to work. If you are not providing your body with enough nutrients to run these basic function, your body will slow things down, conserving energy (and storing that energy in the form of fat) in order to ensure the body has what it needs to survive. Skipping breakfast means that you are fasting for somewhere between 12 and 20  hours every day. Research shows that your body is simply not burning fat during that time. And that is the last thing you want if you’re trying to lose weight.

Give these suggestions a try, then come back next week and we’ll address more reasons why eating breakfast and weight loss are compatible.

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